Luxembourg Specialties you should know
You should know these foods, when you travel to Luxembourg. Our trip to Luxembourg showed us, how important it is to know dishes from your travel destination before a trip. It was clear to us, that Luxembourg has culinary specialties. What we didn't know, however, were their names. It was only in on-site restaurants, that we realized, that we should have informed us about the foods of Luxembourg before we arrived. We didn't understand a word on the menu in the restaurants. Menus are written in the local language. Even if the country is multilingual and almost everyone speaks German or French.
There was Grompere Kichelcher. Kuddelfleck. Andouillette. Träipen. Kallefskaap. I could go on with the list. Just what is it? Some things could be deduced after getting used to Luxembourgish, but not everything. We couldn't have the waiter translate the menu every time. By the time he finished his translation, we had already forgotten, what the dishes were. Therefore, our restaurant visits turned out to be quite an adventure. What ended up on our plate was always a surprise. Therefore you should definitely get to know a few specialties of the country you travel to. That makes a trip a lot easier.
A Crime Story from Luxembourg
We have seen for ourselves, that Luxembourg has culinary specialties. A crime story I read recently reminded me of this. Tom Hillenbrand's investigator is the star chef Xavier Kieffer. He lives in Luxembourg. No wonder the cuisine plays a role in these crime novels. I literally devoured his thriller Bitter Chocolate. Not only does it present the capital's gastro scene and the upper and lower town in detail. He also describes dishes that the star chef and others serve in their restaurants.
In volume 6 of his crime series, Kieffer meets his childhood sweetheart Ketti again, whom he has not seen for years. She now produces pralines in her chocolate factory near Brussels. At a meeting, she collapses before his eyes, mortally wounded. She was shot by strangers. Does her murder have anything to do with the fair trade chocolate, she grows in the Congo?
Hillenbrand weaves a story about the delicacy, which, however, leaves a bitter aftertaste due to the machinations of certain people. For this reason alone, this crime story is worth reading. You can order the crime thriller here* (in German).
You can get all the crime novels with star chef Kieffer in one collective issue * (German edition).
Do you want to cook the dishes? Then you need the cookbook Kachen: Luxembourgish specialties *.
I also used Hillenbrand's crime thriller to learn more about the country's specialties. The crime thriller is a culinary treasure trove. His protagonist Xavier Kieffer is a star chef. On his return from Paris, he decides to serve local specialties to the guests in his Luxembourg restaurant. You can hardly find a better teacher. Every instance he prepares his menu for the next day is an exciting part in the novel. I end up collecting his menu suggestions on a notepad, that I put next to my reading chair.
Kieffer's breakfast usually consists of croissants or brioches with coffee. It immediately reminds me of our breakfast with view of the old town . His chases through the city and his visits to the Old town are like a déja vu. In my mind I follow his paths through the city. Even his visits to the government district and the hotels of the city evoke images of a city, as we got to know it, when we were there.
However, the matter of food gets more complicated with the main meals. The names of the dishes are not as easy to recognize as croissants or brioches. Some names can be derived from Luxembourgish into German after we get used to the pronounciation. With others, however, it is more difficult.
Glossary of Luxembourg Specialties
|Grompere Kichelcher||potato pancake|
|hassle stain||a traditional dish made from rumen|
|Andouillette||sausage made from offal|
|Träipen||filled blood sausage|
|Graf Pati||terrine made from liver, pork, bacon, eggs, wine and spices|
|gebotschte Gromperen||fried potatoes|
|Biwwelamoud||Boeuf à la mode or sauerbraten|
|Judd mat Gaardebounen||a national dish, pork neck with broad beans and potatoes|
|Verwurelte||carnival pastries from Luxembourg|
|Hiecht mat Kraiderzooss||pike with herb sauce|
|Chou Fleur Zopp||cauliflower soup|
|mummaart||topped apple pie|
|squeeze fluid||plum cake|
|Riesling paschtèit||puff pastries with pork|
|Suet pudding||kidney fat cake|
|Wäinzoossiss mat Moschterzooss||sausages with mustard sauce and mashed potatoes|
Influences on the Cuisine of Luxembourg
Of course there are more specialties. But with these dishes you can get by as a traveler. On our trip we also learned that along the border with Germany you often find dishes, that have been inspired by the cuisine of neighboring regions. Along the border with France you will find dishes from the French cuisine in restaurants. The cuisines of Italy and Portugal also play a role in Luxembourg's gastronomic mix. Immigrants have left their mark. In any case, this guarantees restaurant menus that provide variety.
Specialties that are popular
Judd mat Gaardebounen is one of the dishes that Luxembourgers like to eat. Wikipedia calls it the national dish. It is pork neck that is cured or smoked. It is served with broad beans. Bouneschlupp is popular, too. It's a bean soup with bacon and potatoes. This soup is not only known in Luxembourg, but also in Lorraine. We made the acquaintance of Kniddelen on our trip to Luxembourg. This is what they call dumplings made from flour, water, eggs and salt. They are served with a bacon and cream sauce or with applesauce. For dessert, people like to eat Quetschentaart. This is a plum cake. An omelette soufflée also tastes good as a dessert. Specialties from Luxembourg are dishes you can find in the country's homes as well.
Products from the Region
I find it exciting that Luxembourg produces a lot of regional specialties. There is, for example, the ham from the Ardennes or the pork in aspic. In the wine regions there is Rieslingpaschtéit, a Riesling pate. This is one of the national dishes of Luxembourg. It is a puff pastry pie, that is filled with pork and a layer of gelatin. This is made from Riesling wine. Rivers such as the Moselle or the Untersauer supply the fish, that restaurants in the river valleys have on the menu. These include trout, pike and crabs. If you want to make sure, that you buy products from the region for your souvenirs, look out for the “Produit du terroir” seal. Only products that are made in the region are allowed to carry this seal of quality.
Conclusion: Food in Luxembourg is Hearty
The food in Luxembourg surprised us. We expected the influence of fine French cuisine. However, this can only be found in the restaurants and hotels in the Europe quarter. However, this food has little to do with local specialties. Instead, specialties from Luxembourg are down-to-earth. You can well imagine grandma or mother putting Kniddelen on the family table or serving Jupp mat Gaardebounen at a family event on festive days. The influences from neighboring countries also come more from home cooking. They go well with the dishes from the country's cuisine. Let our recommendations inspire you to try these specialties. It is worth it .. You have to be hungry, however. The portions are big. We wish you bon appetit!
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Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs