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German cuisine is, as such, not really just German, but rather a cuisine which extends across all of German speaking Europe into some countries which once were a part of Germany or the Austro-Hungarian Empire. With some exceptions, both the Austrian and German cuisines are very close, if not nearly identical, as are the national cuisines found in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Swizterland's German areas, as well as parts of Italy (principally the Alto Adige).
German cuisine is influenced not only by the old traditions of these regions as well as their chief products, but also by seasonal availability of certain foodstuffs and a range of spices which was not always broad, as well the underlying maxims of waste not, want not and make the best of what you have. As a result, meat was an honored but infrequent guest at many a table, and most dishes were designed to fill and fuel rather than to make any pretence of being haute cuisine. And yet, the old traditional favorites such as Sauerbraten, Wiener Schnitzel, Schweinebraten, Gebratene Ente, Martin-Gans, Wildschweinbraten, Gespickter Rehruecken and many others survive and are enjoying a resurgent popularity across Central Europe.
Modern German cooking today is widely divergent and represents a wonderful central European fusion of tastes incorporating influences from around the world, as divergent as the country's population is. "New German Cuisine: includes such dishes as lukewarm white asparagus salad with vegetable vinaigrette; wings of skate on young greens garnished with pignolias; roasted calf sweetbreads with corn salad; Brandenburg haunch of venison with cabbage, mushrooms and noodles; Coquilles on a bed of asparagus and morelles; marinated strawberries on white pepper whipped cream; and so many many more. It is not without pride that Germans will happily point out to you that restaurants in their country have more than their fare share of Michelin stars and other culinary accolades.