All you need to know about German dining etiquette

German dining etiquette

“Mannerisms and etiquette take you a long way”, this saying goes hand in hand with success, goodwill and building of personal relations of an individual. A person is well identified and judged by his personality, behavior and good habits. Your outlook is the reflection of your inner qualities. There are set rules as to how a person should behave and react at different situations when in public. This applies to dining as well. Just gobbling down food is the signature of the illiterate and not the educated class.

Residents of different nations of the world have different dining rules and etiquettes and we should always adapt ourselves to the ways of the host whose guest of honor we are supposed to be.Just like Americans are particular about their table mannerisms, even Germans have their thumb rule in this aspect. If you are a guest to a person living in German speaking Europe, you should be prim and proper at continental dining rules. Though quite similar to what the Americans follow, with some variations, lets discuss some German dining etiquettes.

Dining with friends and acquaintances

1.As a mark of respect and also to show your gratitude towards the host, if you are invited by a German to dine with him, do carry a gift for him. The gift could be something symbolizing your culture and heritage, or simply a bottle of wine, flowers or sweets.

2. Never be late for the event. Stick to the time given by the host. To make someone wait is a sign of disrespect towards him.

Business luncheon

1.If you have been officially invited to a business lunch or dinner, the first and foremost thing that you should do is shake hands with your partners before seating.

2. You should never address your business associates with their first names. Being at a business dinner, avoid getting personal at any point.

Some Table Rules

1. Germans strictly follow the custom of holding the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right one while eating.

2. The above mentioned two cutlery items should adorn your hands throughout your dining spree except for drinking or picking up bread.

3. You should be careful enough not to cut the entire chunk of meat or bread into pieces all at once. Only the bite size piece should be cut and eaten in one go before cutting out another piece from the larger chunk.

4. If more than the basic cutlery items, viz knife and fork, are placed on the table, for e.g. a separate dessert spoon, salad fork etc. then start from the one which is placed at the outer circle, moving inward for each course.

5. Once you are through with your meal, do not forget to place your fork and knife side by side on the table, pointing to the center with their handles on the lower right edge.

6. Germans use less of napkins as compared to the Americans. If you decide to use it, place it on your lap and if, for any reason, you ought to leave the table, put the napkin next to your plate before leaving your chair and not anywhere else. Also, after finishing your food, the napkin should be placed next to your plate and not on it.

How to eat

1. Before you begin eating, wait for everyone to be seated and served.

2. With Germans, it is customary by the host to say ‘Enjoy your meal’, before getting down to eating, so, you should wait for the host to address the group.

3. Germans keep their hand partly on the table while eating, as they hold the fork with their left hands, but they never make the mistake of placing their elbows on the table. Strictly follow this rule or simply keep your hand on your lap.

4.When engaged in formal dining, even pizzas are eaten by using fork and knife by Germans. They never use their hands directly to eat and as a guest to a German, you should also strictly follow the league.

Drinking Rules

1. The Germans of Europe prefer packaged mineral water to tap water for drinking. Non fizzy varieties of the same can also be opted for.

2. They are great coffee and tea drinkers as well.

3. Generally, wine or beer is served as a welcome drink to which the host proposes to raise a toast. You should make sure to look into the eye of the person with whom you would be clinking glasses.

4. After dinner is over, brandy, cognac, grappa or even herbal liqueur may be offered.

Things to avoid

1. You should never hesitate to try new food with a German as a host. Doing so is considered to be an insult to the host.

2. If you have any food allergy, let your host know about it in advance.

3. If you are not allowed to eat any particular kind of food medically for health reasons, do inform the host about it from before hand.

4. You should never clutter your plate with too much of servings. Also, you should not waste food, take only that much which is easy for you to eat. It is very impolite to leave food in your plate.

5. If you are in doubt about what to do in any given situation, watch others and respond accordingly. Even then if you do not understand, ask the host discreetly what is appropriate.

Following dining etiquette can make your dining experience a memorable and enjoyable one.

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