In our Food photo Guide Part 1 we covered must try foods of Central Russia. In Part 2 we move to Kaliningrad with its very own Prussian and German inspired cuisine.
Königsberg is the historical name for the present-day city of Kaliningrad. Originally a Sambian or Old Prussian city, it later belonged to the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights, the Duchy of Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire and Germany until 1946. The territory became Soviet after the World War II and Russian after the fall of the USSR in 1991.
It is no surprise then, that the local cuisine is built on the foundation of Prussian and German cuisines. Here is a list of authentic dishes to try when you are in Kaliningrad.
Klopse are meatballs topped off with flavorful gravy and sauces, usually with caper sauce. Königsberg klopse were very popular in Germany: you could even find semi-processed products sold under the “Königsberg” brand name there. They are still sold now under the same name at the local stores. Klopse are currently served at several establishments. Originally, the side dishes served along are salad and mashed potatoes.
In Prussia cheeses were originally produced in Tilsit (now Sovetsk) by Swiss settlers in the middle of the 19th century. The remains of the first cheese factory have been preserved up to this day. According to the documented description, Tilsit cheese was yellow and semi-hard with uneven holes and cracks. Nowadays, the cheese is produced under the name “Tilsitsky”; not only within the region, but also in Switzerland, Belarus and some other countries. Locally it’s produced in Neman.
Königsberg and its surroundings have always been famous for their great fishing spots. Thus the abundance of fish in the local cuisine is only natural. In order to be preserved the seafood had to be smoked, which is why the smoked Königsberg fish became so famous, especially the eel which is considered a delicacy.
East Prussian fish soup
According to the descriptions, this used to be a thick soup, unlike other classic exquisite soups. It was composed of fish (primarily perch), cream, egg yolks, white wine and flavored with spices. There was no original recipe since each area had its own take on this dish.
In the past, it used to be a fairly common everyday dish cooked in Königsberg. At the heart of the dish is boiled beef tripe seasoned with spices and vegetables, often served as a soup. In the 16th century, flaki were considered to be a nourishing and straightforward meal which, nonetheless, was served in many restaurants.
Salad with blood sausage
Blood sausages have always been extremely popular in Germany both as the main course with side dishes and as a snack. It was consumed either hot or cold. Another favorite of the Königsberg residents and city guests was the vegetable salad, where blood sausage was the main ingredient.
Like most other German cities, Königsberg, too, was famous for its beer. It was home to several large breweries that provided the city and its suburbs with the foamy beverage, also producing beer for export. The product that came out of Ponart Brewery, which is now idle, was especially appreciated. Nowadays, there is a brewery in the city (for sale at the time this article was written) as well as several local breweries within restaurants and beer pubs. Craft beer is also gaining popularity lately, like everywhere else.