The Spreewald is not only known for its extraordinary natural and cultural landscape, but also impresses with its regional specialities. The natural and traditional taste plays a major role here. Spreewald gherkins, Spreewald linseed oil and Spreewald horseradish have been traditionally cultivated and refined for generations and can be found in numerous Spreewald kitchens.
It is impossible to imagine the Spreewald's favourite dish of jacket potatoes and cottage cheese without the traditional linseed oil, and horseradish belongs to fish and beef just as Spreewald gherkins belong to the Spreewald. So if you want to experience the Spreewald with all its colourful and unique facets, you simply cannot avoid its regional specialities.
This traditional delicacy comes in a wide variety of flavours: From honey-sweet to chilli-spicy , this vegetable can be enjoyed on almost every corner in the Spreewald. The gherkins are still handpicked and refined with fresh ingredients. The hearty and aromatic taste is the typical characteristic of genuine Spreewald gherkins. Since 1999, "Spreewälder Gurken" have been recognised by the EU Commission as a geographically protected indication (PGI). In combination with the logo of the umbrella brand Spreewald, it is guaranteed that controlled raw materials from the Spreewald are in every jar. In addition, the processing of the Spreewald gherkins takes place exclusively in companies that are based in the Spreewald and are subject to constant controls. The traditional recipes of the gherkins as they are produced in the companies are often closely guarded family recipes that are passed down from generation to generation.
The valuable linseed oil is still produced today in the mills of the Spreewald and is part of the culinary heritage of the Spreewalders. The history of linseed oil goes way back to the 18th century, because even then the golden oil was pressed from the ripe seeds of the oil flax. The gentle cold pressing of the linseed ensures that the valuable ingredients are preserved. The remaining flax fibres can be processed into linens. Here, too, the Spreewald umbrella brand guarantees with its logo that predominantly regional oil linseed has been pressed.
With its mild, nutty taste and the large number of omega-3 fatty acids, it is a particularly healthy and tasty vegetable oil and is especially popular in the Spreewald in combination with jacket potatoes and curd cheese.
Horseradish is the classic winter vegetable in the Spreewald. The pungent root grows particularly well thanks to the nutrient-rich and slightly moist soil and has been cultivated in the region for generations. Like the Spreewälder Gurke (Spreewald gherkin), the Spreewälder Meerrettich (Spreewald horseradish) has been awarded the quality seal of the umbrella brand Spreewald and is recognised by the EU Commission as a geographically protected indication (PGI).
Cultivation begins in spring with the planting of the thin horseradish sinkers, which are also called Fechser or Schwigatze in the Spreewald. From October until the first frost it is harvest time and the roots are carefully taken out of the ground with spades and sometimes also with the help of machines. Cleaned and freshly harvested, the popular roots are then sent to the processing plants.
There they are thoroughly washed, peeled and then finely grated to produce the valuable mustard oils. With aromatic ingredients such as honey, sea buckthorn or beetroot, the horseradish is then placed in small jars. Those who like it natural can also enjoy it grated and refined with cream. Spreewald horseradish is particularly tasty with beef or fish dishes.