Cola + Orange = Spezi

If you ask for a “Spezi” in a restaurant in Germany, then the most probable drink that you will be served is probably going to be a mixture of cola with orange lemonade.

A bottle of Spezi®However, the term is actually a registered trademark: Spezi® and belongs to an organisation called the “Spezi Markengetränkeverband Deutschland e.V.” which is a collection of 13 breweries that produce a drink by the same name.

Breweries?  Yes, not only was I not aware of the trademark until recently, but even less did I suspect that the drink used to be a type of beer.

And yet the product is familiar.  I have drunk products labelled as “Spezi” in the past, probably not realising that I was drinking something special.  It’s even a slightly different mixture, as it contains orange juice.

However, other products on the market using the orange lemonade recipe, “Mezzo Mix” for example, which is produced by Coca Cola, are still referred to colloquially as “Spezi”.  Not by their manufacturers, of course, but by the people buying and drinking them.

Some restaurants even mix it themselves from Coca Cola and Fanta, or Pepsi and Miranda, and write it on the menu as “Spezi”.  I wonder how many of them have no idea that they are using a trademark without selling authentic product?

There are also regional names in some parts of Germany for the mixture of cola and orange lemonade.  My favourite has to be “Kalter Kaffee” (cold coffee), but particularly confusing is the fact that it is apparently called “Diesel” in Cologne – anywhere else that refer to a mixture of cola with beer.

Spezi on the other hand can still mean a drink mixed with bier in some areas, or even with spirits.

So what does the unsuspecting tourist do when they want to try this particular German drink?

Ask the waiter would seem to be a reasonable suggestion if you are visiting someone new, unless the menu specifically refers to the trademarked drink.

I shall certainly be looking closer at any menus that I read in future to see which version they offer.  I’ve already found two interesting cases.  One says that their drink is “selbst gemischt” (self-mixed), and the other one avoided the trademark altogether and sold me a “Speetzy”!

Räuberteller

Many restaurants in Germany offer a free item on their menu.  It is usually hidden away at one end of the children’s section and is called a “Räuberteller”.

It really is free and almost looks out of place being listed with € 0,00.

But what is it?

Plate with cutlery - ©iStockphoto.com/DNY59

Put quite simply, a Räuberteller is a plate and a set of cutlery.  The word literally translates as “thief’s plate” and that is exactly what it is.

For small children who would not manage even a child’s portion of food (or prefer something else than the few items on offer), they can use the plate to eat small portions of food from their parents, grandparents, or other people who are in the restaurant with them.

This not only reduces the cost of the meal, but it also saves on waste if they are lacking in appetite.

Spaghettieis

Spaghettieis is a popular dessert that is served in German ice cream parlours.  It is, however, little known outside of the country having apparently been invented here.  As such, many visitors are not aware of it and do not know what it is.

To make Spaghettieis a portion of whipped cream is first placed on a plate or into a bowl.  Then vanilla ice cream is put into a machine or hand-held press which pushes it through a disc with holes in.  The ice cream passes through the holes and lands on the cream, giving it the spaghetti form.

After this, the ice cream “spaghetti” is covered in strawberry sauce and grated flakes of white chocolate are used for the final garnish.

The result looks like this:

Spaghettieis - Ice cream made to look like Spaghetti

Spaghettieis

Then, whilst you are eating the ice cream, the whipped cream sometimes starts to solidify, giving it an interesting texture.

A cross-section of a spaghettieis

A cross-section of a spaghettieis - the solidified cream is visible under the vanilla ice cream

Some shops also offer variations on the traditional Spaghettieis, such as:

  • Kinderspaghetti – a smaller version for children
  • Schokoladenspagetti – with chocolate sauce instead of strawberry
  • Spaghettieis Spezial – garnished with slices of fresh fruit

and there are also other ice cream dishes created similarly to look like Italian cuisine:

  • Pizzaeis – vanilla ice served on a plate with fruit toppings
  • Lasagne – layers of ice cream

Finally, if you use bigger holes to push the ice cream through and serve the result lengthwise on a plate, it is supposed to look like Asparagus.

To make Spaghettieis at home, you can use a Spätzlepresse – normally used to make Swabian noodles.  You can buy these at specialist kitchen suppliers, eg. cookplanet.com

Spaetzlepresse

A "Spätzlepresse"

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