On the 30th December 2009, I hopped on a plane at Standstead and headed to the snowy bliss of Germany.

It was only when I arrived chez Nina that I realised just what I had let myself in for. Over the next five days I was going to be surrounded by 20 Germans.

That’s not a problem if you’re a fluent German speaker, but it’s slightly more challenging if all you can muster is “Ich bin ein hund.” (Not my finest linguistic moment.)

Well I needn’t have worried. Nina’s friends may be German, but they are some of the most fun and friendly people I’ve ever met. And they certainly know how to party. And eat. And drink for that matter. During my five days in Leipzig, I don’t think I have ever consumed so much cheese, sausage, garlic or beer.

Before I wax-lyrical about the idiosyncrasies of the German New Year, I feel that it’s paramount to discuss in more detail the wonders of German cuisine. It may not be famed for it’s delicate, insouciant flavours, but German food is hearty, meaty and delicious.

Now the humble sausage may well be a staple ingredient in English cuisine, but in Germany, it’s a cultural phenomenon. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or supper, there is always an occasion for a Wurst. During my short sojourn in Leipzig, I found the time and the space to sample: raw, black, white and even curry-flavoured wurst. Whatever shape or size they come in, each variety is simply wondrous in its own right.

Another fine element of German cuisine is its stunning breakfast. We’re not talking a greasy fry up or a poxy bowl of cereal, we’re talking a veritable feast of eggs, cheese, ham, salami and then a nice dollop of nutella to finish it all off.  Now that’s what I call a substantial start to the day.