Munich was a short trip but packed with wonderful foodie experiences. I had heard of the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) that runs every year from end of November until December 24 but not of the Victualienmarkt (Victuals Market).
The Viktualienmarkt is Munich's central food market, a fabulous food market with flowers, dried flower decorations, honey stalls, wines, fruit juices, meats and sausages, cheeses, Nordsee fish stalls and of course, a beer garden. Just off the main square where the Neues Rathaus (New town Hall) presents the chiming glockenspiel clock at 11.am daily, heading south you will see the Maypoles in the distance that stand in the Viktualienmarkt.
When I arrived there the explosion of colours and smells excited my senses and caused complete overload. The open pig roast made me want to eat, the dried flower hearts and pomanders made me want to buy the whole stall and the beer garden made me feel thirsty. It was time to calm down and take it gently. I finished up trying local food. I had Leberknodelsuppe thinking it was noodle soup but when it came it was liver noodle, standing proud in its steaming hot broth. Of course the name should have been enough to inform me of this!! My minced liver noodle with herbs was the size of a big apple surrounded with clear soup with chives. The livery smell was initially off-putting but once I began eating the noodle, the flavour was superb and the steaming hot soup made an excellent warming lunch on a chilly day. The chunky pretzel was a comforting accompaniment alongside sweet German mustard which brought the savoury meat flavour up and masked the livery smell. Beer was a good choice to wash it all down and served in a tankard (stein) almost too big for me to lift. (Not that I was complaining!)
After my meal I ventured round the rest of the market. I saw vegetables and fruits, delicious cheeses from everywhere of Europe, meats, sea food predominantly from Norway, breads, honey and products, herbs and spices. It was a market to enjoy and linger around. Home decorations were simply gorgeous as were Christmas decorations. It was a consumer’s paradise where choosing to purchase just one token was too hard.
Sausages perplexed me – bierwurst or bratwurst, small or large, sliced or whole, white (Weisswurst) or brown. They were plentiful and offered for sale in numerous ways. We settled the pork sausages with sauerkraut – a good marriage of fatty meat offset by sweet and sour finely sliced and boiled cabbage.
Elsewhere in Munich in the Bavarian Market neat the east of Munich (Take the tram no 19) there were fishes cooked on sticks over hot charcoal – Steckerfish. The fishes were about the size of large sardines but I’m not sure what they were and my german was not up to asking!
In the local Bakerei the choice was enormous. There were delightful jammy hearts, croissants and pastries generically called ‘Butterkushen.’ Large triangles of puff pastry, like a slice of pizza but with the pointed end chopped off, had apricot jam topping with chunks of fruit and glace icing glaze. They were crisp and moist and complimented the strong coffee I had chosen to offset the sweetness.
Pretzels are used as ‘pizza pretzels’ where the filling of melted cheese and other ingredients such as pieces of ham, stretched across the basic pretzel shape. Easy to eat and carry round, these pretzels had a slightly sweet flavour alongside the saltiness of cheese and ham.
I needed to look at strudels. I had tried to make these in pre-filo pastry days and always thought of them as special. Apfelstrudel (Apple strudel) is of course, rather traditional in Munich and with very thin layers of pastry nestled against good moist stewed apple with cinnamon and plump sultanas it looked good. Served dusted with icing sugar, warmed and with a runny version of English custard it did not disappoint. It was a cut above the Apple fritters that had a wonderful German name but were rather disappointing in terms of flavour. ( It takes a gem to beat the flavour of Bramleys or Cox Apples from the UK)
Other pastries gave me ideas, such as the croissants with custard filling and glazed with sugar. Definitely a possibility for experimentation in the kitchen once I got home. ‘Snowballs’ were the pastry product that really amazed me. My friend Mary bought them for exactly that reason. She knew I would be fascinated. They were strips of pastry biscuit cut with serrated pastry wheel and ‘scrunched’ (yes, scrunched!) into a ball. They were sweet, delicious and were about the size of a grapefruit. I was intrigued as to how they became crisp and golden brown throughout. I was not sure how it was cooked. I thought perhaps they might be fried? Some Snowballs were drenched with sieved with icing sugar, some rolled in chocolate glace icing and decorated with chopped pistachio nuts. In boxes of 3 they looked like a gift from heaven. Thanks Mary!
Foodie inspiration from Munich
Make lots and lots of heart shaped foods – breads, pretzels, jammy pastries
Use salty and sweet together as it is a nice combination
Sausages can be boiled!
Use mustard liberally