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Bavarian cuisine: What is it and where can I read up on it?

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barberinibee May 10, 2011 12:57 PM

I'm planning to be in Munich and its nearby environs in July. I'd like to know what Bavarians like to eat in July, and how to go about eating well in Bavaria. Is there a good book I could read? Any links you could share? Food blogs?

Any thoughts you have about where to go to enjoy good food in and around Munich and that part of Bavaria would be most welcome.

Thanks!

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  1. linguafood RE: barberinibee May 11, 2011 09:31 AM

    google or wiki might be a good starting point.

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      swimmom RE: barberinibee May 11, 2011 01:23 PM

      People in Germany still really do cook traditional German food in their homes. So when they go out to eat in restaurants, they tend to seek out other cuisines, and you will find many international offerings, maybe more so than the German. But you can get it all in Munich. I really like traditional Bavarian food, but I must admit that it's almost always something that had parents. For traditional fare, go to a biergarten, p[referably in the less-touristy neighborhoods. The Hofbrauhaus is not the best place, in my opinion; too commercial and overrun. There is a good biergarten near the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) -- the Augustiner Keller. It is across Arnulfstrasse and a block or two to the west. There is another one closer to the Schloss Nymphenburg -- the Hirschgarten. The biergarten fare at the Chinesischer Turm in the Englischer garten is good. Start off with obatzda, a regional specialty cheese spread, with a brezl (pretzel). If you're up for a tram ride to the south, go to Menterschweige and then walk a block or two to the biergarten along the Isar. Lovely, neighborhoody, non-touristy place, with a biergarten and also a nicer restaurant. Sit at a table with placemats if you're ordering food (except it may all be self-serve at the Chinesischer Turm). If you want to stay closer to Tourist Central (Marienplatz) try the Weisses Brauhaus on Tal, just a block or less from the Marienplatz. For breakfast and lunch, there is also the Viktualienmarkt, with many stands and shops, just a block or so from Marienplatz. One of my very American kids was traumatized by the butcher shop specializing in horse. Vegetarians say that Prinz Myshkin is the best place in town, but I have not been there. Dallymayr cannot be missed -- to call it a gourmet deli does not do it justice. It is world-renowned, and not far by foot from Marienplatz. You can put together a wonderful picnic there, or just have fun looking.

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        swimmom RE: barberinibee May 11, 2011 01:30 PM

        I misspelled Dallmayr in my recent post. I also overlooked Alfons Schuhbeck, who is a high-end Munich celebrity chef. I have not eaten in his restaurant, but I have his cookbook. He is near the Hofbrauhaus, across from Starbucks, and has a small, separate ice cream shop right next to his restaurant. Weisswurst (white meat sausage) is a Munich specialty, served only until noon. They should be served in hot water, in a thing like a fondue pot, with a heat source underneath. You hold it in your hand, make an incision along the length, slip the skin off, and eat it with sweet mustard. If you like the mustard, and you plan to check your baggage, get some as a souvenir at Dallmayr. You might also find that their "mittelscharf" (medium sharp) mustard is more useful for sandwiches when you return home. If your experiences with sauerkraut have taken place in the U.S., try theirs with an open mind.

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          swimmom RE: barberinibee May 11, 2011 01:33 PM

          The Doner Kebap or Doner Kebab is a sandwich, sort of like a gyro or souvlaki in the US, but my kids say it's better. It's offered in small shops that were started principally by Turkish guest workers in Germany. It has become part of German cuisine the way pizza has become part of NY cuisine. Wurstl stands are also popular for a quick imbiss (snack). Currywurst is basically hot dogs with a curry-infused ketchup. Another popular snack is leberkaese, which translates to liver cheese, but it's neither liver nor cheese; people call it a meatloaf but it's more like a cold cut that what an American might think of as meatloaf.

          1 Reply
          1. re: swimmom
            ChristinaMason RE: swimmom Jun 8, 2011 11:43 AM

            Currywurst and kebab are more typical of the North, especially Berlin, rather than Bavaria. Leberkaese is on point, however.

          2. jen kalb RE: barberinibee May 16, 2011 09:00 AM

            we will be spending the last week of July in Munich too with some daytrips I think to Augsburg, Regensburg and maybe into the mountains. Perhaps you saw my inquiry thread. V=http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/761804

            It will be an interesting new experience - there are Slowfood affiliates in Bavaria - Der Pschorr in Munich is affiliated and hosts many functions. Several CHs have recommended it. Here os a list of Slowfood "sponsors" in DE which lists several in Munich and elsewhere in Bavaria - Im looking forward to researching them as an alternate resource.

            They include in addition to Der Pschorr
            Augustiner am Dom,
            Restaurant Novel
            Werneckhoff
            San MIchelle
            Trattora da Paolo
            Restaurant Broeding
            Romans
            Asam Schlossel
            Bierman Hotel Betreibt

            http://www.slowfood.de/foerderer/gast...
            Id be interested to know if there are any local thoughts on whether any of these slowfood sponsors are worth a vistit

            Of the English guidebooks to Munich and Bavaria, the Cadogan Bavaria seems best. along with the Green Michelin but that has precious few restaurant tips.

            17 Replies
            1. re: jen kalb
              jen kalb RE: jen kalb May 17, 2011 03:56 PM

              Found this looking up Broeding
              http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/...

              1. re: jen kalb
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                barberinibee RE: jen kalb May 17, 2011 04:20 PM

                Thank you both very much for these comprehensive comments, and I'm sorry I was unable to thank you sooner, but I was away from an internet connection.

                I had forgotten about the chance to stock up on mustard (I live in Italy) and I was also hoping to stock up on cookies. Any tips for great Bavarian bakeries and places to sit down and eat luscious creamy layer cakes would be fun too. (I intend to go light on beer and sausages in favor of stupendous desserts, if possible).

                I quite like Turkish food and look forward to eating some in Munich. I also have heard that Vietnamese restaurants can be quite good in Munich (a legacy of the Cold War when East Germany had ties to North Vietnam) and I am curious about that.

                Does Bavaria have anything equivalent to the Italian agriturismo? I'd love to stay in the Bavarian countryside with a great cook. I've even considered spending a night or two at Residenz Heinz Winkler -- but normally I don't go in for Michelin-star experiences. Any information or guidance countryside inns or farmhouse stays (or wineries) in Bavaria would be great.

                1. re: barberinibee
                  jen kalb RE: barberinibee May 18, 2011 08:11 AM

                  there are a bunch of good, older posts about Munich which are worth searching for and reading. There does seem to be more "foreign food" and interest in it in Munich than in Italian cities like Rome or Milan, so from your Italian base, that may be particularly enjoyable for you. Coming from NY, its a different proposition. Im more inclined to want to eat well-done German cuisine and taste the local products since (except for what is presented as German in the US, Pennsylvania Dutch or american dishes that derive from German cuisine) its new to me.

                  1. re: barberinibee
                    Behemoth RE: barberinibee May 18, 2011 07:48 PM

                    Two good bakeries:
                    Cafe Luitpold on Briennnerstr. 11 recently reopened historic konditorei, super fancy pastries and actually a very good lunch menu as well.
                    More traditional and homey is Cafe Arzmiller, in the courtyard next to the Theatiner church (big yellow church on Odeonsplatz.) Big plus is that you can sit outside, and the cakes are delicious.

                    Also worth trying: traditional donut-type things at Cafe Frischhut, which is adjacent to the Viktualienmarkt, right across the street from the big Hacker-Pschorr building,

                    Greek & Turkish food are pretty good in Munich. I haven't had as much luck with Vietnamese, but I am originally from Philadelphia which has some of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the US (oddly enough...)

                    As far as good countryside inns, take a look at the michelin website. Don't search for starred restaurants (fine but tend to be generic international), but rather look towards the bibendum or lower level, which tend to be more traditional. We've gotten some great finds that way.

                    1. re: Behemoth
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                      barberinibee RE: Behemoth May 21, 2011 02:20 PM

                      Many thanks for these posts.

                      jenkalb,

                      I will certainly do an exhaustive search of the boards. My limited experience with German cuisine has been frustrating. At a grand German gala in NYC (sponsored by the German gov't), I tasted some incredibly wonderful food and wine -- and then hated every recommended restaurant I tried on a subsequent trip to Berlin. Reading menus of recommended restaurants in Munich gives me pause -- I like fish and vegetables! -- but I'm eager to start afresh in Munich. That said, I want some alternatives -- like Turkish -- in case it turns out I'm just at odds with local tastebuds (which has been my consistent experience everywhere I go in Switzerland).

                      Behemoth,

                      I'll be coming off a week in Greece so I'm more likely to take a flyer on Turkish cooking. Thank you for these tips, and I especially appreciate your specific directions. I will be printing out these entire thread to pack in my bag. And I will carefully peruse Michelin. We definitely don't want internationalized cuisine. We'd be much happier (I think) in an traditional inn with rooms above the restaurant and dedicated cook in the kitchen.

                      1. re: barberinibee
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                        deborahm RE: barberinibee May 22, 2011 10:36 AM

                        Hello!
                        I lived in Munich off and on (on a budget though!) but lots of these suggestions above from other people are totally accurate, including recommendations to spend lots of time walking through the Viktualienmarkt where there are great wurst sausage stands/kiosques, obadtzda cheese, etc.(as well as great wines). Also, the self-serve biergarten in the Englishergarten as mentioned is a lot of fun--and not just for tourists, as many Munchners I knew liked to go there on weekend afternoons. One thing that you'll notice is that when Munchners dine out, Italian is very popular, and the quality of Italian cuisine and wines are extremely high. There are quite a few threads/posts dedicated to the extraordinary Italian cuisine in Munich. I lived in the Lehel district (just south of the Englishergarten and Haus der Kunst). If you are in Lehel & looking for a really relaxed summer terrasse for a nice glass of wine, simple pasta or pizza, try Salotto--lots of locals go there and it's open later on Sunday evenings (which is a plus as lots of places in that area are not!). Also, there is a site called "Toytown Germany" (which is the nickname for Munich as the quality of life is so high there!), that you might want to check out that has suggestions made by expats who have been living there for awhile--there's lists of good restos there, by district.

                        1. re: deborahm
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                          barberinibee RE: deborahm May 23, 2011 04:07 PM

                          Hi,

                          It might be more fun for me to eat things other than Italian food while in Munich -- and I have to admit I am skeptical of claims of great Italian food outside of Italy. I've only found it once -- in a restaurant in NYC run by a native of Sardinia. But I'll look up those threads!

                          And I'll also look up the Toytown site. Thanks again.

                          1. re: barberinibee
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                            deborahm RE: barberinibee May 24, 2011 11:34 AM

                            Hi again, I forgot to mention that I second jenkalb's suggestion of Der Pschorr. Also, I get where you're coming from about wanting to eat other than Italian, but keep in mind that Munich is frequently (and fondly )referred to as the "northernmost Italian city" and is practically mediterranean in the summertime, with lots of Italian inhabitants (largest foreign community, I think) and visitors. I was deeply surprised when I arrived there, but after living there for awhile you'll get to appreciate the Italian influence and the appreciation Munchners have for really good Italian cuisine. Here's the Toytown link to restaurants that I found: http://www.toytowngermany.com/munich/...
                            Have a great trip!

                            1. re: deborahm
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                              barberinibee RE: deborahm May 24, 2011 03:00 PM

                              Thanks again, and I appreciate the Toytown link. I'll keep an open mind about "Monaco" and even peruse some Italian restaurant menus while up there. I looked up reviews for Salotto, and one person enthused about their incredible pizza with marscapone cheese, so I may take some extra convincing.

                              1. re: barberinibee
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                                deborahm RE: barberinibee May 27, 2011 09:13 PM

                                No problem--not trying to sound pushy with the Italian. It was just an interesting surprise for me, amidst all the biergartens. Also, I spent time in Nuremburg, which if you go to has lots of brauhaus options, including Barfuesser http://www.barfuesser-nuernberg.de/ which is easy to find on Hallplatz in the Mauthalle--very beautiful microbrewery with traditional Bavarian menu.

                                1. re: barberinibee
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                                  deborahm RE: barberinibee May 28, 2011 01:53 PM

                                  Barberinibee I just realized in your earlier post that you said you are coming from Italy. I thought you were coming from elsewhere-now feel silly and I understand why you might not be on the hunt for good Italian cuisine while abroad ....!

                          2. re: barberinibee
                            Behemoth RE: barberinibee Jun 1, 2011 02:38 PM

                            For anyone interested, Süddeitsche Zeitung (the local newspaper) publishes a little book listing good countryside inns:

                            http://www.amazon.de/Genießen-entdeck...

                            Really useful for quick weekend jaunts.

                            We liked Sprengenöder Alm in Eurasburg. It's out of the way, set on a farm and run by a family, which sounds like exactly what you are looking for. Not much to do right around there but its a close drive to alpine hiking, and the food is very good. They have decent rooms to stay, breakfast included. (We stayed once but stopped by for meals on a few occasions.) They have a really beautiful terrace with tables, heavily visited by locals. The Kaiserschmarrn is probably one of the best I've had. I should mention we spotted the head of the CSU there at least once. Whatever you think of their politics, those guys are pretty picky about Bavarian food...

                            Speaking of which, I think their clubhouse in town is the Unionsbraü, which is also pretty good.

                            For more refined but still traditional Bavarian food in town, Spaten an der Oper does a very good job.

                            1. re: Behemoth
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                              deborahm RE: Behemoth Jun 2, 2011 09:33 PM

                              I didn't even start this thread but thank you so much for the above suggestions as I will have to visit Munich and environs again in the future! Also, is the restaurant you mentioned the *Spatenhaus* an der Oper on Rezidentstrasse/across from the Bavarian Opera House? It looked beautiful although I never went. Just as another point of trivia as I believe the dates of the original chowhound poster's trip will be at the tail end of "spargel season' or white asparagus season. So you will notice a lot of asparagus soups/potages and from what I remember this was a really most delicious, very local vegetable in season. July might be a tad late depending on growing season but still might be a good idea to try to order dishes with white asparagus once there!

                              1. re: deborahm
                                Behemoth RE: deborahm Jun 3, 2011 01:39 PM

                                Yup, that's the Spaten I was thinking of. The first floor is more traditional, the second floor fancier stuff. I would stick with the first floor if I were just visiting.

                                The tail end of asparagus season is right around now I'm afraid, but July is a great time for really good berries and stone fruits. I con't think of any specifically "summer" traditional Bavarian dishes. Maybe Marillenknödel?

                                ctually, I am rather fond of sülze in the summer (cold beef in aspic) on hot days. Sounds gross, I know, but somehow good Bavarian restaurants do a great job of it, with salad and pumpkin seed oil...

                                1. re: Behemoth
                                  Behemoth RE: Behemoth Jun 17, 2011 09:55 AM

                                  I can't believe I forgot about this. After asparagus is chanterelle season. There are pfifferlingen menus all over the place right now :-)

                                  1. re: Behemoth
                                    jen kalb RE: Behemoth Jun 17, 2011 10:48 AM

                                    that sounds WONDERFUL for example, who is offering them?

                                    1. re: jen kalb
                                      Behemoth RE: jen kalb Jun 17, 2011 03:23 PM

                                      Pretty much all the nicer German places that change their menus regularly. They post their menus outside so you can see what the daily specials are (look for pfifferlingen on the menu.)

                                      Franziskaner, Spatenhaus would be good bets. Possibly Dürnbraü as well.

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