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Munich - Local Gastronomy

The traditional Munich breakfast is the Weisswurst Frühstück, which consists of white sausages "Weisswurst" which are peeled, dipped in sweet mustard, eaten with a salt-laden pretzel, and washed down with a Weissbier (wheat beer). But this is not eaten every day. Breakfast generally consists of rolls (Semmel), which you can have with cheese (Käse), a type of salami or ham (Schinken), or sweet spreads such as fruit jams (Marmelade) or Nutella. Tea, coffee and orange juice accompany the meal rather than beer.

Lunch is often served with "Eisbein", a huge piece of boiled pork. "Leberkäs" is meatloaf served in sauce or on a roll, "Wiener Schnitzel" - crumbed pork or veal - is also a favourite, generally served with chips. Half a roast chicken is also popular, particularly at Oktoberfest. There is normally a choice of many different kinds of sausages. These can range from half-metre-long monsters that droop out either side of a foot-long roll, to a serving of six tiny sausages on a bed of sauerkraut.

Meat comes in sausage form, meatloaf "Leberkäs", or as a clearly recognisable part of the animal it came from (including offal). Half chickens "Halbes Hendel" are a beer garden favourite.

German vegetarian cooking is not particularly enlightened. Most vegetarian dishes are some sort of pasta variation. Spätzle are a special kind of German pasta, often served in a cheese sauce with fried onions on top. Spätzle are often an accompaniment to saucy meat dishes. Spätzle generally comes as either plain or spinach-flavoured. Tofu versions of Leberkäs and the various sausages are available at Reformhauses for vegetarians to take home and cook for themselves.

Pancakes with savoury fillings are becoming a more regular dish on the menu. Also, vegetables, meat and potatoes (author's comment: yes, in Germany potato is not a vegetable but its own food group!) served in a pan, with either cheese or fried egg on top is also good.

Potatoes normally accompany a main dish and are either boiled and soaked in butter and chives, in a potato salad or cut into small pieces/slices and roasted. Pickled vegetables are another favourite, notably sauerkraut and pickled gherkins which are often enjoyed whole, the way non-Bavarians would eat an apple.

Another traditional German dish is Knödel. These dumplings are made of potato, bread or liver. They are often served in a creamy mushroom sauce. Sweet versions of the Knödel with a jam centre are served with a custard sauce and poppyseeds.

Certain foods come into season at particular times of the year, and restaurants pride themselves on only serving dishes containing these vegetables. "Spargelzeit," the time of the year asparagus is in season, runs from March through to May or June. "Pfifferling" season is shortly after, and many restaurants base their menus on mushroom and chanterelle dishes.

Muncheners are very seasonal in their tastes. This doesn't just apply to beer, but also to particular food stuffs. Although greenhouses allow year-round production of vegetables and fruits, when a specialty vegetable is in season, for example asparagus in spring or chanterelles in late summer, the restaurants (and most housewives) will only serve dishes containing that vegetable. Once the season is over, Muncheners won't even consider touching the vegetable until the same time next year.

The evening meal is "Brotzeit". This consists of gherkins, cold sliced meats and cheeses served with salad vegetables, heavy, dark bread or with pretzels. Pretzels are large and soft on the inside while crispy on the outside. They are also covered in chunks of salt, which is the perfect accompaniment to drinking beer.

One interesting cheese dish is "Obatzda". This is an incredibly fattening mixture of camembert, butter and paprika that goes very well with beer and pretzels.

Favourite desserts are appel strudel and "Rote Grütze", a dish made of berries and red jelly.


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