Munich: Part 1

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Those of you that know me know that I’ve been working in the food industry for longer than I’d care to mention. Much of my love for the industry comes from my fascination with culinary traditions of Europe. Tasked to pick the most interesting of these culinary traditions, I would list the French, Italian, and German cuisines.

I love the complexity, history, and technique of the French kitchen.  French cuisine is perhaps my favorite cuisine to experience in a fine dining setting.  I love the simplicity, diversity, and regionality of the Italian kitchen.  Italian cuisine is my favorite cuisine to cook.   German cuisine, however, holds a special place in my heart. I find the simple combination of protien, starch, and vegetables to be so direct and unambiguous that it almost demands your attention.  The inclusion of amazing local beers only served makes the combination better irresistible.

On our recent trip to Bavaria we were able to sample the full gamut of what German cuisine has to offer. From fine dining two star Michelin rated restaurant Tantris, all the way down to the simplest street sausage.

Lets look at the best of the best (i.e. things I took pictures of):

Lunch at Tantris

I already wrote about this.  Not doing it again.  Check it:  Here

Dinner at Ratskeller

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If Marienplatz is the crown of Munich, then the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) is clearly the Crown Jewel.  The Neues Rathaus is home to the famous Rathaus-Glockenspiel as well as the seat of the current city government.  The basement floor of this magnificent building is is reserved exclusively for dining, as is the tradition for German city council houses.  As one would guess, Ratskeller translates roughly to “council’s cellar”, an appropriate name indeed.

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Ratskeller restaurant, although touristy, is a must see for the tourists.  The food is mediocre, although mediocre German food in Munich is still much better than most of what you find in the US, but the beer and atmosphere are excellent.  So, with that being said, on to the food:

Street Food

I’m a big fan of street food.  Whether I’m enjoying a “dirty water dog” in NYC, “frieten” in Antwerp, “crêpes au nutella” in Paris, or a “broodje haring” here in Amsterdam, I am rarely disappointed in a culture’s street food offerings.

Germany’s selection of street snacks was no different.  In addition to the ever-present multitude of shops selling Shawarma, Doner, and Falafel that one finds in many European cities, we also found potato pancakes, roasted chestnuts, grilled sausages, and hundreds of portable chocolate covered desserts sold from carts and stands throughout the city.  Proper street food should be quick, perfectly portable, hot, and delicious.  Munich did not dissatisfy.

Currywurst and a Beer.  A better lunch I can not imagine.

Currywurst and a Beer. A better lunch I can not imagine.

Dallmayr

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While researching our trip, I came across a few mentions of Restaurant Dallmayr as a good alternative to the more touristy restaurants that surround Marienplatz.  Certain of my intention to dine at Ratskeller, I failed to press further into the Dallmayr story.  This was a mistake.

Fortunately, on our last day in Munich the wife and I crossed paths with what can only be described as one of the finest luxury food stores I’ve ever set foot into.  In addition to hosting both a fine dining restaurant and café-bistro, Dallmayr is something of a department store for fine foods, a Saks Fifth Avenue of delectable delicacies, if you will.

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Reminiscent of the Julius Meinl store in Vienna, Dallmayr is a place where anyone can sample a taste of luxury, for a price.  Each year, over 2.5 million tourist visit Dallmayr to sample their selection of candies, teas, honeys, jellies, chocolates, meats, sausages, fish, caviar, pastas, breads, fruits, vegetables, wines, spirits and tobaccos.  While expensive, even the tightest budget can find room to sample a small taste of what Dallmayr has to offer.   Check out some of my findings below:

Next time:  CASTLE TOURS!

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