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Germany and Austria – a food photo album part 1

September 2nd, 2009 Comments off

Our annual trip to Germany was in summer again this year. I tried to take pictures of some of the good foods and food places we came across, some of which are below. Of course, sometimes I did not remember to take pictures until all was eaten :-) Since we visit family and travel with little kids, fine restaurants were not on our itinerary this time around, but we ate some great traditional Bavarian and Austrian fare in family friendly places.

We spent time in Bavaria, in the Nuremberg and Munich areas, as well as Austria in the area of Salzburg. Mostly I was not in charge of cooking or we went out, but I did manage a couple trips to different butchers and bakers. The quality of what’s offered in just about any of these stores is far above anything you can find here in the US supermarket chains without making a special trip or spending a lot of money. Food in general is a lot cheaper in Germany, even in the more upscale shops.

I don’t want to make a book out of this post, I’ll just add images and write a bit about what’s on them, hopefully they’ll be interesting enough to speak for themselves too.

Just after we arrived we went on a hike in Franconia, the area where I grew up. We ended up at Pretzfelder Keller, a hill that’s tunneled with probably a couple hundred cellars used by local families to store what ever needs to be cold – probably more in the past than nowadays. They have a large beergarden set up there too, and when we were there the special was Kesselfleisch – probably translates to vat meat or something like that. Basically a pig is slaughtered and the parts that don’t end up as special cuts are thrown in a gigantic pot and boiled, no spices or anything, just the meat and bones. All the meat and bones. My dad was not too happy about half a snout on his plate, I thought it was pretty funny, and it tasted good. My plate was a bit less graphic, but consisted of similar cuts, some head, some tongue, some heart. Self made Sauerkraut and bread. We were also told to put a pile of salt and pepper on the plate to dip the meat in, as it is cooked without any seasoning. Things don’t get much more traditional than that! My wife had Salzfleisch – salt meat – that was a piece of leg boiled in salty water, also very good, thogh the difference between the two plates was not very big.

A couple of days later we went on a day trip to Regensburg, a beautiful old city in Bavaria, gorgeous buildings, a fantastic dome, an almost 900 year old bridge, but since this is a food blog: We had lunch at the Wurstkuchl (sausage kitchen), one of the oldest restaurants in Germany (and thus the world). A tiny kitchen in a small building, supposedly set up first as an office for the bridge builders, later on as a place to get some food for those working on the river. They make their own sausages and their own mustard, a grainy sweet version with a nice bite of horseradish. If you are familiar with the famous Hendlmayer mustard that you can find in some European delis in the US, it’s also from Regensburg, just lacks the horseradish. Wonderful stuff that I’ll try to make myself one of these days. We ate a bunch of those little brats, they are about the size of a thumb. Again served with some very good sauerkraut and the wonderful mustard.

This is the small building, the door in the middle of the photo leads to the tiny kitchen. There is also a small guest room with tables towards the back, but that was closed. There are many tables outside and they also have a large room in an adjacent historic building with a large dining hall.

This is the tiny kitchen where two ladies worked the grill, the large pot contains the sauerkraut. As a side note, what we call sauerkraut in Germany has little to nothing in common with most of the mush with the same name here in the US. It’s pretty easy to make, and you can find German brands in jars though, in case you’re curious. But none of them compare to the real selfmade deal, based on a centuries old recipe. Good stuff!

to be continued….

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