Brunch in Munich? Prost!
Bavarian Food Tasting Tour, part 1
So I took a little trip to the Continent and landed myself in Munich, Germany–nope, not the official capital of Germany (that’s Berlin) but definitely the keg of the country. Munich is where beer counts as a food group, and believe it or not, the monks were the ones to develop the delicious brew. Munich’s history is never without a beer stein nearby. In fact, the National Theatre was saved from being burned down a second time, thanks to nearby Hofbräuhaus brewery that lent its litres to extinguish the fire when winter froze out the water supply.
The drink begins in the morning–before 11:30am, to be precise. I take part in the Bavarian Food Tasting and Viktualienmarkt Tour from Munich Walk Tours and meet with Killian, a friendly guide, just after 11am, where we walk to Augustiner brewery, one of the big six breweries in Munich. And in case you thought the Germans were just using the morning as an excuse to get drunk early in the day, know that there is such a thing as a half-glass that can be ordered like a half-pint. We had a white beer, Weissbier, and it was poured with lots of foam. Prost! Killian says, which is Cheers! in German. Wait until you hear what’s on the traditional brunch menu.
The server arrives with two giant pretzel twists the size of my face, speckled big salt granules. I can’t say I have had many pretzels in North America, but I do remember them being warm and chewy. The ones I had in Germany are harder and well-baked, so it’s very brown and salty. Killian spoons sweet mustard onto his plate, and I followed suit. Yellow mustard is for hot dogs and honey mustard for days you want to dress up your sub or salad, and German sweet mustard is a classic condiment used for both breads and meat. It’s not syrupy like honey mustard, but not incredibly tart either–something in between, and I was happy to find two jars from Viktualienmarkt to bring back home.
But German sweet mustard is not only for pretzels. The server returns with a white porcelain pot, and Killian lifted the lid to reveal two fat, white sausages in steaming murky water. Let me make a little confession here. I’m not a big fan of sausages, and even less so when they are boiled. Do you remember having boiled hot dogs, as a kid? It comes out kind of rubbery, and there isn’t the satisfying crispy skin that breaks off at the teeth, as it would when grilled and blackened. Again, I tell Killian I’m going to wait for him to eat his first so I can see how it’s done.
He slices it in half, and picks up a piece. I have to say that boiled white meat is not the most attractive looking thing, and when it’s tubular and sliced in half … even less so! “What’s inside?” I ask. “Herbs, veal, and pork,” Killian replies, dipping the sausage into the sweet mustard. “Don’t eat the casings,” he says, and I give him a puzzled look. The technique is something along the lines of biting and sucking, which makes me think of eating meat out of a straw … this could get interesting. I give it a shot and Killian laughs when I show him there’s still lots of meat inside the casing. Thankfully, there’s a few more bites I can still practise with.
“White sausage is not smoked, salted or baked, but boiled. That’s why you have to eat it before noon before it goes bad,” Killian explains. I can taste the parsley, and the sausage is pretty lean as well. I don’t imagine using fatty cuts of the animal for boiled sausage. Even now when there is modern refrigeration, most keep with tradition and eat it before noon. Hence a perfect meal for brunch!
We prost some more and before long, our plates are cleared and it’s time to head to our next stop in the food tour!