Germany pt. 2: Prost!

German food was overwhelmingly…just what I expected: bratwurst, beer, pretzels and schnitzel. But no complaints here, because it was all delicious. While we didn’t have time for a second Foodie Tour, we did have an extensive sampling of German cuisine while on our guided tourFullandFearless_schlossbrauhausbeer. Rather than reliving every bite {trust me, there were far too many to mention here}, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite samplings.

I arrived knowing very little about German beer, other than the fact that there are three types – light, dark and wheat, or helles, dunkles and weizen. At the time I was exclusively a light or wheat beer drinker, so I shied away from the helles and dunkles to begin with. However, I’m a curious eater, as well a big fan of eating {and drinking} like a local, so I quickly branched out. With the help of a brewery tour and some samplings along the way, I learned that there are numerous variations within the three styles and that there were certain things about each that I really enjoyed.

Our first real taste of German food was at the Cafe Restaurant Gasthof Schweiger, which sits just a few feet from the Wieskirche. Being adjacent to the pilgrimage church, they’ve been dishing out the classics to hungry tourists for years. Well known for their homemade hot chocolate and doughnuts, ordering was a no-brainier in my book. I’m always down for doughnuts. Always.

FullandFearless_donuts2Commonly known as “Auszogene,” these fried pastries vary by name and flavor depending on the region, but the one thing they have in common is their distinct shape. We watched through a glass window as discs of dough were dropped into oil to fry – plunk, plunk, plunk – one at a time into a boiling vat. Out they came, golden brown with a paper-thin center and thick, spongy edges. While still shimmering with grease, they were quickly dipped into a cinnamon sugar mixture and set aside to cool. I stopped drooling on the glass long enough to make my way inside, find a table and promptly order. No need to consult the menu after that view. The hot chocolate was thick and smooth, a far cry from the Swiss Miss powdery stuff that we’re used to. Paired with the freshly fried doughnut, it’s no wonder that place is infamous.

FullandFearless_foodie_jeigerAfter touring the Neuschwanstein Castle, our group stopped at Schlossbrauhaus for lunch. A brewery and restaurant, there were so many choices that we did need to consult a menu this time, as well as our German bus driver. We peppered him with questions. “What’s a Sauerbraten?” “How is that different than the Jagerbraten” “So a Maultaschen is kind of like pasta?” Armed with a {slightly} better understanding of German cuisine, we placed our orders. I went traditional and picked the sauerbraten. Similar to pot roast, this dish can be prepared using several kinds of meat, but Schlossbrauhaus served a pork variety. The meat was tender and juicy and slathered in a brown mushroom sauce, similar to a runny gravy. The roast came with a generous portion of spatzle, an egg noodle dumpling covered in a light cheese sauce. It was described to me as like a kind of gnocchi, which I think FullandFearless_streuselis a bit of a stretch, but probably the most similar comparison. It was a rich and hearty meal, which wouldn’t be complete without a pint of beer. And, in the interest of staying traditional, an order of the apple streusel was necessary. The apples were warm and caramelized, and the crust was flaky to perfection and sprinkled with powdered sugar. It was the perfect end to a traditional meal.

Don’t worry, plenty of pretzels were consumed during our stint in Germany as well. There was no way I could leave without carb-loading on those soft and salty sides. {Yes, they’re as common as ordering a side of fries in the states! Dangerous.} And I loaded my bag with German chocolate before boarding the flight. I’m sure airport security thought I was escaping from Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or something, but that stuff was good and I wasn’t returning empty handed.

I always say food is half the fun of traveling, and that was certainly the case in Germany. The Bavarian food certainly did not disappoint. Germany, I lift a stein to you and say Cheers! Prost! Until next time.

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