Favourite places/secret spots in/around Munich.
My journey began with a soft voice on the other end of the line. With distinct British accent and a calm and warm female voice she said: “Sarah speaking!”. I was a slightly nervous when I called her. We agreed that we would have a telephone chat at a fixed date and time. That day, I was sitting in my kitchen, overlooking the red tiled roofs of the “Centro Storico”, the old part of a small town named Bra in Piemont, Italy. The town itself has not too much to offer, but it plays a very important role all over Italy, Europe and the USA. Bra is the place, were Slow Food came to life in 1986.
Almost 30 years later, I am a Masters Student at the Slow Food University in Pollenzo www.unisg.it, in the vicinity of Bra. Our one-year course is entitled: Masters in Food Culture and Communications – Media, Representation and High-Quality Food.
Part of this class is a two-month internship of my choice, to come up with and then defend a thesis, on what I have learned.
That’s why I called Sarah. I researched beforehand, so I figured out, I am older than her. This gave me some confidence, but it was also in a subtle way intimidating.
I’m a middle aged German restaurateur, who decided to give his life another twist, after more than twenty years in operational gastronomy and with nine years of running my own restaurant. That’s why I went back to school and that’s how I got in touch with Spoon.
My goal was, to work for a small, UK based PR-company in my field of profession and for high profile clients. I admire the unique British way of practicing PR. It’s lack of offensiveness, the multiple layers of meanings, wrapped in humour and not so serious self-depiction.
And, what I’m learning right now; a very serious business in a fast and highly competitive market. I think, I hit the spot for what I intended to learn and I’m, no doubt, with the right people.
Nine months of academic reflection on the question, what is “a gastronome?” lay behind me. I put myself into the shoes of an Anthropologist, an Ecologist, a Sociologist, and a Journalist and, in my particular case, the shoes of a graduate student, who is usually in his mid twenties. It took me a wile, to break them in and to walk comfortably but here I am. A university intern at Spoon PR, London.
Meanwhile, half of my time here is over and in four weeks, I’ll be going back, first to Munich and then to Hamburg, my hometown. So it feels appropriate to sentimentally fly the gastronomic flag for my mother country and, to begin with, Bavarian cuisine.
Of course, I have no objective reason to complain about my foodie life Italy and here in London, but there are a few things, I’m looking forward to, especially in Munich. It’s the traditional, hearty and savoury food of Germany’s most southern region. Influenced by the Austro/Hungarian traditions and characterised by a use of spices, at that time the currency along the ancient trade routes from and to the northern trade and harbour towns.
First of all, it is the bread I’m missing.
I spent my childhood in Munich, where “Die Hofpfisterei” www.hofpfisterei.de one of the best sourdough bakeries in Munich provides the city with its beautiful wheels of old fashioned, traditional bread. Try their “Frankenlaib”, a nice sourdough, spiced with caraway, coriander and fennel seeds. But each of their 28 different breads is fantastic. Dense, moist, a proper crust and a beautiful smell. Every ingredient is organic, and baked in this manner since 1917! It is still a family business with around 50 shops across the city, and 6 shops in Berlin. Through their website, you’ll find a store locator, in case you are interested.
I’d like to share three secret spots, you won’t find in the usual guides and blogs. First, is the “Gaststätte Grossmarkthalle” www.gaststätte-grossmarkthalle.de. Located next to Munich’s fruit and veg market hall, this traditional Bavarian Pub Restaurant serves food to the market vendors and their clients from 7 am until 5 pm. They serve the best “Weisswurst”, in town. Coming with grainy, sweet bavarian mustard, a prezel and a pint of lager, this is considered a proper breakfast. A pork roast with dark beer gravy and potato dumpling is the traditional Bavarian Lunch.
And I am willing to give away my absolute favourite secrets, in case you have access to a car. First is the “Gasthaus zur Mühle” http://www.gasthausmuehle.de in Strasslach, a small village south of the city. Beautifully tucked in the steep valley of the river Isar, this traditional Bavarian Pub’s interior hasn’t been changed for the last 250 years. During summer, the idyllic beer garden invites you to take a rest, if it is cold and wet, the wood fired oven warms your soul after a nice walk along the river.
My absolute highlight, offering you a breath taking view across the lake towards the Alps, is “Gasthaus Fischmeister” in Ambach www.zumfischmeister.com at the Starnberger See. This beautiful, almost drinking water quality lake, stretches across the glacier formed rolling hills between the city and the Alps. On a sunny day, there’s no better place to be; promise.
I wish one or two of you, the readers, find the time, to follow my tips. They’re worth it. You’ll find authentic, no fuss and honest Bavarian tradition. But don’t expect the cheeky, glossy Jet Set that Munich is so famous for.