2020. Corona. Travelling is a different game. Yet our Fernweh acted up too often. So we arranged a train trip to Germany and Austria. Specifically to Leipzig in Saxony, several spots in Bavaria and returning home with ÖBB‘s Nightjet from Innsbruck in Tyrol to Brussels in Belgium.
What is German food? Sausages? Check. Dark bread? Check. Meat? Check. Sauerkraut? Check. The clichés of a rich cuisine with loads of meet, grilled, roasted or baked in butter, heavy sauces and potatoes are true. But those dishes are good and more refined than their description.
Eating out not to cook
In Belgium and France, we tend to see dining out as an evening-filling activity. Eating and talking to your friend(s) and/or your loved one(s). We also tend to eat something can’t or won’t cook ourselves at home.
In Germany, eating out tends to be something you do not to cook at home, but you want the same food.
We found plenty of restaurants with typical German, specifically Franconian or Bavarian cuisine. You won’t find that many restaurants serving typically ‘grandmothers’ dishes in Belgium.
So portions are big and food is served quickly. It’s not as strictly timed as in the United States, but there’s a certain rhythm in the service.
In Leipzig we started with Saxon cuisine. “In general the cuisine is very hearty and features many peculiarities of Mid-Germany such as a great variety of sauces which accompany the main dish and the fashion to serve Klöße/Knödel as a side dish instead of potatoes, pasta or rice. Also much freshwater fish is used in Saxon cuisine, particularly carp and trout as is the case throughout Eastern Europe.”, Wikipedia says.
The rich history of the region did and still does influence the cuisine. In the blossoming and growing cities of Dresden and Leipzig an extravagant style of cuisine is cherished as exemplified by crab as an ingredient in Leipziger Allerlei.”
And indeed, I started with Sächsischer Sauerbraten, roast.
Franconian cuisine is an umbrella term for all dishes with a specific regional identity belonging to the region of Franconia. It is a subtype of German cuisine with many similarities to Bavarian cuisine and Swabian cuisine. It is often included in the Bavarian cuisine, since most parts of Franconia belong to Bavaria today.
Most famous are the Nürnberger Bratwürste, relatively small sausages from Nuremberg. We had some at Bratwurst Röslein.
Bavarian cuisine and the Weißwurstäquator
Bavarian cuisine includes many meat and Knödel dishes, and often uses flour. Due to its rural conditions and cold climate, only crops such as beets and potatoes do well in Bavaria, being a staple in the German diet.
Notable is the Weißwurst or white sausage, which you eat with a pretzel and with sweet mustard or Süßer Senf. Below the Weißwurstäquator or White Sausage Equator it is a dish eaten before noon. If you order it after, you look silly. Just as you don’t order a cappuccino after noon in Italy.
Of course after while all those meats, red cabbages and potatoes are bit much. We ate Afghan at Chopan in Munich, Greek in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and refined Austrian at aDLERS in Innsbruck and at Leerer Beutel in Regensburg.
I’m getting hungry as I’m writing this.
Previously on this adventure
- The delicious German state secret: dining onboard Deutsche Bahn.
- VIDEO | Leipzig Hauptbahnhof.
- Leipzig Bayerischer Bahnhof.
- EAST GERMANY | Zeitgeschichtliches Forum, Leipzig’s GDR museum.
- Hyperion Leipzig.
- By ICE from Leipzig to Nuremberg.
- Nuremberg Transport Museum / DB Museum.
- Novotel Nuremberg City Centre.
- Documentation Center NS Party Rallying Grounds in Nuremberg.
- Nuremberg’s Zeppelin Field with the Norisring.
- Memorium Nuremberg Trials.
- Nuremberg’s real-life Playmobil Imperial Castle.
- You need at least two full days in Nuremberg.
- DB Regio from Nuremberg to Regensburg.
- Thurn und Taxis princely palace museum in Regensburg.
- Eurostars Park Hotel Maximilian Regensburg.
- With Alex from Regensburg to Munich.
- BMW Museum & BMW Welt in Munich.
- Munich’s Olympiapark.
- Sofitel Munich Bayerpost.
- Deutsches Museum’s Verkehrszentrum or Transport Centre in Munich.
- Deutsches Museum’s main site on Munich’s Museuminsel.
- By train to Neuschwanstein.
- Only 15 Minutes and No Photos in Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle.
- Museum of the Bavarian Kings in Schwangau near Neuschwanstein.
- Füssen in Bavaria, the gateway to Neuschwanstein.
- Münchner Stadtmuseum – Munich City Museum.
- MUNICH | Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum / Pinakothek der Moderne.
- Five days and four nights in Munich, including Neuschwanstein.
- By train to Lindau and Lake Constance.
- Lindau at or in Lake Constance.
- Hotel Bayerischer Hof Lindau.
- Trainspotting at Lindau.
- By train from Lindau to Garmisch-Partenkirchen via the Ausserfern railway.
- Staying firmly on the ground in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
- Mercure Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
- Visiting Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze.
- Mountaineering in Germany part 2: The Alpspitz.
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Innsbruck via Mittenwald on DB Regio.
- Habsburg Schloss Ambras Castle in Innsbruck.
- Ibis Innsbruck.
- Imperial Palace Hofburg Innsbruck.
- Ferdinandeum Tyrol State Museum in Innsbruck.
- Nightjet Vienna/Innsbruck to Brussels, or how we got thrown off the train in Aachen.