Our research indicated the best weisswurst was to be found two miles south of the city center, which meant a jog through a temperamental part of town. Half a mile in, there are five drunken hooligans loitering outside a pub at 7AM, which apparently are peak hours. At a red light, one begins to make his way towards Jen. He turns away as soon as I catch up. Inferior graffiti lines the walls and a cemetery with fresh tombstones seems fitting in this neighborhood. We eventually turn a quiet corner and find ourselves outside Gaststätte Großmarkthalle.
Kochelsee St 13
81371 Munich, Germany
Enter Gaststätte Großmarkthalle. The host, Ludwig Wallner, greets us. He is referred by locals as The Great White Sausage Hope. But before we eat, we start off the day like any warm-blooded German would…with a nice refreshing half liter of Paulaner beer.
Germany is the land of sausages and Munich is best known for weisswurst, literally, white sausage, ground pork and veal that is seasoned with parsley, lemon, onions and spices. It’s a very deceiving dish, it looked flavorless. But, it ended up being one of the best sausages on the trip. It was a lighter flavor and the parsley and lemon made it quite refreshing.
When eating at a restaurant, it’s imperative that you eat it according to local custom. You need to poke the wurst with a fork and slice the casing gently peeling to uncover it. Then cut of a slice and dip it oh so lightly in mustard. It took a little practice, but we got it down. You must follow these steps. We saw another table escorted outside for an improper cut of the sausage. Keep in mind, weisswurst must never be eaten past noon. I’ve included an instructional video to ensure your visit doesn’t go to waste:
(How to eat weisswurs in the traditional manner)
We also order some leberkäse. Oddly, it is not a set size, but ordered by the 100 grams. I asked for 200 and our waitress commented that it would not be enough. It was more than enough. I had no issues with the taste of the leberkäse, but it’s like having high-end bologna with no bread or cheese to help compose it and bologna needs to be composed. With a visit to the Viktualienmarkt, a snack at Café Frischhut and two dinners it is needless to say, we had extra leberkäse. Overall, highly recommend Gaststätte Großmarkthalle on a visit to Munich.
During breakfast we discussed the day’s plan. The printed agenda had us driving to Herrenchiemsee Palace, which was an hour’s drive and then a boat ride. So it would have taken six hours of our day. Rather, we had an epiphany to stay in Munich, leisurely stroll through the Viktualienmarkt and shop the rest of the day. Screw the agenda, let’s soak up the culture like a local. I know we’re crazy, no? We ripped up the agenda. Figuratively speaking, I only had seven more copies at the apartment.
80331 Munich, Germany
The central food market was originally located right in the heart of Marienplatz, but in 1807 King Maximilian I ordered a judgment to move it just adjacent a block away. It’s still very central, so it provides an opportunity to shop at Viktualienmarkt or take in the surrounding sights: Peters Church, Church of St. Johann Nepomuk, Rischart bakery for well regarded pretzels and endless retail shopping.
With 140 stalls, the market itself is enough to keep you occupied for a full day. We start at Schrannenhalle, the indoor portion of Viktualienmarkt that reopened in 2011 covering 40,000 sq. ft. split into a couple stories of shopping real estate that included wine, Christmas decor, packaged food, bakeries, chocolates and European china. The anchor stores include Butlers and Feinkost Kaefer. Our favorite vendor was Elixier, a boutique shop offering vinegar, oil and liqueurs. They had a hundred different flavored concoctions on display and for the tasting. You can either drink them on their own or mix them with some Champagne for an aperitif. We took home three small bottles of Himbeer Limes, Passion Fruit and Balsamic Cream. I think it’s a good idea to have a little party when we get back home to try all the edible souvenirs from our trip. We never do, but I still think it’s a good idea. One year later, we still have most of the liquors in our fridge.
The longest line was for Milka Welt, but we passed since chocolates give Jen the runs. Nobody here needs me to rehash details following the ’96 Belgium Bathroom Bombing.
Moving on to the outside market, they offer xmas shopping, flowers, meat, sausages, fish, herbs, wine, bread and a variety of produce foreign to most Americans. In a 2009 New York Times article about meals worth a flight, former food critic Mimi Sheraton picked a snack of sausages at the Viktualienmarkt.
We started with a the Hulk green smoothie at Schenk’s frischgepresste Säfte, one of the juice vendors on display. Then, walked around sampling what we could.
A highlight for us was the large regional cheese selection. We wanted to try as many German cheeses that we could get our hands on. Most of them are labeled with a flag for the country of origin, so it wasn’t difficult to identify the German ones.
Not necessarily traditional German, but two other stalls that stood out was Oliven und mehr…that is just that olives and more and Gewürzwerk spice store. We grabbed some marinated olives, cheese stuffed peppers and mushrooms for our Bavaria day trips. If you’re seeking a way out of the mundane Superbowl dips offered at U.S. supermarkets, Gewürzwerk makes a half dozen or so homemade spice mixtures that would blow away any ranch dip. Easy to transport as you just add the sour cream and mayonnaise when you prepare it. We purchased a Bruschetta Barbeque blend, Tzatziki, Christmas spice blend, garlic and Bruschetta Arrabiata blend. Jen even found a stall for Turkish delights.
They also had an extensive seafood market with several grills ready to cook up your fish with a glass of wine.
Germany is known for its variety of distinctive cheeses, so we had a list of some that we wanted to try. We were able to try most on our list and several mountain cheese that were not. All in all, they were impressive, although it was hard at times to avoid the French presence. I’ve attached our list below:
Cheeses of Germany (PDF)
80331 München, Germany
A popular place near Viktualienmarkt is Café Frischhut, which sells another version of fried dough. We got their signature pastry, the Schmalznudel and added a Krapfen (doughnut). Both were very good and worth a stop.
There’ s a lot of shopping choices near the Marienplatz. We chose three that ran along the bustling Dienerstrasse promenade. F. S. Kustermann is department store that had a serendipitous find, the largest Rösle selection we have ever seen. They easily had over 100 different utensils (the picture below is just one of three walls with Rösle products). The second floor had additional BBQ Rösle products. I was in heaven, no other product line performs as good as Rösle, even the ones now made in China. I picked up 8 or so products that are harder to find in the U.S. They even had a weisswurst lifter. Jen liked the Christmas ornaments, but her favorite store was Deeply Felt. A store that sells all things made of felt: dividers, coats, placemats, bags, curtains, table cloths, chairs. you can buy the felt by the yard to make whatever other creative product you can image. Jen wanted to get some to make a stocking for her and future child. I wanted to get coasters to divide and safeguard our china. We also went into Manufactum Warenhaus, which was quite busy. The had an eclectic mix of products from garden tools, clothes and high-end gin to cheese, books and electronics. All quite nice, but it just didn’t tickle our fancies.
F. S. Kustermann
Viktualienmarkt 8, Rindermarkt 3-4
80331 Munich, Germany
Deeply Felt (Daimer Filze)
Dienerstrasse, im Rathaus
Diener St 12
We didn’t have a reservation at Der Pschorr and the first table that become available was a communal one. The odd thing was I didn’t give much thought to the amount of food I knew we were ordering or eating with strangers. I just knew we had a reservation at Augustiner Braustuben later in the evening, so let’s just get the first table that becomes available. Everybody at the table was nice, quiet for the most part. A couple Germans, a couple Americans and two reserved folks that I never gauged their nationality. Then, the food started to arrive. We ordered the most and began to take up real estate on half the table. I made everybody aware that we hadn’t eaten all day and even used the one about the reputation for Bavaria’s small portions. Foodwise, this was the best we had in Munich. Jen loved the spätzle and I loved the goulash.
Landsberger St 19
80339 Munich, Germany
Now, moving on to the worst meal of the trip. Everything we had was horrible. We’ve had better food at Sizzler. The Bavarian cold cuts was comparable to Ralph’s delicatessen. The spätzle was pathetic compared to the one we just experienced at Der Pschorr. The waiter mentioned the pork and sausages were sourced from 7-11 and you could really taste it. Avoid Augustiner Braustuben at all costs.