Thursday, 15 December 2011

Germany

A long pre-Christmas jaunt to Germany to sample the delights of beer, sausages, sausages, beer, meat in gravy with dumplings, sausages, beer and dumplings. I've done a few towns in Germany now, and this year started with a work trip to Munich, a stag do in Berlin, and then back down to Munich again.

Munich is undoubtedly one of my favourite cities. I would rather have a beer in a beer garden in the height of summer than anywhere else in the world. I wouldn't say it's a go-to location for a culinary journey or necessarily for a city break somewhere that is particularly avant-garde or edgy, but from a tourist standpoint it's clean, well-kept and also surrounded by some spectacular scenery and old towns. It also has my favourite sausage (sorry, Big Apple Hot Dogs, you're a close 2nd). As you walk into the Viktualienmarkt, head to the little green kiosk on the left, opposite all the butchers and have their bratwurst. A meaty, savoury assault on the senses smeared in the local mild mustard which seems to be a sort of cross (in both in strength and flavour) between American yellow and English yellow mustard:

Viktualienmarkt bratwurst, Munich

Berlin for the stag do gave me a chance to try their - ultimately - sinful favourite snack, Currywurst. I've used a capital letter there as I'm sure it's probably held in enough reverence to be capitalised. I headed to Curry 36 in Kreuzberg. And wasn't impressed. Two thick frankfurters were pulled from a pool of frying grease and smeared in an overly-sweet vaguely curried ketchup, along with fries covered in a curried powder and mayonnaise. Maybe I was hung over from a 6am and 3am finish the previous two nights, but nope - this one's not for me. Suitably blurry photo:

Currywurst, Curry 36, Berlin

Another highlight in Berlin was part of the stag was a chance to try Ottenthal's famed schnitzel. I was half-gone by then but it was thin, crispily coated and lovely for soaking up the beer and gluhwein we'd be motoring through all day:

Schnitzel - Ottenthal, Berlin

One other notable nod that doesn't come with a photo as the one I'd taken was shite, was the impressive "durum" - essentially a chicken kebab in a wrap for about €3 at Mustafas Gemüse Kebab. Given the amount of turkish immigration in Germany, it was always worth a try. Type in "Best kebab in Berlin" and this place comes up plenty of times. It probably shows that the queue I joined on a sleety Monday afternoon at 2.45pm was 25-long. It wasn't even lunch time. The kebab itself had 3 different sauces and about 10 different component parts. A cheeky delight and different flavour in each mouthful. It warranted the wait.

Next time around - it'll be Germany in the summer...gratuitous beer garden photos to follow some time later in the year.