Sunday, January 31, 2016

Deutsches Currywurst Museum, Berlin (Schützenstraße 70)

Currywurst is to Germans what Hamburgers are to Americans. It´s been a popular fast food of our street culture since the 1950s, the kind of „blue collar snack“ former Chancelor Gerhard Schröder used to eat in public at Ku´Damm, whenever he wanted to demonstrate to the people, that he´s one of them. And although there have been funny rumors of the Currywurst originating in Hamburg or the best sausages supposedly being served in the Ruhrgebiet, Berlin has always been the capital and the home of Currywurst. Some 70 million Currywürste (!) are devoured in Berlin every year, quite a bite of those total 800 million spiced up-sausages consumed all over Germany. Small surprise, that this city even houses a museum, entirely devoted to this very specific snack culture and it´s origins.

Located just a few steps away from former Checkpoint Charlie, a Spy Museum and the Trabbi-Car Museum, this privately owned (fast)food lover´s attraction is surprisingly well designed and packed with interesting information around curry, ketchup, the sausage success story and – not to be missed –  a food tasting booth near the exit. The friendly and helpful lady at the entrance informs me there are even organized tours in English and you can pick up English audioguides here for your museum tour.

Martin Lower, the initiator of this venture, got the idea for this museum while traveling in Thailand, so the legend goes. Impressed by a local museum devoted entirely on the history of a certain spice, this entrepreneur started thinking about German food and museum culture. And that´s when he came up with this Currywurst Museum idea. So in summer 2009 this extraordinary place has opened.

The first impression you´ll get entering the museum, is of some kind of surreal ketchup heaven lounge area, which makes design lovers think, it could have been the brainchild of Danish design legend Verner Panton: Huge red sauce drops frozen in plastic, dripping from the ceiling. This looks like fun and makes you curious right away.

It´s also setting the stage: Yes, this is an event place, not just your ordinary museum. It´s probably not of too much importance to you, but this museum has indeed collected five awards for its design and communications concept over the past five years. So you certainly won´t be bored by by dry facts here, you´ll by entertained, picking up a ketchup bottle-formed headset, listening to pop music with a currywurst theme, you´ll be sniffing at stuff, looking and most likely eating food.

Along the way, you´ll learn about Herta Heuwer, the Berlin Lady who has invented that special sauce, mixing her special ketchup ingredients and curry spices as add-on to the sausages. For further excursions in town, there´s a map of wurststands to visit in Berlin. I won´t tell you all the fun facts about this place now. Come and eat and learn about Germany favorite sausage here and its favorite sauce. This is worth a visit, most likely you´ll be in the area anyway, as a Berlin tourist.

Photographs: Views of the exhibition. Copyright: Deutsches Currywurst Museum

Finally a few remarks on the actual food being served here: If you should have vegetarians traveling with you: They are serving Veggie-Currrywurst here, following the general trend of Berlin´s Wurstbuden (the sausage booths). I recommend the sausage variation offer here with three different sauces (I liked the fruity ketchup best) and different three kinds of sausage. Don´t worry, all those are served on mini-plates, eating those is no big challenge. You may even like the experience that much, that you´ll decided to buy a book the Currywurst´s history afterwards here at the museum store.

How to get there: Take the U-Bahn to Stadtmitte (U2 or U6) or Kochstraße (U6)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Bratwurstherzl am Viktualienmarkt, Munich (Dreifaltigkeitsplatz 1)

Rostbratwürste with Kraut, is a classic choice here. Try them!

Bratwurstherzl am Viktualienmarkt (Dreifaltigkeitsplatz 1, 80331 Munich)


Just around the corner of Munich´s Farmer´s Market (Viktualienmarkt), there´s a true home for sausage lovers, well frequented by tourists and locals alike. If you´d ask me why, I´d say, it´s mostly, because they are serving you a special flavor with their sausages here.
The Bratwurstherzl is roasting the Wuerstel on an open beechwood fire in a historic cellar with a lot of historic flair to it.
The Bratwurstherzl´s cook at work
Rich beechwood fumes do add that perfect extra note in harmony with the strong majoran flavors of the classic short and thick Nuernberger pork sausages, which we strongly advise you to order from the menu: Try those eight Rostbratwürste mit Weinsauerkraut (7,85 Euro). When you order, you´ll have a choice of potato salad (Kartoffelsalat) or Sauerkraut as a side dish.
Don´t go for that salad here. It hasn´t convinced us. The Kraut however did surprise  with its pleasant sour taste (no gravy sauce added here, though).

Let´s admit it, those heart shaped tin plates underneath your food servings here do look tacky and a bit out of place today, but who cares in this otherwise pleasant place. And after all this restaurant calls itself the Heart of the Bratwurst.

To sum it up: Visit the Bratwurstherzl, because of that open fire roast and their Nuernberger sausages with that special beechwood aroma. Have a dark beer with it and you find perfect harmony. After that, please do come back to „The Wurst“ for more news on sausage eating in Munich.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Cafeteria Munich Airport, Terminal 1

The saddest sausages in town: Munich´s airport microwave dinner

Cafeteria Munich Airport, Terminal 1

Certainly your last chance for Bavarian sausages, before you´ll leave Munich: Inside Munich´s Airport Terminal 1, there are two bistro style restaurants waiting for hungry travelers. One of them is devoted to Italian fast food, the other one is offering a distant hint of Bavarian „cuisine“, with Leberkäse and Weißwurst on the menu.
Don´t expect anything worth remembering, tough.

Just to give it a try, ´we´ve ordered a pair of Weißwürste on a slow Sunday evening. Traditionally, you´d buy a fresh pretzel extra with your sausages, but as there were none left that day, so we were offered a pale old roll. Seriously, folks: that´s a no-go! Rather decline any extra, before you go that way. That combination does´t go well. So it was just a lonely, minimalist pair of sausages for this saddest food test, ready for the next surprise. 
Dumbfounded, we witnessed those two sausages being relieved from a previously vacuumed life in plastic, put into the above porcelain bowl and sent into the microwave for a few seconds. Squeeze your sweet Develey mustard out of those two mini-bags you´ll get and that´s the whole package. Okay, the employee apologized about the missing pretzel, when he anded out this unfortunate creation.

To sum it up: Don´t think about eating sausages here. It may be possibly the saddest Weißwurst eating experience in the Munich area. Better wait and have some good sausage experiences in town, next time.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Augustiner am Dom, Munich (Frauenplatz 8)

Augustiner am Dom (Frauenplatz 8, München)

You can´t eat any closer to the spiritual heart of the city. Munich´s impressive dome is right next door to this traditional restaurant with close brewery connections to Augustiner. If you should decide to sit by the window on the third floor, you´ll get an extra nice view of the church. Before you make up your mind tough, walk through the house. All floors do have a slightly different ambience. They all seem pleasantly energized by kind waitresses dressed in Bavarian dirndls, kind to you even at heaviest of traffic times.

Augustiner am Dom does have its own sausage section on the menu, but please do also consider what´s listed amongst the local dishes („Münchnerisch“). Here you´ll find Munich´s probably best Weißwurst (2,90 Euro a piece) all day long: Those fine sausages are brought in from Wallner, a well reputed butcher/restaurant, based at the Großmarkthalle, the city´s food market. Of course Wallner will make an appearance here at „the wurst“ soon, so let´s rather turn to the general sausage scenery at the Augustiner now.

Our obvious first choice is the Würstelteller (13,90 Euro), consisting of four Rostbratwürstel and two feurig rote Bratwürstel, Sauerkraut and Potato Salad (see photo below) – a true wurst heaven? The Rostbratwürstel turn out to be small pork sausages (Schweinswürstel) served with a perfect „pan tan“ and a strong marjoram flavor, which was just a bit too dominant for our taste. Schürzer´s Red Bratwürstel are of the tasty Debreziner kind – not too spicy, with a pleasant paprika powder note. They come in perfect harmony with a splendid potato salad. This fine, homemade salad is prepared the way it is all over Germany´s southern region: with a smooth, connecting touch of oil instead of heavy mayonaisse. The honorable mention goes to the Kraut this time! It will please you with a decent sourness and occasional caraway seeds. Any longings left after this? Maybe just for another kind of sausage instead of those four Rostbratwürstel. For most visitors this may be some kind of a first encounter. Dear chef: Give them a chance to get more of a variety on this platter. No grumpy ending, though. Let´s rather praise the mustard. It´s Münchner Kindl Senf, local stuff, also sold as a take along at this restaurant. Good, spicy and including whole mustard seeds. Try it.

To sum it up: The Augustiner am Dom has selected a well composed sausage spectrum for you and does convince us with its attention to details like mustard and its good service. No open fire roast flavor stuff here, but lots of traditional fare. You´ll love it. And try the beer – it´s amongst Munich´s best. Get ready for more sausages soon ...

The „Würstelteller“ at Augustiner am Dom

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Weißes Bräuhaus im Tal, Munich (Tal 7)

Weißes Bräuhaus im Tal (Tal 7, München)


Situated just a couple of minutes away from Marienplatz (and around the corner of the Hofbräuhaus), this place is always a good choice, if you are looking for good Bavarian food and beer. Although it is packed with tourists, you´ll find just as many locals here, who do enjoy the restaurant´s home-brewed, well reputed Schneider Weiße beer and also some genuine traditional dishes, which are getting rare on Munich´s menus, these days.
To spell it out right away: The Bräuhaus is certainly not specializing in sausages, so the listings on the menu are but a few. You´ll find two pairs of Schweinswürstl with Sauerkraut (7,90 Euro), cold Wurstsalat with raw Onion Rings ( 6,90 Euro), Kälberne Milzwurst with Potato Salad (9,20 Euro) and the butcher´s platter, „Unsere Metzgerplatte“ (13,40 Euro) which we were heading for, as this is offering the ideal starter kit for sausage lovers: five different kinds of sausages, sauerkraut and boiled potatoes. The sausage crew on this plate is composed of a surprisingly good Wiener (with a well defined smoked aroma) and slightly spicy Debreziner (that could actually take a little more spice), an average, mild Wollwurst (admittedly never my favorite – better try that before the Debreziner) and the slightly disappointing Schweinswürstl. The latter come in opulent sizes out of the Bräuhaus pan, with none of the lure of sausages roasted on open fire.
Anyhow, if you want to get an idea of the Bavarian sausage scenery, the Metzgerplatte is an ideal start, giving you a cross section of some of the most popular stuff. With one exception, though: the Münchner Weißwurst (2,40 Euro per sausage) is missing and does´t fit in with the rest. It´s served only till 12 o´clock at noon, like it used to be done all over Munich in the past.
As we came for dinner, we didn´t have that option. Another reason to return soon. Finally, a few words on the side dishes. We didn´t mind the potatoes, but frankly, a little more Kraut would have been nice. The Sauerkraut was fine, not excellent.
To sum it up: The Weißes Bräuhaus is a must see for anyone interested in tradition Bavarian food and beverages. And their Metzgerplatte will be a nice start for your sausage tour around town. Get ready for more soon ...