MUNCHING IN MUNCHEN: REBIRTH OF A SALESMAN
Now, this is why I like this business. For all the travails of the last few months, this is why I love this business.
I suddenly realised half way through a day of meetings with intelligent, charming and hospitable publishers that life on the road is what I do best. Think of me as Willy Loman with well defined abs and a bald head.
Our first meeting was not until later in the morning which allowed us time for a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and the chance to wander around Munich and check out a few book stores.
Bookshops in any country tell you a huge amount about the people and what they consider important. The Germans take books very seriously indeed. Munich is the home to more publishing houses than NYC or London and their main bookstore chain, Huggendubel offers up a depth of stock that would put most Waterstones to shame. Still, Dan Brown seems to be in full effect here as everywhere so it would seem you can fool all the people all the time.
Four meetings later saw us being taken off to dinner at Hippocampus, a publishing hangout in the Bogenhausen district of the city. It is considered one of the best Italian restaurants in Munich and has an impressive wine list.
Enjoyable rather than mind blowing. Competent rather than stunning, the food was all it needed to be to compliment a convivial evening spent with two of the honchos from Graefe & Unser, Germany’s leading cookery book publisher.
A cep risotto was creamy but retained a suitable bite, veal was slightly non descript. The star, however, was the wine. A Lowengang Chardonnay from the Sud tiroller, the part of Italy just to the South of Austria. Creamy and oaky it was unlike anything I had tried before and made even me stop talking while I tried it. A definite must buy when I am back home.
It was followed by a dark grappa which provided a suitable full stop to the evening.
So, nothing world shattering, but a pleasant evening with decent food and an excellent wine served to cap off a day which began, in part, to restore my love for what I do.
What did Willy say?
“After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.”
Not quite yet, Willy. Soon, but not quite yet.