DOS HERMANOS IMMER ESSEN IN MUNCHEN: DAY TWO
Inevitably, given the excess of the day before, our second day in this fine city turned out to be a quiet affair.
Equally, inevitably, we both awoke with mouths that could have been used to grate cheese and heads that pounded like an illegal warehouse party.
Despite the quivering of my hands, I managed to shave and shower and we headed out to catch Munich’s citizens at weekend play.
It is, compared to many cities, surprisingly sedate. With a relatively small population of around two million housed in a relatively large space, the city never feels cramped and the pace at which people live is so civilised that you seldom feel hassled or stressed.
our first stop was to listen to the hugely unimpressive Munich Glockenspiel, of which they all seem inordinately proud. I was not. I may even have turned to HP after about five minutes and said "I have already had enough glockenspiel to last a fucking lifetime. Let's eat" before walking away in the general direction of a much more important place “ The Stomach of Munich” The Viktualienmarkt where most of the city seems to come and shop.
It is great fun with stalls selling bewildering varieties of fish and meat and sausages sitting next to cafes and bars feeding the locals as they shop.
Before noon, of course, it is required under German law that you indulge in at least one beer along with that staple of Munich snackdom, the Weiβwurst. As the name suggestst, a white sausage made from good cuts of veal along with some bits from less attractive parts of the beast and, as with much else in Germany, there are very strict rules about how one should be eaten. No random chomping here, I am afraid. The way to eat your wurst involves a gentle peel back of the skin to reveal the meat before picking it up and sucking the flesh from the casing and then washing it down with a glug of wheat beer.
It is pretty good stuff and, as pick-me-up after the night before, it did just the job. So too did another treat of Spanfarkel, or suckling pig to you and me which came in a semmel, a crunchy roll along with some sweet mustard and a good slab of crunchy crackling.
We also stopped off for a glug of warm honey wine which too played a part in aiding our return to some semblance of normailty.
The relaxed pace carried on through the rest of the day with a long, leisurely stroll to the most famous food store in Germany, Dalmyre. It is smart enough and packed to the gunwhales with food and punters, but I didn't care for it. A bit like going to Fortnum & Masons after Borough Market.
So, we left quickly and headed to the Swarbing area of Munich which is very swish indeed and houses many of the main university’s buildings. Down the residential side streets numerous cafes and bars were already filling with people knocking back the beer or chomping down on more sausages. We were a little meated out and saving ourselves for a bit of a large bit of pork in the evening, so instead, we dipped in to a Konditorei for some terrific hot chocolate, topped with a heart attack inducing amount of cream, and some equally terrifying cakes.
The night before had caught up with me by now and I went back to the hotel for a kip while HP, ever the brave little soldier went back to the market for a Leberkasemmel. Now, this really is a speciality of the city. A semmel roll filled with a finger thick slice of mystery meat made, apparently, from ground beef, bacon and herbs. HP rather liked it, but then he has always been one for mystery meat products.
By the time evening came, I was very much back in the game. Colon clear as a whistle, thanks for asking and head just about waving “goodbye” to the fug of the previous night’s drinking.
I was ready for some more beer which we found near our hotel in bars named after, respectively, Beethoven and Mozart. I wondered if they ever got into fights, standing outside the other's bar shouting "your sonatas are shit" while waving their fists angrily. Just a thought.
We only had one thing on our mind that night though, pork.
HP had done some more of his excellent research and come across the Altes Hackerhaus, another legendary beer hall on Sendlinger Strasse. It certainly looked the part and, with seating on three floors, we were pretty certain we could walk in and get a seat.
Well, we did get a seat, but only just. The place was packed and they ushered us to a small, covered courtyard and pointed to one of the few available places. I was concerned that we were pushed out in some sort of beer hall Siberia, but I need not have been. The service was the very epitome of German reliability and incredibly friendly.
HP began to look at the menu and mumbled something about “starters” I warned him off them. Not because they are no good but because the main courses are so huge that even he, stuffed as he was with leberkase already, would struggle to finish his meal an occurrence that I can only recall happening once in my lifetime.
He heeded my warning and was glad we did when our meals arrived. I went for more spanferkel. The suckling pig flesh was soft and creamy with a great layer of crunchy crackling. It was exceptionally good but did not come close to HP’s dish of schweinhaxn or pork knuckle. The meat on this was tougher, coming from an older animal, but had a huge amount of flavour. The skin was crisp and it was, all in all, as good a bit of pork as you are ever likely to come across. The before and after picture should show that HP would tend on the side of agreement. Although, if you look clearly, you will also see a lonely little potato knoedl sitting unloved on both plates. We eat most things, but we are not savages.
Obviously pudding was not going to happen. I never did get to try and struedel. Ho hum, but the bill with a beer was enough to bring a smile coming in at under £25 for the two of us.
A quick stop off for tea and coffee had us back at the hotel by about 11pm, which compared to our 2am drunken lurching the night before, was positively abstemious.
However, I think we both knew that the pig would wreak its revenge on our digestive tracts, bringing us a night filled with meat sweats and little sleep. Did we care? We did not
Roll on day three.