Bavarian cooking is hearty and rustic, making very simple ingredients into tasty, satisfying dishes. It is known for its wide variety of Wurst (sausages), meat dishes, Knödel (dumplings) and pasta dishes, as well as for its breads, its sweet dishes and its dessert.
Bavaria is known as the “Weisswurst Equator.” The Weisswurst was created in Munich on February 22, 1857, and has since become a very important part of Bavaria cooking and lifestyle. The Weisswurst is so important here that a number of rules and taboos have been created around this popular dish (listed below). Those who don’t follow these rules are quickly labeled as “Foreigners” (Non-Bavarian).
- The Weisswurst must never be eaten with fork and knife. Instead, one is supposed to cut it in half, and with the hands, pick up one of the halves and dip it in sweet (and only sweet) mustard. The Weisswurst is to be eaten only with the hands.
- The Weisswurst is to be eaten only with a roll or pretzel and sweet mustard – no other side dishes are acceptable.
- The Weisswurst cannot be eaten after 12:00pm. This rule actually goes back to the 1800’s when the wurst was first invented. Back then, there was no way to preserve or refrigerate fresh, uncooked wurst. Because of this, all Weisswurst that was made had to be eaten quickly, so the rule was created that the wurst could not be eaten after 12:00pm to avoid any food illnesses.
Wheat also plays an important role in Bavarian cooking. This is evidenced by the numerous noodle and Knödel dishes, as well as the great variety of cakes and breads. Bread is not only eaten for breakfast, it is also used as filling in Knödel, poultry, and roasts. And we cannot forget about the world famous Pretzel. Its invention is accredited to the Bavarians. The pretzel isn’t just a side to wurst dishes, it is also an important part of festivals (such as Oktoberfest) and holidays.
Meat dishes are mainly of beef, veal, or pork. Poultry is also gaining in popularity. Historically, meat was only served on Sundays because many couldn’t afford the cost of serving meat everyday. The exception to this was in the city of Munich (München), where people were wealthier and could afford a piece of beef daily. Veal, however, was saved for weekends only there.
Fränkische Bratwurst (Franconian sausage) is a popular sausage of North Bavaria. The sausage is typically roasted, prepared as so-called Blaue Zipfel (boiled in vinegar with onions) or smoked. The sausage is about six inches long. A traditional Fränkische Bratwurst is served with Sauerkraut and German potato salad. But it is also very tasty with freshly baked farmhouse bread, horseradish and a cold beer. Coburger Bratwurst, available in the beautiful medieval town of Coburg, consists of a combination of pork and a minimum of 15 percent beef. This sausage is bigger, at about ten inches long. Nürnberger Rostbratwurst (Nuremberg sausage), in contrast, are small sausages, coarsely chopped up and grilled. Quantities of 6, 9 or 12 sausages are frequently served, together with sauerkraut or green cabbage and a pretzel. Another way of eating them is three small sausages served together with mustard in a roll. Nürnberger Rostbratwurst is finer and smaller than the usual German Bratwurst, only about 7.5 cm in length and a little under 2 cm in diameter. One story says the diameter of Nuremberg Rostbratwurst is so small because years ago the sausage was used to feed prisoners of the Nuremberg prison Lochgefängnis. Relatives of the prisoners, reportedly, passed the sausages through the cell keyhole.
Schnitzel is a thin, tenderized meat that is breaded and then fried. In Bavaria, schnitzel is made either from pork or veal and served in a variety of ways, from Wiener Art (breaded with lemon) to Jäger Art (with mushrooms and peppers). It is a classic dish that is both filling and delicious! Weisswurst is white sausage made from finely minced veal and pork bacon. Traditionally, this sausage was consumed only before noon time and washed down with a Weißbier, the light and tasty Bavarian wheat beer.
Another typical Bavarian food is a camembert cheese spread called “Obatzda,” made from camembert mixed with other cheeses, onions and spices. Obatzda is usually served with rye bread or pretzels, and makes a great spread at BBQs and gatherings to watch Fußball.
Spätzle literally translated means “little sparrows” in the Southern Bavarian dialect. This well-known dish consists of tiny noodles or dumplings made of flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and occasionally nutmeg. In Bavaria, Spätzle and chanterelles is a frequent side dish to fall game entrees such as deer, rabbit and boar, all of which are popular in the more rural Bavaria. Spätzle is a filling dish, and as such it does not taking a huge serving size to fill someone up, especially when paired with a good Bavarian beer.