Munich - the world's unofficial beer capital
Hopefully no one visiting Munich for the first time will be on diet or constrained to consuming fat-free fare.
Munich, capital of Bavaria, is the world's unofficial beer capital, boasting no less than six major breweries and more than 200 German/Bavarian restaurants not to mention 350 Italian, 200 Balkan, 100 Greek, 80 Thai, 50 French eateries.
But beer and what is consumed with it is what the city is all about. Beer has been brewed in Munich for the past 600 years and has infiltrated the very roots of the culture dividing city life into beer seasons - March (Starkbeerzeit), when beer has an alcohol content of 5%, followed by May - Maibock (blonde beer) and then Biergartenzeit, which is summer when one joins the flock to one of the local beer gardens. Every two years this period is blessed with Brauertag (Brewers Day) when all breweries and their apprentices accompanied by music and horses, parade through the streets. The high point is the Oktoberfest which takes place in September, followed by Festbock at Christmas time.
However, what's the use of beer without something interesting to eat with it. The Bavarians have thought of everything. The Edelfresswelle - high class gluttony- exists in every major city and Munich boasts a few exemplary establishments - but this has nothing to do with local Bavarian fare accompanied by the world's best beer.
For those sampling beer before noon, weisswurst (don't forget the sweet mustard as an accompaniment) is a must. They look awful, taste indifferent but in combination with beer, bread and mustard, are really something special. Apart from that the other accompaniments are Brezen (pretzels), Steckerfisch (salted mackerel), Leberkäs (warm ground beef and bacon) Radi (radish) or bread with Obatzda (a mixture of Camembert, Paprika and Butter). For those looking for a good warm calorie-rich meal try the roast pork and dumplings - you will not be disappointed.
Bernd Boeble once wrote: "If a man really belongs to Munich he drinks beer at all times of the day... he never stops".