Bavaria is the southern-most state in Germany, and home to the Romantic Road and Oktoberfest. But atop the many reasons to visit (or even live there, as Andie’s family did when she was a child) is the food. Here is our list of the must-try foods in Bavaria:
Sauerbraten is one of Germany’s national dishes. It’s basically a pot roast and its name translates as “sour roasted meat.” While that may not be the most flattering of translations, make no mistake – it is mouthwateringly delicious! Most commonly made with beef, the meat is heavily marinated in a base of sour vinegar, broth, spices and a bit of sugar. It is served in a rich, sweet and sour gravy, and the result is one of the most flavorful and fork-tender meats you’ll not soon forget.
Rouladen, a.k.a. “beef rolls,” is another traditional German dish. It features long, thinly sliced strips of meat which are covered with mustard and filled with bacon, onion, and pickles. The meat is then rolled up into roulades to enclose the filling, and then browned and slow-simmered in a rich gravy. It is so delicious, that even our very own mustard-fearing Stephen was impressed when he “took one for the team” and gave it a try!
Schnitzel is probably one of the most popular foods in Bavaria. There are many varieties such as pork, veal, chicken and turkey. But regardless of the meat, the end result is the same. Nothing too fancy, just a thinly-hammered, boneless meat cutlet which is breaded and fried to perfection. Simplicity at its finest, it is deceivingly delicious.
We’re going to hazard a guess that you’ll be having bratwurst while in Bavaria. But don’t sleep on Germany’s iconic “white sausage!” Weisswurst is most commonly enjoyed before noon, as a breakfast or brunch favorite. And it’s also widely purported to be the ultimate hangover cure! A mix of veal, pork, and spices, this tender sausage is cooked in a large pot of boiling water, rather than being grilled or fried. And rather than eat the skin, it is customary to slice it down the center and remove it before eating. A side of sweet mustard is practically required, if you’re keeping it legit. Enjoy along with a pretzel and a beer, and you’ve got yourself a classic German breakfast.
Spaetzle is one of Germany’s best comfort foods. It is made of chewy egg noodles and you’ll find it as either a main course, or as one of Germany’s many carb accompaniments to meat dishes. Alternatively, if you douse spaetzle in cheese sauce and top with crunchy fried onions you’ve got Käsespätzle, which is right up there with mac and cheese!
Say what? Schweinshaxe is pork knuckle, and one of the most quintessential foods in Bavaria. It is marinated for a few days and then roasted “low and slow.” The result is a crispy skin with a very tender meat, and it is often served with the famous, large potato dumplings (we’ll get to those in a sec). The knuckle is massive, and will usually arrive at your table with a knife sticking straight up out of it! This adds an almost comical, barbaric effect. But don’t be shy, roll up your sleeves and conquer your fears!
7. Bavarian Pretzel
This bite may seem obvious but it should not go without mentioning: Overlooking the pretzel while in Bavaria would be criminal. You’ll see them everywhere, and you can buy them plain, or enjoy with mustard, butter, or a ridiculously delicious cheese dip called obazda. A true Bavarian pretzel is chewy on the outside, soft on the inside. With its distinctive, twisted shape, this simple and cheap snack is one of the most delicious things to eat in Germany!
Kartoffelknodel is the wonderful, large potato dumpling we mentioned above, as being served along with schweinshaxe. This is a very common side that accompanies many different meat dishes. There are variations that may consist of cooked potatoes, raw potatoes, or a combination of both. Some versions call for filling the dumplings with croutons, sauerkraut, or ham. No matter which variation, this is an old fashioned comfort food that will surely please your taste buds and fill your belly.
A crispy and juicy roast chicken, Hendl is traditionally seasoned very simply with salt and sometimes parsley. Grilled to (magical) perfection, it is sold as a half or whole chicken. It is often doused with melted butter during the roasting process and can be found in most beer gardens throughout Germany, especially during Oktoberfest.
“Kuchen,” or cake, is one of the most popular of the dessert foods in Bavaria, but prinzregententorte is quite possibly the most magnificent of all. It is a Bavarian torte consisting of six or seven thin layers of sponge cake with chocolate buttercream between layers, and topped with apricot jam. The exterior is covered in a dark chocolate glaze. Need we say more???
Kaiserschmarrn, or “scrambled pancakes,” is an Austrian dessert that is also very popular in Bavaria. These sweet, fluffy pancakes are made with rum-soaked raisins and torn into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with apple sauce and preserves, they are absolutely addicting!
Schneeballen literally translates to “snowballs,” and if you want the real deal, you have to get them in Rothenburg. It’s a magnificent town on the Romantic Road that is most often associated with Christmas. Schneeballen are simply fried balls of dough strips that are coated in powdered sugar, chocolate, cinnamon sugar, or a number of other yummy sweets! Pretty much every bakery in town offers them, and there are even entire shops dedicated to the sweet treat.
It’s worth mentioning that you also can’t go wrong with sauerkraut and potato salad (Kartoffelsalat) as options. The Germans have perfected these seemingly basic side dishes. What have you tried and loved from this list? What would you add to it? Share your favorites in the comments below. Prosit!
If these delicious foods in Bavaria have made you hungry for more eats from around the world, click these links for a taste of Japan and Italy: