One of the first things I do in a new location is track down the local food market, much to the dismay of the The Princess. Mr Grumpy finds markets interesting, but his interest wanes long before mine. If allowed, I will happily spend ages browsing the produce on offer. Usually I have to do the whistle stop tour to keep the other family members happy, but this was not the case with the Viktualienmarkt in Munich.
The Viktualienmarkt is Munich’s oldest food market, operating six days a week from a square adjacent to the city centre. It originally developed from a traditional farmers market and is now a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The market has over 140 stalls and shops (yes I did try to see them all) that sell such delights as cured meats, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, game, spices, fish, and bread and pastries.
Butchers, fishmongers and restaurants line the perimeters of the market, with a large Biergarten (beer garden) located in the centre. Here you can sit and enjoy the local beverages whilst watching the bustle of the market. You can buy yourself lunch from the surrounding stalls to eat with your beverage, or you can order food along with your beer. Tables set with a tablecloth are reserved for people buying food from the beer garden, so if you are purchasing food from the surrounding market make sure you sit at one of the other tables.
Personally I find that a local market gives you great insight into the food culture of the country in which you find yourself. We arrived in Germany at the height of spargel (asparagus) season. Mounds of thick white spears were common throughout the market, and restaurants offered special spargel menus to make the most of the seasonal produce. The thin green variety we favour in Australia were rarely seen.
The sheer variety of produce was breathtaking. Fantastic cheese from Germany, France and Italy, sensational cured German sausage (including some tiny dried sausage balls that we affectionately termed ‘sausage shots’) and wonderful kuchen (pastries). The mixed tortellini we bought for dinner, filled with walnut and Gorgonzola, black truffle and asparagus, oozed flavour and were divine with a simple butter sauce.
Most of stalls and shops are open Monday to Saturday from 8am but stalls begin closing around 6pm. The Biergarten opens at 9am, which may seem early but we saw a few people enjoying an early morning beverage. I have come across other reviews that suggest the produce and food available at the market is expensive. Those reviewers clearly do not live in Perth where the price of food is extortionate. I found the prices throughout the market very reasonable, even cheap, and the produce to be of exceptional quality.
The nearest public transport hub is Marienplatz, with the Viktualienmarkt an easy three minute walk from there. If you are in Munich, a walk through the Viktualienmarkt is not to be missed.