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COOKING

Eat like a Bavarian: How to cook a five course meal of southern goodness

Beer gardens and restaurants Bavaria (and the rest of the Bundesrepublik) may be closed for sit-in dining, but here's how you can cook traditional comfort food to enjoy in your own home.

Eat like a Bavarian: How to cook a five course meal of southern goodness
A traditional Bavarian-style 'Brotzeitplatte'. Photo: DPA

Recreate Biergarten comfort

If you live in Bavaria, or have ever spent a holiday there, you know the drill: a sunny day = time to go to der Biergarten.

One of the many things that make Biergarten just so fun is die Brotzeitplatte, a big plate of typically Bavarian appetizers, like Obazder and thinly sliced Emmentaler cheese. Usually shared with friends or family, and accompanied by a cool Bier (beer) or Radler (beer with lemonade).

Good news is: Preparing a plate like that is quite easy and you don’t even need to turn on the oven. Just go to the market of you choice and get some: 

  • Thinly-sliced Emmentaler cheese, topped with some ground black pepper. 
  • Pickled cucumbers 
  • Some thinly-sliced ham. The best option is to buy Wacholderschinken from your local butcher. (Trust me, it’s so much tastier than normal supermarket ham)
  • Some nice Wurst (sausage), like Leberwurst (liver sausage) or Blutwurst (black pudding)
  • Thinly sliced Radi (white reddish), traditionally sliced in a spiral form with a special peeler. If you don’t own one, don’t worry, thin slices will do. 
  • Brezen (Pretzels) — because it wouldn’t be Bavarian without them 
  • Obazder, store-bought or homemade, whichever you prefer. If you would like to make some yourself, here’s a quick and proven recipe: 100g Camembert, 100g Brie, 100g cream cheese, 25g butter, a small diced onion, red pepper powder, a sip of beer, cut parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything well and take out of the fridge 30 minutes before mealtime!
Typically Bavarian ‘Brezen’ at a bakery in Munich. Photo: DPA

Nothing like a good soup

A hearty good Brühe (broth) used to be the pride of every Bavarian housewife (or house-husband). Usually boiled for hours and made from fresh meat, bones and vegetables, broth has become a convenience product. (Think little cubes of dried broth!)

Thankfully, today most bigger stores like REWE also sell liquid broth in glasses or cans. It is much more hearty than the dried version, and even German grandparents would probably approve. 

So to make a delicious Bavarian Hochzeitssuppe (“wedding soup“, but actually a soup for all occasions) you only need:

  • A big glass of broth (preferably vegetable or beef)
  • Griessnockerl: Ready-made ones are available at bigger supermarkets, but making them yourself if actually pretty easy. You just need one egg, 20g butter, 60g Gries (semolina), finely cut chives, muscat and pepper to taste. Beat the butter until it becomes yellow and fluffy, mix in the egg and beat again until the mixture gets foamy. Then stir in semolina and spices and leave to rest for about one hour. Then, with the help of two spoons, create little oval dumplings and directly slip them into the simmering broth. 
  • Dried pancake strips: Yes, you read that right. Leftover pancakes from your last brunch? Just place them in the oven on a big plate, let them dry until they’re crunchy and store in an airtight container. Whenever you feel like Flädlesuppe (broth with pancake strips) just heat some broth and throw them in. 
  • Some finely diced veggies to taste, like carrots or parsnips
  • Chives and parsley as a topping

Heat everything together and done!

A veggie-friendly allrounder: Käsespätzle (Cheesy pasta)

This dish really is an all time classic, not just in Bavaria, but also in Baden-Württemberg, Austria and even in the Alsace in France.

It is very easy to make, especially if you just buy your Spätzle. One might think that the combination of pasta and cheese really can’t be that special, but wait! The secret is in the cheese!

        Traditional Käsespätzle. Photo: DPA

Choosing the right mix of cheese for Käsespätzle is crucial. Depending on region, the recipe might vary a bit, but the general secret is: a mix of mild (preferably Emmentaler) and savory (preferably Bergkäse) cheese. And: lots of fried onions and parsley to top it with. 

The recipe is incredibly easy: Heat some oil and butter, throw in your cut onions, stir-fry and set aside. If you like it crunchy, sprinkle them with some flour before frying. Then, put the Spätzle in the same pan, heat and stir well. Then add your cheese mix, and again, stir well until the cheese has melted. Top it of with your onions and some fresh cut parsley and you’re ready to go!

READ ALSO: The 10 heartiest German dishes to get you through winter

There’s nothing like a heavenly creamy dessert

A bit lesser known than Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancakes), but a creamy piece of heaven: Bayrisch Creme (Bavarian cream).

This recipe is a bit longer, but still easy. 

 
 
 
 
 
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All you need is: 

  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 300 ml full fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon (or as advised on packaging) Agar-Agar (a vegetarian replacement for gelatin) 
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 250 ml cream 

Cut open your vanilla beans, scratch out all that black goodness and put it in the milk. Heat the mixture until it begins to boil. Then, pull the pot off the plate. Get a second pot, put in your egg yolks and sift in your powdered sugar. Then get a third pot (sorry, but it really is worth it!), and heat some water.

Place the second pot in the third pot, but don’t let any water run into your egg yolk mix. Slowly, under constant stirring, add the milk-mix. Then, take a whisk and beat the mixture until foamy. Take the pot of the plate, and let it cool down. Then beat the liquid cream until it’s stiff and mix it with rest. Put it into the fridge for a couple of hours until the mixture is quite firm. 

Bayrisch Creme is best served with seasonal fruits or fruit sauce.

Late night snack: A Bavarian cheese platter

It’s one of those nights, where you’re just having too much fun around the table to go home. Thankfully, there’s an excellent way to satisfy late night savoury cravings: a Bavarian cheese platter. You need:

  • Any local cheese you like, for example: Emmentaler, Bergkäse, Bavaria Blu, Alpenkräuterkäse, Tilsiter, …
  • Some cream cheese
  • Butter 
  • Blue and white grapes
  • Brezen

Enjoy! Or as the Bavarians say: Guad’n.

By Lisa Schneider

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BAVARIA

Bar closures and no Christmas markets: How Bavaria is tightening Covid rules

Bavaria will order the closure of all bars and clubs as part of sweeping new restrictions to try and control the Covid spread and ease overrun hospitals. Here's a look at what's planned.

Closed Christmas market stalls in Munich.
Closed Christmas market stalls in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

On Friday Bavarian state leader Markus Söder announced more tough restrictions to deal with spiralling Covid infections and packed intensive care units.

“The corona drama continues,” said Söder after the cabinet meeting, adding that 90 percent of Covid patients in state hospitals are unvaccinated. “Being unvaccinated is a real risk.”

Bavaria has a vaccination rate of 65.9 percent – lower than the nationwide rate of almost 68 percent.

READ ALSO: Bavaria cancels all Christmas markets in Covid surge

Söder said the state’s Covid package was about “blocking, braking and boosting”, adding that vaccination centres will be ramped up. 

“We must act,” he said. “Bavaria is exhausting almost all legal means until December 15th.”

Earlier this week, Bavaria introduced a state-wide 2G rule, meaning only vaccinated people (geimpft) and people who’ve recovered from Covid (genesen) can enter many public spaces. People who are eligible to get vaccinated but choose not to get it are excluded. 

Here’s an overview of the planned restrictions set to come in on Wednesday, as reported by local broadcaster BR24. 

Bars, clubs and restaurant curfew

From Wednesday, and for three weeks, all nightlife like clubs, discos, bars, pubs and brothels in Bavaria are set to close their doors. Restaurants will have to shut at 10pm. So planned Christmas nights out will likely need to be cancelled or postponed. 

Christmas markets

There will be no Christmas or Christkindl markets in Bavaria this year. In the past days, several cities had announced that they would not be holding these events this year due to the Covid situation. 

Contact restrictions on the unvaccinated

Söder announced new restrictions on the number of people those who are not inoculated can socialise with. A maximum of five unvaccinated people will be allowed to meet, from two different households. Children under 12 will not be included in the total, as well as vaccinated or people who’ve recovered from Covid.

Cultural and sporting events

All cultural and sporting events can only take place with significantly reduced spectators. At theatres, opera performances, sporting events, in leisure centres and at trade fairs, there will be a 25-percent capacity limit. The 2G plus rule also applies. This means that only vaccinated and recovered people are allowed to enter (not the unvaccinated) – and only with a negative rapid test. Masks are compulsory everywhere.

Universities, driving schools, close-body services: 2G plus

All universities, driving schools, adult education centres and music schools will only be open to those who have been vaccinated and have recovered – making it 2G. This rule also applies to body-related services, like hairdressers and beauty salons. Only medical, therapeutic and nursing services are exempt from the 2G rule. So unvaccinated people can still go to the doctor or receive a medical procedure. 

KEY POINTS: Germany finalises new Covid restrictions for winter

Shops

Shops remain exempt from 2G rules, meaning unvaccinated people can visit them. However, there is to be limits on capacity. This means that fewer customers are allowed into a shop at the same time.

Special rules for hotspots

Currently, the incidence in eight Bavarian districts is above 1,000 infections per 100,000 people in seven days. Here and in all other regions where the incidence goes above this number, public life is to be shut down as far as possible.

This means that restaurants, hotels and all sports and cultural venues will have to close. Hairdressers and other body-related service providers will also not be allowed to open for three weeks, and events will also have to be cancelled. Universities will only be allowed to offer digital teaching. Shops will remain open, but there must be 20 square metres of space per customer. This means that only half as many customers as in other regions are allowed in a shop.

If the incidence falls below 1,000 for at least five days, the rules are lifted.

Schools and daycare

Throughout Bavaria, schools and daycare centres are to remain open. However, there will be regular Covid testing. Children and young people have to continue to wear a face mask during lessons, including school sports, unless they are exercising outside. 

Bavaria is expected to approve the measures on Tuesday and they will be in force until at least December 15th. We’ll keep you updated if there are any changes. 

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