Food and drink

Bayerische Brotzeit
Bavarian "Brotzeit" (Credit: Bayern Tourismus Marketing GmbH)

Bavarian Bites and Delights

Whatever your favourite cuisine, you will find it in Bavaria. There are many international restaurants, particularly in larger towns, which cater for all tastes and preferences. Chinese, Greek, Turkish and Italian restaurants are particularly popular, and there are usually plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans.

Traditional Bavarian food is generally hearty and very filling, with many meat and potato-based dishes. However, many chefs are now experimenting with new creations, making their menus healthier and lighter or fusing traditional ingredients with international influences. It is definitely worth visiting a Bavarian restaurant and trying some of the traditional specialities while you are here. Here are some of the most famous ones.

Sausages

Sausages are not just sausages! You can sample many different types in every Bavarian region. “Bratwurst”, a grilled sausage, is popular all over Bavaria. “Weisswurst”, a white sausage made from veal, is a unique Bavarian speciality. You may want to try eating it the traditional way, by sucking the meat out from the skin.

Sausages are generally served with sweet mustard, often accompanied by a side dish of potato salad or Sauerkraut, a kind of pickled cabbage, or by a pretzel (“Brezn”).

Meat and fish

Restaurants in Bavaria offer many different types of meat dishes, including beef, chicken, turkey and lamb. On traditional menus pork dishes feature prominently, such as “Schweinshaxe” (pork knuckle) or “Schweinebraten” (pork roast). Many restaurants and takeaways also sell “Leberkäse”, a type of meatloaf. Roast chicken (“Hendl”) and meatballs (“Fleischpflanzerl”) are immensely popular. At Oktoberfest and in traditional beer gardens you will see “Steckerlfisch”, rows of mackerel grilled on large skewers.

Vegetarian options

An excellent Bavarian dish for vegetarians is “Kässpätzle”, a type of pasta baked with cheese and onion. There are also many different types of “Knödel”, dumplings made from bread or potato. Wild mushrooms are used in many dishes in late summer and early autumn. In spring white asparagus is in season, which is served with new potatoes. Mountain cheese from the Alps is also a speciality.

Sweets and desserts

If you have a sweet tooth, you should definitely try hot slices of “Apfelstrudel” (apple strudel), “Kaiserschmarrn” (pancake) and “Dampfnudeln” (sweet dumplings) in custard while you are here. Around Christmas time “Lebkuchen”, spicy gingerbread cakes, and “Früchtebrot”, dried fruit cake, are a particular delicacy. Many of these sweet dishes are so substantial that they are also eaten as main courses.

Drinks

Beer-brewing has a long tradition in Bavaria. There are many different types you can sample. The main ones are “Weißbier”, a beer made with wheat instead of barley malt, “Dunkles”, a dark lager, and “Helles”, a pale lager with a slightly sweet taste. Many of these beers are also available in light or alcohol-free versions.

There is a wine-growing region in Franconia in and around Würzburg, which produces some excellent white wines. In winter, “Glühwein” (mulled wine), a sweet and spicy hot red wine, is sold at Christmas markets.

If you prefer soft drinks, you will be able to order many different kinds of juices and lemonades in every restaurant. Water is usually carbonated, so ask specifically for still water if that is what you prefer. Coffee is another very popular drink, and there are many different varieties on offer, both in trendy coffee bars and traditional cafés.