I regret making a crack about Bavarian food last night without putting it in context. One of the most spectacular things about Oktoberfest was the smell of the food—primarily the spit-roasted chickens for sheer olfactory pleasure, but with contributions from sausages, potatoes and other delights. In fact, I ate well all week.
Too well. I gained five pounds in the seven days I spent on the ground, and would have kept going had it not been for a mounting sense of bloat. Which is only natural, really. I don’t think that even the locals eat Bavarian cuisine all the time. It’s not possible. To see what I mean, here’s a rundown of some of the meals I had:
- Schweinshaxe (crackled pig’s leg): The first joint of a pig’s leg, grilled until the skin crackles; served with kraut and potatoes. The meat was exquisitely flavorful and unbelievably greasy.
- A dish of rahmschwammerl (meatballs) and button mushrooms with spätzle. The meatballs were airy but huge, and the sauce on the spätzle was deceptively deadly. I couldn’t finish the plate.
- Chunks of deer meat in a brown sauce with potatoes and a salad. This was one of the lighter meals.
- On Saturday the four of us went to the Nuernberger Bratwurst Gloeckl am Dom (an Augustiner restaurant, naturally) and ate a platter of 25 grilled bratwursts (which mercifully are small, about the size of a breakfast link), along with a few Münchner Stadwürste, on a bed of sauerkraut with horseradish and the most sublime warm potato salad I’ve ever eaten.
Add to that a beer or two—generally hefeweizen, dunkel, or the Oktoberfest wies’n beer—and the effect is total gastric paralysis. Not to be too graphic here, but when I got home it took a week of intensive fiber before I felt even close to normal.
But God, it was worth it. Oh those bratwurst! Oh that beer!