[TRAVELOGUE] GERMANY & ITALY… MEAT ME THERE!

München Germany

I never miss a chance to dig into an authentic Schweinshaxe (Roast Pork Kuckles) in München at the one and only Haxnbauer. For years we’ve been coming here. This visit, its looking a little more touristy (judging by the patrons) but that’s just about all that’s different.

The signature roasting knuckles at the window still look mesmerizing and taste as terrific as they did before.

The perfect skin crackles at every stab of the knife! While the lean succulent meat falls apart effortlessly. Frankly, the crackling is really what I’m here for. And I always plead to the server in my sweetest Deutsch to bring me one with lots of skin!! Haven’t yet received one that’s not satisfied me! Sure there are dozens of places that serve this famous dish.. but I’d always come back to Haxnbauer for its central location and consistency and conveniently, a little shopping in the city thereafter (to burn off the extra calories!)

Of course the fresh brezels are an irresistible must!
Wash it all down with their local beer.
The beautiful crackling in a beautiful jus and a bouncy, spongy potato dumpling!
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Be greeted by Haxnbauer’s mouth watering window dressing.

Haxnbauer im Scholastikahaus @ Sparkassenstraße 680331 München. Phone +49 89 2166450


Ingolstadt Germany

50 minutes drive from Munich sits a beautiful small town called Ingolstadt. I lived here for 2 years and now I’m back in search of the the town’s best and oldest restaurants that I knew! My must-go Weissbräuhaus zum Herrnbräu is where we’d head for our regular Sunday breakfasts. This restaurant’s been here for ages and serves up the most authentic Bavarian cuisine. But there is only one (ok, two!) things we’re here for.

The Weißwurst (white sausages) and Obatdza (mashed cheese). I swear they have ‘em freshest here!

Weißwursts are fat white sausages made from veal and pork back bacon with subtle flavors of herbs and spices. The sausages, that are simply boiled and served in porcelain  pot of hot water, have got a soft texture; eating it with some sweet mustard really brings out the flavor. The thin skin encasement is totally edible though some folks (myself included) opt not to. Obatdza is a mashed up soft cheese consisting of aged Brie, cream cheese, butter and some spices. I spread this on bread and top with some sliced onions which helps balance the flavor and texture. It is creamy and lumpy at the same time and has a strong acquired smell and taste not many would take to immediately! But give it a second chance and you might learn to appreciate its uniqueness, I promise!

Walk in to what seems like Germany 60 years back! The restaurant is as old fashioned Bavarian as it can get!

Clockwise from top left: The menu; Euros5.20 for a pair of Weisswursts; Creamy Obatdza…best eaten with raw onions; fresh brezel; my happy meal; Weißbier Leicht is a light white beer typical in Bavaria.

Weißbräuhaus zum Herrnbräu @ Dollstraße 3, D85049 Ingolstadt. Phone +49 0841 32890


Nürnberg Germany

About an hour and a half hour’s drive away from Ingolstadt is where my favorite Christmas market is located. Well, also where the super yummy Nürnberger Rostbratwursts are! As you walk into the main square of the old town, there’s an equally historical restaurant that serves up some really basic but awesome Nürnberger classics. It is never not crowded here at Bratwursthäusle. The cramped smokey restaurant packs in a good number of hungry locals and foreigners everyday. An open grill sits right smack in the middle of the room. Anywhere you turn, you’ll be rewarded with whiffs of freshly wood-fire-grilled bratwursts! Nürnberger Rostbratwurst are relatively skinny and short (barely 4 inches long). Despite their size, they pack a powerhouse flavor of coarsely ground lean pork, and a choke full of spices. They are grilled brown and crisp and are super delicious in a Weckla (3 Im Weckla, a popular street snack meaning 3 bratwursts in a bun!) or with sauerkraut and potato salad. The menu is small, so order as much as you can handle cuz they are all good!

Pretty much everything on the menu is on my table! Clockwise from top left: Ox heart; Ox Tongue; Potato salad; Bratwursts with Sauerkraut.
The cured ox tongues are thickly sliced and quick boiled to retain its natural flavor and tenderness.
Ox Heart… cured and served in a metal pot of hot water. Super tender!
All the fresh brezel and rolls to go with the sausages!

Bratwursthäusle @ Werner Behringer GmbH, Rathausplatz 1, 90403 Nürnberg. Phone +49 911 227695


Parma Italy

5 hours drive and we’re in Parma. Wikipedia describes Parma as “a city famous for its prosciutto, cheese, architecture, music and surrounding countryside”. But we all know I am only here for 2 of those mentioned! Take one of the many food tours available and like me, you will depart, a very happy trooper! We started the morning at Latteria Sociale La Nuova, a small Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory.

Watch how Parmigiano cheese is made and aged, plus learn the stringent process these cheese makers go through to achieve the priceless PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) certification. You learn about the aging procedure, the grading, the different textures and tastes; but the best part is when you get to try them all (then bring some home👏🏼👏🏼)!

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The young cheese-maker brothers that oversee the family’s 50-year old business.
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They call this the cheese room. I call it paradise!
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Momma runs the retail shop in front of the factory. Time for tasting!

The tour continued to the little front porch of Mazzoni Enrico, another small family owned factory, this time, producing Prosciutto and other cured meats.Prosciutto

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Culatello
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Salami

I’ve never been more excited walking into a room of moldy limbs but there I was, standing in the midst of the cold salty roomful of hog parts, just soaking it all in!

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Tasting in progress!

This city of Cuisine’s pride wine is the Lambrusco. It’s light, bubbly character is an ideal accompaniment, as kind of a palate cleanser (so you could eat more of that oily cured meat, I suppose!!).

Trotter is a casual restaurant located within a horse racing/ training track.

At lunch over at TROTTER’S, after a litre too much, plus a scrumptious spread of meats and cheeses, I kinda get what they mean. Lambrusco is truly the cheerleader of Prosciutto and Parmigiana and Tiramisu!!!

House Lambrusco
Fried Polenta Fingers
A typical fried flatbread of Reggio Emilia
Can’t possibly lunch without these gorgeous cold meats!
It looked like they paid absolutely no attention and love to this casually plated Tiramisu…. but boy was I wrong!
Lunch was a variety of everything from breads to cheeses to meats to dips to veggies!

Ristorante Trotter @ SP28,43022 Montechiarugolo PR Italy. Phone +39 348 2255955

At the Balsamic house, Acetaia Picci, we were treated to a tour of their factory and aging rooms where barrels of balsamic sit quietly for years.

The Balsamic barrels sit…. and wait….
Some Balsamics are so precious, they sit locked away in this private cellar. That’s a lock from Alcatraz, I was told!
A little taste of the Gold label Balsamic with some home made custard. Mmm..mmm..mmm…!

I wasn’t planning to spend too much on balsamic but things don’t always go the way you plan. A tiny bottle of 20-year-old aged balsamic came home with us!


Verona

Merely the first half of my trip and I could barely hold in the ponch! I was sooooo glad to be able to squeeze in some skiing thereafter… so I don’t feel too guilty for eating some more! En route to the Dolomites ski resort, we detoured to one of our favorite restaurants just outside of Verona. HOSTERIA LA CORTE sat in the same spot as we had first discovered it on a road trip 15 years ago. It is as bustling and vibrant as before. And the food, despite a brand new menu, was as fantastic as I remember! No regrets making the detour and will do it again in a heartbeat!

The cozy restaurant screams Italian tavern. Brick walls, ceiling and ovens! Not a single tourist insight (except us!), so don’t be expecting an English menu!

Clockwise from top left: A wide range of wines to pick from; all the fresh hot rolls you need; terrific Calamari that’d feed 3!; classic Aglio Olio; and an awesome Buratta and meat platter!

Hosteria La Corte @ Cà di Capri 98- 37012 Bussolengo Phone +39 045 6702590


Dolomites Italy

In Dolomites, one restaurant in particular left a deep impression. El Pael, in the heart of Canazei, comes highly recommended. With the Champion Wine Sommelier as owner, you can imagine its wide range of fine wines. Our friendly server recommended the house favorites.

Bellaveder, a smooth robust wine that complimented every dish.

img_3461Melt-in-the-mouth Beef Cheeks came drowned in the jus it braised in. We wiped every last drop of that rich, flavorful gravy down! Thank you for swapping the spicy salami for a non spicy one upon request on the El Pael Pizza. Nice thin crispy crust and generous quality ingredients. I ate more than I usually would. That was one good pizza! The restaurant has an elegant vibe without the stiffness. And owner Roberto Anesi, is anything but sniffy! The statuesque man was friendly and chatty. We spent a good half hour learning about wines! What a delightful afternoon!

An elegant, unpretentious facade. I’ll bet there’s really great al fresco dining in summer.

Left: With Roberto Anesi himself. Right: Winner of Best Sommelier Italy 2017.

El Pael @ Via Roma, 58, 38032 Canazei (TN) Phone +39 0462 601433

So there you go, some places that will always occupy a special spot in my heart. I do see myself returning every chance I get. I pray they never ever close!

Disclaimer- This is not a sponsored post.

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