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It's not just the fascinating array of fruit, vegetables, olives, breads, cheeses, meats, pickles, and honey that make Viktualienmarkt (victuals market) so attractive. The towering maypole, small Wirtshäuser (pub-restaurants), and beer gardens also set the scene for a fascinating trek through Munich's most famous market.
The Viktualienmarkt's history can be traced to the early 19th century, when King Max I Joseph decreed that Marienplatz was too small to house the major city market. In 1807, a bigger version was created a few hundred meters to the south, where it stands today. You are just as likely to find a Münchner buying something here as you are a visitor. Indeed, a number of City Center restaurants proudly proclaim that they get their ingredients "fresh from the market." This is the place to pick up a Brotzeit: bread, olives, cheeses, gherkins, and whatever else strikes your fancy, then retreat to a favorite Biergarten to enjoy the bounty.
All stalls are open weekdays 10-6 and Saturday 10-3, though some stalls open earlier or close later. It's not kosher to touch the fresh produce but it is to ask to taste a few different olives or cheeses before buying. The quality of the various produce is invariably good; competition is fierce, so it has to be. Therefore, buy the best of what you fancy from a number of stalls, not just one or two.
Viktualienmarkt Best Buys
Beer and Prepared Food
If it's just a beer you're after, there are a number of beer stalls not far from the towering maypole. Biergarten am Viktualienmarkt is the main location, but there are also small Imbissstände (snack bars) where you can pick up roast pork and beer. Kleiner Ochsenbrater sells delicious organic roast dishes. Poseidon and the nearby Fisch Witte rustle up a fine selection of fish dishes, including very good soups and stews. Luigino's Bio Feinkost, an organic deli that also has fine cheeses and wines, is the spot for a quick grilled sandwich. And the modest-looking Münchner Suppenküche dishes out delightful helpings of soup, including oxtail, chicken, and spicy lentil.
Fruits and Vegetables
The mainstay of the market is fruit and vegetables, and there are a number of top-quality stalls to choose from. The centrally located Frutique has some of the freshest, most attractive-looking, and ripest produce on display. For something a little more exotic, try out Exoten Müller, which specializes in unusual fruits and vegetables from around the world.
Honighäusel am Münchner Viktualienmarkt
Honighäusel means "small honey house" and is an apt description of this petite honey wonderland. Much of the produce comes from Bavaria, but there's also a selection of honeys from farther afield: Italy, France, even New Zealand. This is also the place to buy honey marmalades and soaps, and beeswax candles. For a chilly evening, pick up a bottle of Bavarian honey schnapps.
Ludwig Freisinger's "Saure Ecke"
This is the place to create the perfect Biergarten Brotzeit (beer garden snack). Ask for a mixture of green and black olives with different fillings. You can also pick up the traditional biergarten cheese spread, Obatzter, which is made of Camembert and other white cheeses, butter, paprika, and onions. There's a huge selection of peppers filled with cheese, plus feta salad, hummus, and the enormous Essiggurke (gherkins). The best are crunchy when you bite into them but tender inside, with a light tanginess. A Fladenbrot, a circular, flat white bread, is enough for two people, and the perfect accompaniment.
There are numerous stalls at the market that serve mouthwatering, freshly pressed fruit drinks, so no matter where you buy, you won't be disappointed. Schenk's is a favorite because the drinks are top-notch and the staff is engaging, speaks English, and takes the time to explain the ingredients in each drink.
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