Munich's Viktualienmarkt

It’s not just the fascinating array of fruit, vegetables, olives, breads, cheeses, meats, pickles, and honey that make the 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 yards 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.

Market Etiquette

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 Fruitque has some of the freshest, most attractive-looking, and ripest produce on display, or try Frische Kräuter und Gewürze for the tastiest olives, peppers, garlic, and dips of all kinds. 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.

Schenk und Schmidt

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 frischgepresste Säfte" is a favorite because the drinks are top-notch and the staff are engaging, speak English, and take the time to explain the ingredients in each drink.

Lebkuchen

There is no better Lebkuchen, the ginger Christmas cookies that originated in Nürnberg, available in Munich than from Lebkuchen-Schmidt. This little corner store offers their authentic products in attractive tin boxes for any occasion.

A Wine Break

For a welcome respite from summer heat or a chilly winter wind, or even from the omnipresent offers of Bavarian beers, nip into Edle Pfälzer Weine, and stand around a table with friends for a glass of wine to help you decide which bottle to select for dinner later.

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