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July 2005

Life's a picnic

Treat yourself to an outdoor feast

A cheese sandwich in the park at lunchtime is the closest many of us get to a picnic. But with so many great delicatessens in Munich, it seems a shame not to set aside a few hours and prepare a true, luxurious outdoor feast, even if you end up going no further than your own backyard. Basket in hand, we took to the shops…

The first stop for any picnic shopper in Munich has to be the Viktualienmarkt. What started life as a farmers’ market at the beginning of the 19th century is now a true paradise for food lovers. Start by picking up a few unusual salad ingredients and crudités at Leos Obststandl, where fabulous displays of exotic and baby vegetables are a treat for the eye. With around 12 different varieties of tomato on offer in a number of reds, yellows and oranges, you could knock up a beautiful tomato salad. There’s a great choice of olives from around the world available just round the corner at Ludwig Freisinger. If you’re not sure of the subtle differences in flavor, don’t be afraid to ask if you can try before you buy! And don’t forget to pick up an Arabian flatbread for 50 cents with any other purchase.

Those who prefer to nibble on more pungent, German bread should head across the road to the Hofpfisterei Restbrot Laden, where loaves from the previous day are sold at discount prices of around € 1 per kilo. Make sure you get there in good time though—this is a popular place and the shop closes when everything’s been snapped up.

Why not spend the money you’ve saved on bread by splurging at the delicatessen of all delicatessens—Alois Dallmayr (Dienerstrasse 14–15)—a Munich institution for 300 years? While it may not be the cheapest place to shop, you can pick up some beautiful ready-made individual desserts for a couple of euros each—barely more than if you were to make them yourself.

Another renowned, yet slightly younger, culinary establishment is Feinkost Käfer (Prinzregentenstrasse 73). Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the delicatessen, catering and restaurant company began life as a wine and spirits shop on Amalienstrasse in Schwabing. How about a few slices of smoked salmon and some caviar to give your picnic that extra touch of class?

Another cult delicatessen is Gandl (St. Anna Platz 1). With its open fireplace, this gem of a find is stocked with all sorts of delicacies, including a good range of French cheeses, Italian meats and Belgian chocolate. How about a pot of trout mousse or venison terrine to spread on some crunchy fresh bread?

Outside the center of town, there are numerous small delicatessens laden with specialty foods. Those who love smoked meat and sausages shouldn’t miss Armins Räucherkuchl (Blutenburgstrasse 55). Reminiscent of a Tirolean wooden hut, in the midst of a Neuhausen residential area, this little deli specializes in smoked treats, be it ham, sausage or cheese. Sausages hang from the wooden beams and the shelves are packed with perfect picnic fodder.

There are more smoked goodies on offer at the Solnhofener Klosterbrot shop (Weissenburgerstrasse 8). While you’re there, pick up a loaf of the specialty bread, baked in a wood-fired oven at the Solnhofen Monastery, just south of Nuremberg.

Those with a sweet tooth shouldn’t forget to call at Götterspeise (Jahnstrasse 30). This cute little chocolaterie and café is the perfect place to pick up a few sugary nibbles, be they pumpkin seeds coated in orange chocolate, a packet of French mandarin biscuits or a few bars of specialty chocolate—the Dolfin dark chocolate with pink peppercorns is especially delicious.

Of course, no picnic would be complete without a delicate slice or two of cake. And while you could make your own, you’d be missing out on the delights available from Ruffini (Orffstrasse 22). The truffle cakes, which cost around € 8 a piece, are unbelievably moreish, even for those who don’t usually go in for the Kaffee und Kuchen thing. Trust me, the raspberry and white chocolate truffle number is enough to convert anyone!

While food is undoubtedly the most important ingredient in a perfect picnic, a few stylish accessories never go amiss. Abovo Home (Rumfordstrasse 8) has a great selection of plastic salad bowls with colored rims and some funky 1970s-style dip dishes. For pretty napkins, napkin rings and tablecloths, check out Kokon (Lenbachplatz 3 and Schellingstrasse 52). Milch und Honig (Belgradstrasse 4) has a good selection of other accessories, including thermos flasks, candles and chilled rucksacks, perfect for keeping your goodies fresh. Now all you need to do is sit back and wait for the sun to shine!

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