It does not matter if you are heading for a cozy walk in Munich, or you just want to have a quick fresh pressed juice or grab a Breze (the local abbreviation for a pretzel) in your lunch break. The Viktualienmarkt, in the heart of the city center in Munich, is a daily food market, a famous gourmet-place, and at the same great snack-shopping opportunity. It is THE square for window-shopping, eating, getting together, discovering local products but also exotic imported ingredients from all over the world. There are stands loaded with cheeses from simply all around Europe next to abundant vegetable, fruit and spice displays; the baked goods smell tickles your nose when you pass by, the honey house is welcoming guests close to the several wine stands; and of course there is an open-air Biergarten together with tons of other stands with hidden and less known gems to be discovered.
It is for sure one of my favorite places in the Bavarian capital. Why? The answer is easy: it is colorful and surprising, diverse and delicious, traditional and educative! The market is like a six-day-a-week-open food-expo from around the world and Bavaria. The fresh and seasonal produce is displayed next to the rare and imported goods in a very inviting way (watch out some stands are way too expensive), but its a must see for every foodie visiting Munich!
My insider tip will be to first put your comfy shoes on and then … to climb up the church ‘Alter Peter’ (some 10 floors, no lift available, so breath long and deep and go slowly). From above you may enjoy the most breathtaking view of the Munich center. And of course you will be blessed with the bird-eye-view of the Viktualienmarkt. The word ‘Viktualien’ (Latin for foodstuffs) describes very well what is being offered here. Currently some 140 stalls and shops are offering flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, venison and fowl, eggs, butter, honey, fish, meat, sausages, herbs, spices, delicatessens, wine, and tea. They are assembled on an area covering 22,000 square metres (the size of seven football fields together). The current location was chosen in 1807 when the food market had grown too big for the square Marienplatz. Through the years several halls were added (like the famous Schrannenhalle, which reopened in 2005). After WW2 the market was further enriched with memorial wells for folksingers and comedians.
Not to miss is the Maibaum (may pole), the tall mast supervises the halls and is a real eye-catcher on sunny days. I have to confess that I have several favorite stops when I am at the Viktualienmarkt. Personally I start my visit with a veggie juice (the so called vitamin-bomb of apple-carrot-beetroot-ginger) or a pomegranate with pineapple (I switch to hot apple juice with elderberries and chili in winter though). Then I grab spelt bread or cookies at the local Bavarian cooperative Lebe-Gesund before deciding if I will go for a Thai, Italian or seafood lunch. The sky is the limit and of course… your taste(buds)!