Tonight, a couple of our close friends invited us to a meet-up of the Kontakt Club: a German-American group that gets together for casual dinners, community service, and social events. It’s a good way for service members to meet residents of the local community, and vice versa.
We didn’t know what to expect (other than great German food) but it turned out to be a very enriching experience!
The restaurant we went to was in a little inn in Beratzhausen called Landgasthof Schnaus. It was adorable and cozy–the very thing I crave on a cold, cloudy October evening.
The menu had a variety of German staples, like Käsespätzle, Schnitzel, Schweinemedallions (pork medallions), and something called Pfannkuchensuppe. Pfannkuchen means pancake, and Suppe means soup. But, pancake soup? What kind of a weird thing is that? My American friend who invited me along ordered it and insisted that I try it.
It turned out to be delicious! The pancake is cut into thin strips and soaked in a salty, light, buttery broth. It’s a sweet yet savory soup with one of my favorite carbs as the main ingredient. I approve.
Our other American friend ordered the special of the night, which was venison in gravy, a roasted pear with cranberry puree, and Kartoffelkroketten–bite-sized mashed potato dumplings fried in a crispy batter. It doesn’t get any more German than that!
One of our new German friends informed us that most of the food served at Bavarian restaurants is distinctly Bavarian, but each restaurant puts their own signature twist on the dish to make it uniquely “theirs.” Therefore, if you order a Schnitzel at a restaurant in Beratzhausen, you shouldn’t expect the same Schnitzel you received in Hörmannsdorf, and so on. It’s one of the things I love most about small-town Germany: no chain restaurants. Nothing is worse than stopping in Small Town, USA and having to choose between McDonalds, Applebee’s or Bob Evans. NEXT.
When Lee and I were staying at the Schöll hotel, our favorite dish on the menu was a combination of pork medallions, vegetables, spätzle, cheese, and gravy cooked together (and served) in an iron skillet. At the Schnaus, we both ordered the Oberpfälzer Pfandl (Upper Palatinate Pan) because it sounded like a very similar dish.
It had the same ingredients, but the type of gravy and the cook of the meat were remarkably different. Both were fantastic dishes, and very popular in this region of Bavaria, but I can see now how different restaurants put their own spin on things. It just makes for a new adventure every time we eat out!
Our new friends had a lot of questions about American beer. I had a great time telling them about craft beer culture, and how there are so many young breweries striving to make the most groundbreaking off-the-wall beers. All the while, German brewers have been using the same recipe for hundreds of years and neither them nor their clientele feel the need to change things up! Don’t get me wrong… I love a good craft beer, but I also love tasting history.
I also love tiny little gourds.
(Seriously, I couldn’t handle the cuteness.)
I’m so glad we decided to go out tonight, instead of staying in and eating pre-made pizza from the Rewe. It always pays off to learn more about the culture around you!