So you think roast pork is the only thing southern Germans can cook? Think again! Three Bavarian chefs tell us their favourite vegetarian dishes – and how to prepare them.

The chef: Florian Lechner, Nockherberg, before Moarwirt Restaurant

His favourite dish: Latschenkiefer-Topfenknödel (pine and curd dumplings)

Florian suggests: “There’s a lot of trash talking about dumplings these days. Some people say they’re too dry, others complain they don’t taste of anything. All nonsense! As with so many things, the preparation must be perfect. For instance, the base shouldn’t be made from old bread rolls, but fresh white bread. Toast about half of the crumbs first, for nice, crisp dumplings. And don’t beat your eggs in advance; just fold them straight in. This makes the dumplings lovely and airy, and ready to absorb any sauce. My favourite at the moment is Latschenkiefer-Topfenknödel (pine and curd dumplings). To make them yourself, finely chop pine needles – or needles from any other Bavarian fir tree – and mix them with butter until the whole thing is light green; then strain the whole mixture to “deneedle” it. Mix plain butter together with bread and Bavarian curd cheese (quark), and shape into dumplings. Boil them and then roll them back through the pine butter, before garnishing with parsley, lovage and parmesan butter. It tastes so good – like a walk through Bavarian forests feels.”

The adress: Bio-Landhotel Moarwirt, Sonnenlängstrasse 26, 83623 Hechenberg/Dietramszell (south of Munich)

The chef: Frank Tautenhahn, Wirtshaus zum Schweinsbräu    

His favourite dish: Münchner Rote-Bete-Schnitzel (Munich beetroot schnitzel)

Frank suggests: “To be honest, vegetarian food in Bavaria is tricky, especially if you want something refined. Of course, there are great recipes like Obatzda (a spicy mixed cheese dish) and cabbage salads, but modern main courses are hard to find. That’s why I prefer to create my own, putting my own spin on classic meat-based dishes. Take the Munich Schnitzel, for instance: a local speciality using mustard and horseradish. My variation replaces the veal with pickled beetroot in a sweet and sour brine. My tip for the coating: Add cream to the egg. Don’t try to press the breadcrumbs on, just pull the beetroot through them to make sure the coating stays nice and light later on. I serve this dish with pearl barley, which I prepare with freshly grated horseradish. If you’re lucky, you can even harvest the second side dish yourself: keep your eyes peeled for watercress growing near waterways if you visit the countryside – it tastes best when it’s absolutely fresh, and with just a little bit of grape seed oil.”

The address: Herrmannsdorfer Wirtshaus zum Schweinsbräu, Herrmannsdorf 7, 85625 Glonn (south-east of Munich)

The chef: Schorsch Weber, Gasthaus Jennerwein

His favourite dish: Ziegenkäsestrudel (goats’ cheese strudel)

Schorsch suggests: “When I was little, my grandmother would make an apple strudel every time she came to visit. It always tasted amazing but the time came when we fancied trying something different. We asked if she could make something savoury, and she baked us this goats’ cheese strudel with Bavarian mountain lentils. I fell in love with its creamy yet crispy consistency straight away, and when I finished my training, I continued to refine this dish. For instance, it also tastes great with damsons poached in red wine. At Jennerwein, we tend to include this dish on our winter menu. My grandma made the pastry herself, but the ready-made stuff you can buy in Reformhaus [a vegetarian supermarket chain] does a good job too. Roll out the pastry, brush it with egg, crumble goats’ cheese over the top and add a little rosemary and thyme. Roll it up, brush it with egg again, and put it in the oven. The lentils go really well with balsamic vinegar.”

The adress: Gasthaus Jennerwein, Münchner Strasse 127, 83703 Gmund/Dürnbach am Tegernsee (south of Munich)

 

 

Text: Nansen & Piccard; Photos: Frank Stolle