There is no denying, I am a big fan of sleeping under 5 Stars. I lurve me some Egyptian cotton sheets. I adore turn down service. Big fluffy white towels, yes sir, can I please have some more? Concierge…maid service…car service… you get the picture. Where Fancy Schmancy hotels fall down (for me) is in the ‘eating’ department. Being blessed with the opportunity to stay in some of the best and brightest hotels in the world, has given me the chance to sample a whole range of Room Service. I am yet to meet a Club Sandwich that was not a sad and scary specimen. Cold toast, bacon like leather, dry tasteless chicken… mayo out of a bottle. They never get it right. And so it is that I might like to lay my sleepy head upon a feather pillow, but I prefer to eat on the streets.
Germany, is the exception to that rule. Even during periods like Christmas markets and Summer Festivals, German Street Food has a long way to go.
Take last weekend, local One-Horse-Town held its annual Kirmes (Carnival). It is considered poor manners NOT to attend. We decided to wander up around the lunch time mark. In the words of Julia Roberts…”big mistake…huge!”
Here is what you can expect. Believe me when I say I can hear your arteries clogging just when you look at the photos:
In the middle we have a fine selection of overpriced nasty sweeties. Made all the more attractive when they are packaged in the form of a baby’s bottle. Sugar-coated peanuts are also big sale items. There is no way to know if they are the same ones you ‘didn’t’ buy last year. And just in case you manage to convince your child that Sugar-Is-The-Devil, they get you with a 4Euro Pinwheel, guaranteed to fall apart within 7.5 minutes.
But if it is good old fashioned nostalgia you are after, the centre of the stand is for you. A traditional Lebkuchen Herz will last forever. I am sure of this, because most of them were made in 1973. Miss Nine insisted on one last year that ended up in a drawer, discovered recently – still in the same condition (could be the forerunner to the Everlasting McDonalds Burger).
“But I am really hungry and want to EAT something.” I hear you, and present you with the Crepe Stall. Not sure I have ever seen anyone eat anything from this odd little box, but painting it to look like a traditional German Fachwerk Haus is sure to inspire confidence. Oh, not to mention the red/blue/white ‘French’ flashing lights. Moulin Rouge, watch out!
I can hear your tummy rumbling… let’s move on, shall we? Next stop, Fresh & Delicious – A Specialty – no less. Here you are treated to a piece of fish (of unknown origin) dipped in a layer of batter about 2 inches thick, deep fried and served on a tasteless white bread roll. You may pay extra for Tartare Sauce. Don’t make the mistake of ordering a Scampispiess like I did once. For your 5Euro, you will end up with 3 (I counted them) small prawns dipped in so much batter that it is difficult to find them, stuck on a skewer and deep friend. A gourmet touch of Garlic Mayo should finish you off…
Right about now you will have worked up a little thirst? Thought so. The busiest stall at any Fest/Kirmes will always be the bar. Here you can have your choice of beer…….hmmm… Ummm… beer or beer. Oh, hang on, you can also have beer.
And while you are drinking your beer (did I mention you could have a beer?), you can contemplate whether you will wander over for a Bratwurst, a mere 2Euro, an Onion-Steak at 3.50 or lash out on a CurryWurst for 2.50. Gently and expertly prepared for you on a hanging grill, served in yet another dry white bread roll, dripping with mustard and tomato sauce.
We mustn’t forget our vegetarian friends. They too, are well catered for. A good dose of grated carbohydrate deep fried in oil and smothered in pureed apple sauce. Now doesn’t that sound grand! Reibekuchen can be delicious… I personally only like them once a year, purchased from a certain stall, at a certain Christmas Market – when it is freezing cold. One of the issues with this style of food is the smell that clings to your clothes for days. I suppose some would consider that an added value?