Throughout Europe, the march of progress and rise in property prices has pushed many city-center produce markets to outlying districts. This makes Munich’s Viktualienmarkt all the more special. Right in the heart of the Bavarian capital, it’s been offering a huge range of edibles for about as long as Oktoberfest has been offering drinkables (that is, about 200 years). It derives its name from the word “victus”, Latin for food.
As befits its prestigious location, the Viktualienmarkt offers products towards the gourmet end of the spectrum, with prices to match. As well as an unbeatable range of fruit and vegetables, both seasonal local varieties and exotic imports, there are specialty stands selling everything from gherkins (pickles) to honey (of which the Honghäus’l has some 60 varieties). Choose from a gargantuan variety of cheeses and get wines to match, or take a turn for the wurst. The more adventurous carnivores may want to sample the wares at the Pferdemetzgerei, where you’ll find (look away now, equestrians) horse meat.
What makes the Viktualienmarkt especially popular is that you can eat at numerous stalls like the Münchner Suppenküche (Munich soup kitchen), so even if you’re not in the market for produce you can still get a taste of authentic Munich. Locals often meet at the Maibaum, a pillar dressed in Bavaria’s livery of blue and white, which also marks the entrance to the Viktualienmarkt beer garden. Here you can dine on your purchases or see what’s on the menu, all washed down with a fine Bavarian brew in one of central Munich’s most civilized spots.