Schupfnudeln in Reit im Winkl

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Have you ever stood in a place and longed for a specific food? Or ate a particular dish and conjured up certain places, times, atmospheres? Well, if you have, then you might begin to understand me when I say that eating Schupfnudeln and Sauerkraut in Bavaria changed my entire future. I have had many such experiences with food; falafel will always remind me of one particular street in Paris where the world’s best falafel (in my opinion) is sold from a small cart, moussaka transports me back to a beachside table in a small town in Corfu, and dark chocolate sorbet takes me all over Europe. Yet, for me, it is the simple dish of Schupfnudeln and sauerkraut (accompanied by a Radler of course) which strongly stands out amongst all of the other memorable dishes.

What is this dish, I hear you ask? Schupfnudeln are thick noodles, often hand-shaped, made from rye or wheat flour and sometimes made out of potatoes. In the early 1600s (during the Thirty Years’ War) soldiers made them with water out of their flour rations and then cooked them. It is thought that this sparked their popularity in Germany. Schupfnudeln are often served with sauerkraut (fermented raw cabbage) and the savoury and salty sourness go perfect together. Pair it with a radler (a citrus juice and beer mix), and a classic Bavarian meal is served. The first time I ate this dish, it was after five days of motorbike touring through Europe with my grandfather. We had spent the previous nights looking desperately for some where to stay, with no internet access or working mobile phones to aid us, just hoping to make it Reit im Winkl (an idyllic Bavarian town near Chiemsee where my grandad had previously stayed before and was yearning to take me). That day we rode over 500 miles without any rest. It is safe to say that when we arrived we were sore, stiff and ready to bask in any available comfort.

The savoury and salty sourness go perfect together

So, after checking in to a postcard-worthy Gasthaus (guest house) and changing out of our motorbike leathers into clean clothes we could enjoy the sun in, we trekked across the valley of Reit im Winkl in search for a restaurant that my grandparents had happened upon decades ago on their first trip to Reit im Winkl. When we finally found it, I ordered the only vegan item I could see on the menu- Schupfnudeln. The crispy outside of the noodles with their savoury, softer inside, the sour tang of the warm, thin sauerkraut and the fresh, soothing lemon of the Radler, all complimented each other beautifully and provided something savoury, sweet and salty (which, in my opinion, is what every good meal needs the perfect balance of) to wash away the stale taste in my mouth of hours of travel.

All complimented each other beautifully

I knew, right then, as I sat contently devouring the Schupfnudeln and trying to make my Radler last, watching the other diners out on the sun-dappled terrace quickly run inside to join us as the mountain weather took a characteristic turn towards a thunder storm and the lightning turned to a cosy warm orange that left my travel-weary eyes ready for a comfortable sleep, that I was going to study German at university, that I would someday take a year abroad in Bavaria and explore many more villages like Reit im Winkl, eat much much more Schupfnudeln, and garnish most meals with sour sauerkraut.

That is the power of good food. I stuck with this idea and now I am writing this article from a small town in Bavaria that lies on the border with Austria, called Burghausen. It lies a mere hour away from Reit im Winkl. I have Schupfnudeln in my fridge for my dinner tonight and, when I eat them, I will be reminded of that very first taste and I will be back in Reit im Winkl, well-rested, with someone I love dearly and completely in awe with Bavaria.

Images by: Lauren James, MarkusHagenlocher and en:stone via Wikimediacommons.

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