Schuhbeck’s Spice Emporium near Hofbräuhaus in Munich

Like an exotic spice market, Schuhbeck's spice shop in Munich, Germany, transports you the moment you step through the door. Schuhbeck is the most well-known Bavarian chef, and this spice shop, along with his restaurant and cooking school, reside near the famous Hofbrauhaus beer hall.

Heideboden Rot, Red Wine Blend with Zweigelt Grapes from Hannes Reeh in Austria

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Review of Austrian wine Heideboden Rot, a red wine blend with Zweigelt grapes from Hannes Reeh winery. I found this wine at Zum Brez'n restaurant in Munich, Germany. Recommended with their Brez'n Salad that is topped with roast duck.

Föhn in Munich: Weirdly Warm Winter Day

More or less unique to Munich, at least in Germany, the Föhn is a weather phenomenon created by hot, dry wind coming off the north side of the Alps. It consists of unseasonably warm, sunny weather in winter. A perfect day for seeking out off-the-beaten-path sights in the Bavarian capital.

Discovering the Munich That Isn’t In the Guidebooks

Things to see and do in Munich, Germany, that aren't in most guidebooks; my husband and I have a project to see all the sights listed in '111 Things in Munich You Shouldn't Miss'. This week: Allianz Arena and Sunken Village.

My Newest Book, “A Travel for Taste: Germany”, is Now Available for Sale!

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Happy Thanksgiving to all my American peeps! And just in time for Black Friday, my newest book is available for sale online! I’m hoping that it will save you a shopping trip or two since you can buy it with a couple of clicks.

Here’s what it looks like on the outside, back and front:

Isn’t it handsome?? I’m so proud of it. In addition to the recipes and cooking tips, it’s filled with travel stories, culture and history I’ve come to know by living in Bavaria. Plus I’ve got many of my photos in there, too. I especially dig the photo of the potatoes on the back cover (pun intended). read more

Artisan Pizza Dough and Focaccia Tutorial

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I was hoping to announce the official release of my book this week, but, alas and alack, technical difficulties arose. I am hoping to make the announcement within the next two or three weeks, though. I truly want it available for holiday shopping because it would make a great gift for people into traveling or cooking. Keep your fingers crossed!BTW, here’s a sneak peek of the cover: I’m so pleased with the way it looks!A bit more about the book: It has over 50 authentic Bavarian/Franconian recipes. Most of the recipes are from my German “mom” Hilde, who taught me much of what I know about the food and cooking methods in the area. Several of the recipes and stories in the book you may have seen in some form or other as part of various blog posts.So, it’s a cookbook, yes, but it’s more. I have surrounded the recipes in the book with my photos and with stories about what I’ve learned traveling and living in Germany, including the culture and language. Here’s the back-cover blurb for the finished book:

“Traditional food of any region is integral to its culture, and so it is with Bavaria, Germany’s southernmost state, and Franconia in the north of Bavaria.

American writer and photographer Karren Doll Tolliver is an avid home cook, and she has collected numerous family recipes from real-life home cooks in Germany. Here she presents their recipes, variations and insider techniques.

Drawing from her years of living in Germany, Karren describes local cultural points, history and language through personal stories that provide a tradition-rich framework for each dish. read more

Auer Dult, Munich’s Thrice-Yearly Household Goods Market at Mariahilfplatz

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Just a quickie post today because I’m knee-deep in finalizing my book manuscript! A couple more proofreads and it should be available on Amazon in a couple of weeks. I’m so excited! Of course I’ll keep you informed about when you can buy your own copy and copies for all your friends, coworkers and family for holiday presents (hint-hint!).Book or no book, there is always something going on around here! In the course of walking from the tram stop to my husband’s company party a couple of weekends ago, we noticed a huge market set up in the square surrounding one of the giantest churches in existence.The next day we went back and visited the market during open hours.Of course, I did research about it all beforehand. The market is called Auer Dult and it’s held three times a year. The first part of the name, Auer, is because it’s on the river Au. The second part, Dult, comes from an old German term meaning “observance”. The fair started as part of a religious observance of some sort. Today, the word Dult just means “fair”. This is the only time I’ve ever seen the word used for anything.   The market’s focus is on household goods these days because the religious fair evolved into a gathering of artisans and guilds who provided things like pots and pans, tools, and ceramics. Today, the household-goods theme is adhered to very loosely. In addition to wooden spoons, ceramic bowls and brooms, there was a whole row of people hawking merch just like infomercials. There were about 300 stalls selling such diverse items as antiques, books, Christmas decorations, silverware and snacks. Plus there were kiddie rides.The giant church is called Mariahilfkirche (“Mary Help Church”) and the surrounding square is Mariahilfplatz. We were somewhat familiar with the area because the immigration office is just across the street. In fact, I visited the church some time ago while my husband was taking care of his work permit paperwork there. I didn’t have my camera at the time, but I plan to go back for church pictures. Stay tuned.The market was different, though. I had camera in hand and here are some shots from the market.

Do carnivals in the States even have real ponies anymore?

 Of course there was a little Gasthaus and Biergarten just outside the fair:

Hope you enjoyed the trip to the Auer Dult. I could have spent a million Euros there. But I’m going back the next time with lots of money in my pocket!

Photo for No Apparent Reason:

King Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps

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Happy Halloween everybody!As I told you in last week’s post, my husband and I visited Linderhof and Neuschwanstein, two beautiful castles built by King Ludwig II back in the late 1800s when Bavaria was still an independent country. It startles me to realize that Bavaria has been part of Germany for fewer years than the USA has been a country. You saw Linderhof in my previous post so get ready for Neuschwanstein.Before our tour bus arrived there, we made a stop in Oberammergau, a village famous for the Passion Play performed there every 10 years. I can’t imagine this tiny town overrun by tourists every decade but I hope to see it next time around in 2020.The tour guide pointed out the paintings on the buildings as a typical tradition in Oberammergau. I can attest that it’s a Bavaria-wide tradition. This house shows the story of Little Red Riding Hood:  While strolling around the village, my husband and I were lucky enough to see this Jag, an “Old-Timer” (German word for antique automobile):  Here’s the stadium where they perform the Passion Play: After Oberammergau we climbed back on the bus to get to the main attraction. As we approached Neuschwanstein, we could see a parasailer enjoying the last of the summer weather: Ludwig II grew up in a nearby castle named Hohenschwangau, which means High Swan District. It’s at the foot of the hill just below Neuschwanstein, which means New Swan Rock. In addition to the swans in the castle names, numerous swan motifs are found in all Ludwig II’s residences, such as porcelain swan vases and bronze swan-shaped door handles. As you might imagine, he is also known as The Swan King.Here is a shot of Hohenschwangau, Ludwig’s boyhood home:

This is how touristy and crowded it was in the ticket office area, which also had a couple of hotels, several restaurants and some souvenir shops: Since it was still quite a haul uphill to the castle, we grabbed a horse and carriage (the other options were taking a local bus or walking): On the way we passed a building named the Jagerhof, or Hunting Lodge. It had great sculptures on the corners: Even after the horses worked so hard to pull 12 people plus the driver up that hill, we still had to walk uphill another 10 minutes or so to get to the castle. While enjoying the horses’ work, I shot this:Some more shots of the castle exterior:

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the castle, unfortunately, but I snuck one of the view from the window up there:

The interior of the castle is NOTHING like the exterior. It’s very dark and dramatic, though richly decorated. Ludwig II was a big fan of Richard Wagner, the opera composer. Each room in the castle has the theme of one of the operas. For example, the throne room had images from Siegfried. And it was awesome, especially the giant, crown-shaped chandelier, complete with glass “jewels”. However, the room had no actual throne. Kind Ludwig II died before the castle was complete so there was never a need for a throne there. They opened the castle as a tourist attraction within six weeks of his death. Too soon? read more