Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Place to Meat in Salzburg

No, that's not a typo; if you want mass quantities of meat for your meal, Augustiner brewery is the place to go in Salzburg. Because this was my first experience going to a beer garden, even if the inclement weather forced all the activity indoors, I found the system rather peculiar and complicated. The food was not delivered to your table after being ordered from a staff member, but was ordered by you at one of many private vendors on the premises.

There were 6 or 7 vendors that had roasts, sausage, cold cuts, all primarily pork,  but also chicken and one vendor with nothing but salads. Others provided breads and pastries. Although everyone is there for the beer, I did  see soda on some tables, even so, they seemed  awkward in combination with a pastry.

Speaking of awkward, the entire operation was bathed in ritual. In order to buy your beer, you had to select the size beer stein you wanted and pay the cashier, then, like a pilgrim at Mecca, you had to enter into a ritual cleansing. No not your feet, you had to rinse out your mug with hot water. Afterwards you would hand over your receipt to the man in charge of filling the steins. If the Augustinian monastery had been run by a woman, I do believe this system would have been simplified long before the Reformation occurred, but I digress.

Once we selected and paid for our food, my cohort parked me at a table and took off to buy the beers. It was no surprise when he returned with steins that were the size differential of Papa Bear and Goldilocks.

He had selected a pork knuckle that tasted like a cured ham, while I had gone for the pork roast. We both opted for potato salad that tasted like potatoes and onions bathed in a vinegar syrup. The urge came over me to add a pickle and it helped to cut the fatty taste of the pork.

As we looked at our plates, we started to marvel at the huge portion of meat on each of them, so much meat, that the potato salad could have been mistaken for a condiment instead of a side dish. That was an exaggeration, but the memory I had prior to seeing the photos again. Our only remedy was to go back to the food vendors and buy more food, which took the form of a huge pretzel and some home made potato chips. Our decision making may have been slightly influenced by our beer consumption.

Although I felt let down by the lack of beer hall camaraderie, since no one was singing, swaying to music, or clinking their beer steins together, it was a fun experience that I would repeat.

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