What better way to start than with the humble Brezel (plural: Brezeln), or as we North Americans call it, the Pretzel.
In Germany, especially in the south, it is a staple of everyday life. Babies munch on it, you bring a big basket to work on your birthday to share with your colleagues, and you eat it on-the-go with butter for breakfast. When you ride the airline Air Berlin, they will give you a Brezel on board. To be honest, I never had a real Brezel in Canada, and as soon as I came to Germany, I immediately adapted it into my diet.
There are many variations of Brezeln: The normal kind, Laugenbrezeln, is normally topped with salt crystals and that’s the kind you get if you go to the bakery and ask for a normal Brezel. If you want to add butter, it is simply Butterbrezeln, which will cost you about double compared to one without. Kurbiskernbrezeln (with pumpkin seeds) and Sonnenblumenkernbrezeln (Sunflower seeds) are also regularly available in bakeries.
A Brezel will cost you about 50 Cents and up. It’s funny because I saw a “Brezel” at a pub in my hometown Calgary once, and it cost $5 (and might I add, it tasted nothing like the real thing).
In Munich, or in the Bavarian area, Brezeln are traditionally eaten with Weißwurst (white sausages) and Weisswurstsenf (sweet mustard) for breakfast. However, my favorite time to eat them is when I’m on the road, either while riding on a train or waiting for a flight at the airport. Definitely tastier than the hard, small snacks that come in plastic bags that we call pretzels back home.