It was bitterly cold and unpleasantly drizzly when I stepped off the train in Freising. I’d planned a 90 minute break between arriving in the Bavarian town best known for Weihenstephaner, the world’s oldest brewery, and my scheduled pickup for a trip to the organic farm where I’d be spending the following 24 hours. I’d envisaged a leisurely stroll around the Altstadt (old town) in the afternoon sunshine, stretching my legs after a long train journey and taking in some of the sights, but the weather, as it turned out, was not entirely compatible with those plans.
The sky was a dismal grey, the cobbled streets wet, and the pretty pastel buildings looked dirty and dull. After wandering the length of the main street, stopping briefly at the Marienplatz, home to the baroque Mariensäule (St. Mary’s Column) and Rathaus (town hall), I decided to spend the rest of my time in Freising somewhere warm and dry instead. In the absence of a functioning buffet car on the train from Wiesbaden, I hadn’t eaten since breakfast (something of a recurring theme of late), so I narrowed my search to finding somewhere warm and dry that served good, hot food.
Leberkäse for lunch
Freising became a Fair Trade City in 2013, in a move towards more widely supporting fair economic relationships with producers in other parts of the world. Perhaps as a result of this (or perhaps as one of the catalysts for it), there’s also a strong focus on sustainability, regionality and traceability in many of the town’s shops and restaurants. At the end of Untere Hauptstrasse, I found Metzgerei Stuhlberger, a large, brightly-lit butcher’s shop with a lengthy glass counter packed with fresh meats and an impressive selection of cold cuts and sausages (even by German standards), as well as a handful of high tables for standing and snacking at. A sign on the window explained they sold meat from nearby farms that reared and slaughtered their own livestock, and that the animals were butchered and their meat prepared on the premises by the Stuhlberger team, so I wandered in to have a look at the hot counter.
Leberkäse wouldn’t be my usual first choice for a late lunch – or any other meal, for that matter. A dense meatloaf made from finely ground meat (you can read more about it in my guide to German sausages), Leberkäse is very rich indeed, and for many people – myself included – takes quite the effort to digest. However, it’s a specialty of the south, and the butcher recommended theirs, so I ordered a slice with some warm potato salad and mustard, and took my plate to the only sit-down table, next to the window with a view onto the grey, wet street. I can’t say it’s the most beautiful plate of food I’ve eaten this year, but it certainly rates as one of the most surprisingly good: not as rich as the Leberkäse I’ve eaten before, it had an excellent, meaty flavour and a smooth texture; and the classic potato salad alongside it was very good indeed.
I’d left enough time to aid digestion with a rather chilly walk back to Freising train station, and after my annual slice of Leberkäse, I was very glad at the prospect of spending the next 24 hours eating nothing but organic vegetables. I’d love to return to Freising sometime to visit the brewery (and go back to Metzgerei Stuhlberger to pick up some cold cuts), but next time, I’ll try to visit when the sun’s out.
Freising Tourism (in German)
Bavaria Tourism’s guide to Freising (in English)
Official Guide to shopping Fair Trade in Freising (pdf in German)
Metzgerei Stuhlberger (in German)
Weihenstephaner brewery (in English)