When people talk about the Münchner Knödelei, they do not mean Bavarian tenor singers, but simply the greatest culinary delight Bavaria has to offer: Knödel (German for dumplings). In other parts of Germany, they also go by the names of Bällchen, Flutte, Knöpflin, Klöße or Klopse. It will probably remain a mystery who invented this delicacy, but Altbayern seems the likely country of origin.
The term “Knödel” comes from the Old High German “Chnodo” – from knoten (to knot) or kneten (to knead). Over the centuries, the dish itself has become as varied as its preparation methods. Developed in a time, when people had no cutlery and used their hands to eat, this clever dish managed to establish itself as a delicacy for the masses.
The plight of the Knödel lovers was recognised
In the 19th century, Ludwig II of Bavaria – with his incredible fondness for Hechtknödel (pike dumplings) – made sure that these were included on the festive menus at court, finally making them acceptable in polite society.
So far the history of the Knödel, whose main ingredients are breadcrumbs, milk, eggs, butter, pepper and salt. Simple ingredients in theory, but making a Knödel can nonetheless be difficult and complicated. The consistency often turns out like concrete or could double as glue, not to mention the sad shapes an inexperienced cook invariably ends up with. But don’t worry, help is at hand: the Munich pub Wirtshaus in der Au – an iconic institution in the Bavarian metropolis – has recognised the trouble many Knödel lovers have and has not only published the royal Bavarian Knödel cookbook, but also offers an accompanying Knödel course. Here, the ignorant are introduced to the art and secret of Knödel-making by experienced professionals.
Knödel course at the Wirtshaus in der Au
And indeed, the course is a great help – and extremely entertaining: all the equipment and ingredients are already laid out on white linen clad tables on the beautiful upper floor of the Wirtshaus in der Au. The roughly 16 course participants are welcomed with Prosecco, beer and a few encouraging words and then divided into groups of four to tackle the different types of Knödel: Semmelknödel (bread dumplings), Kartoffelknödel (potato dumplings), Rote-Beete-Knödel (beetroot dumplings) and Marillenknödel (apricot dumplings). Those volunteering to make Kartoffelknödel are, admittedly, very few, but that is due to the extra amount of work, which includes peeling and grating potatoes. All other groups are highly enthusiastic, eager to learn – and, above all, ready to improvise. Why not use strawberries and schnapps if no apricots are at hand?
The two professional chefs, Daniel and Vladimir, are very patient throughout and take care that every Knödel, despite some peculiar recipe changes by the participants, turns out perfectly. At the end, the whole group sits down together at the lavishly laid table, the Knödel are served and eaten, and everyone celebrates their Knödel Diploma. Bon appétit!
Everything you need to know about the Knödel course
The Knödel course is ideal as a present for natives of Munich, newcomers, tourists, those who love the Bavarian cuisine and all friends of the Knödel. It starts at 10 o’clock in the morning, takes approximately four and a half hours and also includes drinks from the cookery course menu, the 3-course Knödel dinner and the Bavarian Knödel Diploma. Price per person: 95 Euros. For more information, please go to www.wirtshausinderau.de