Food tours are becoming increasingly more common in cities around the world. Therefore, I will be increasingly going on them! I always try to do a bicycle tour, so to counteract the calories I burn on that, I should do a food tour, right? Or is it the other way around?
I think culture is tightly linked to food and I like eating food, so you will always find me touring a city ‘through’ it’s food – darting from café to café, testing the foods at the local market, and even browsing the supermarket aisles to see what daily foods consist of in a particular locale.
I was thrilled to find out that German food tour company, Eat-the-World has landed in Leipzig. I hopped on a tram and met my guide on the steps of the courthouse. Dorothea was a cute, Keira Knightly look-a-like. She had moved to Leipzig from Bulgaria to study.
We were a small group half of which was a really friendly family — Stefan Dürnay and his wife and two cute kids. They were from Friedrichhafen in southern Germany, right near Switzerland. When I asked him his first impressions of Leipzig, he said, “I like how friendly the people are.” This was nice to hear, since it’s perhaps not often you hear that about a German town, often thought to have austere, more keep-to-themselves types.
We walked over to the gentrified neighborhood of Südvorstadt. I read that this was one of the first areas of the city to gentrify after the reunification of Germany and like many areas like it, it started with artists and a bohemian vibe which has given way to the young and trendy and many expats. Here we began our eating spree — trying samples from many different restaurants, cafes, and shops.
This was a traditional German deli and meat shop. The family owned store sells homemade sausages, ham, salami, and cheeses. I asked about where it came from — how were the animals raised. I was told that they had “very high quality and standards.” I pressed on about where the meat was from, but the counter ladies didn’t speak English. I am told that German standards are quite high as far as raising animals, but then still found out later than Switzerland has some of the strictest rules around. I’m eating less meat these days, but when I travel, I do feel animal and food standards are typically higher outside of the USA rather than inside it.
This was a tasty little neighborhood Italian place, that it turns out is quite famous because it’s also the location for a local soap opera which has scenes here called In aller Freundschaft (In All Friendship). The white-washed stucco, interior was airy and loft-like with a balcony above and also a beautiful garden out back.
We sampled some tasty gnocchi.
The name of this shop loosely translates to “with Spice!” And that’s just what they sell, spices of all kinds including some of their own mixes. Along with the familiar – paprika, curry, and more than 10 varieties of salt, Frau Schol also carries some harder-to-find seasonings.
Old baking traditions still hang on here at this charming neighborhood bakery. We were able to try their roggenmischbrot (a rye-wheat mix) and the dinkel-mehrkornbrot (a mix of spelt, flax, and sunflower seed). Don’t think for a second that I remembered these names, I had my guide write them down for me. But it’s pretty cool, when you look at them closely, you can see the English in them: “roggenmischbrot “ = rye-mixed-bread. Or rather, the German in our English. Or maybe I just see these similarities from hearing my grandparents speak Yiddish (a fusion of mostly German dialects and some Hebrew thrown in for food measure) at times growing up.
Mmm..this was likely my favorite stop – a Mediterranean shop where you can some tasty Italian delights like olives, cheeses, and eggplant spread. All the goodies for a great picnic.
Set in a former factory, this hidden gem is a coffee shop which roasts its own.
Our final stop, was a traditional pastry shop and café.
The 100-year-old café recently opened again after being closed for 12 years. I finally got to taste one of Leipzig’s traditional treats: the Leipziger Lerche (Leipzig Lark). It’s a small, crusty pastry stuffed with marzipan (almond paste) and a small bit of jam. Sweet ending to a great day walking and tasting.
For more info:
3- hour Tours: 30 Euro per ticket, 15 Euro for children under 12 years
Fridays & Saturdays at 11:00am year round
Disclosure: During my few days in Leipzig, I was a guest of Leipzig Tourism and Marketing GmbH, as always, all opinions here are my own.