Before Mat and I discovered the glorious stroopwafel, there was the schmalznudel. It was in the lovely city of Munich that we would find this incredible little piece of pastry perfection. We asked our Airbnb host, Matthias, if he had any recommendations for a good breakfast in town, and he insisted we venture to one very special place.
‘Schmalznudel,’ he said. “A Munich institution. Ask any local, ‘where is Schmalznudel?’ – and they can tell you exactly where it is.”
Matthias attempted to describe the exact nature of a schmalznudel, though in the end we couldn’t settle on anything wholly familiar. What we could discern was that it was fried and doughy. We were intrigued at once.
Though affectionately referred to as ‘Schmalznudel’, the little bakery is in fact called Café Frischhut. You’ll find it right by Munich’s wonderful daily food market, Viktualienmarkt, making it a very convenient stop for the visiting foodie. The bakery boasts just four different pastries – striezerl, krapfen, rohrnudel and most importantly, the famous schmalznudel:
A ring of fresh, deep-fried dough circling a thin, almost transparent dough film; the schmalznudel is kind of like a large, flat doughnut. Direct from the fryer – you can observe the chef working his magic with impressive speed and skill through the shop window – the cooked pastry is wonderfully warm and full of the most incredible, rich flavour. Matthias had told us that a schmalznudel should be doused generously with sugar, and the waitstaff were also quite particular about this. I was of course very happy to oblige. We spied several locals on nearby tables upending that sugar dispenser with a vigour to behold!
Over the course of a couple of visits, we also tried the krapfen (above), a doughnut filled with apricot jam, and the striezel, which is essentially a long, stick-like version of schmalznudel. Everything is fresh and hot, so the pastries have that wonderful crisp outside and a delightfully soft centre. The coffee is actually pretty decent too, which made for a couple of lovely, lazy Munich mornings sitting outside and happily basking in the schmalznudel buzz. It’s certainly very popular with Munich’s own; whilst we mostly found ourselves surrounded by greying locals (always a good sign), Schmalznudel is apparently also quite the destination for young folk on their way home after a big night out. A fresh schmalznudel sure sounds better than a dirty Macca’s run to me!
It was after our first visit, totally enraptured by the place, that Mat and I thought to Google the English translation of ‘schmalznudel’. You know something tastes damn good when the words ‘lard noodle‘ don’t sway your determination to return the very next day. Or ever, for that matter. Oh, dear schmalznudel: may our paths yet cross again!
Schmalznudel – Café Frischhut | Prälat-Zistl-Straße 8, 80331 Munich, Germany