Jackie Guigui-Stolberg
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Germany's Stagecoach Inns

Munich, Germany Food & Drink May 24 @ 8:11am

The easiest way to find an excellent and atmospheric restaurant in Germany is to look for the main church in old town and village squares. Next to the church you will often find a large old building bearing the name "Gasthof zur Post." After the fifteenth-century founding of postal routes along the rutted roads of duchies and principalities in the Holy Roman Empire, stagecoach inns sprang up to feed and lodge the hungry and weary travelers whose bottoms had braved bumpy roads to catch a ride among sacks and parcels transported by the postal service. At that time the inns' fare was humble, and accepting a bed for the night in the cold accommodations upstairs usually meant resting your bones on a prickly straw sack mattress, often in the company of other, unfamiliar travelers as well as a host of lice and bedbugs.Today, hundreds of Gasthöfe zur Post can still be found in Germany and many now offer some of the most satisfying and creative cooking in the land. The name Gasthof zur Post always triggers pleasant anticipation of an ancient establishment with sumptuous but moderately-priced meals and highly experienced, professional service in a cozy and traditional atmosphere. A typical old stagecoach inn has heavy and comfortable wooden furniture, carved wooden paneling and ceilings, windows framed with linen and lace curtains, walls lined with bench seating made comfortable with upholstery and cushions, and tables decked with coarsely-woven linen, cloth napkins, and fresh flowers. In cold months a large wood-burning stove of colorful ceramic tiles is often the source of a special kind of enveloping warmth. While waiting for your meal in many of these restaurants, your eyes can feast on museum-worthy collections of old paintings and photographs as well as beautiful old objects: dishware and cooking utensils, hunting trophies, farm implements, clocks, and religious art. Some Gasthöfe zur Post are associated with ancient breweries, and their menus include lager, export, wheat beer, dark beer, and drinks that mix beer with fruit syrups, lemonade, or even cola. A typical menu will include regional standards but also unique chef creations and always several hearty dishes that might include duck, goose, venison, or other game. My article about the German gastronomic institution of the Gasthof zur Post would present several Bavarian examples of this type of eatery to your readers, accompanied by historical information about stagecoach inns and my own photographs: I think a visually attractive, very German and mouth-watering contribution to your publication. May I write this story for you?
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