For 42 weeks we are on the road now. That means 294 days eating in a restaurant or hotel. Or 833 meals. It is time to draw a conclusion about eating out and about culinary arts.
Far too much convenience food
We are simply spoken very disappointed. We have been most of the time in Germany and Austria and are shocked how much convenience food is used in the kitchens. It would not be as bad if it was very good convenience food. But there are bad and cheap products. And when we get those served in a restaurant and are supposed to pay for them then this is frightening.
Furthermore there are hardly any offers for vegetarians. Well, we were told that at least in Germany this is not part of the training of a chef. In Austria it seems to be different. But it should be known by now that there are vegetarians or so called flexitarians. That means people who normally eat everything but once in a while enjoy a vegetarian or meal. We don’t even dare to speak about vegans.
The crux with Käsespätzle
In the gastronomy the view still prevails that vegetarians love to eat Käsespätzle or salad. They only eat salad. And Käsespätzle. Nothing else. In the mean time it is a running gag when a menu offers Käsespätzle as a vegetarian meal. Talking about the menu. Some restaurants plan a vegetarian meal each day and display it on the menu. Some do not have any vegetarian version at all on the list for their guests. Those you get – if at all – on request.
And than there is the version to offer a vegetarian version every day apart from the barbecue evening or the formal dinner. When you ask what will be offered for the vegetarians at the barbecue the answer is: The side dishes. One restaurant went so far to not announce the menu at all. That was called surprise dinner. Well you can do that… Vegetarian was of course not considered.
Some waitresses or service staff loose completely their facial expressions when you ask for a vegetarian meal. And when we get the dish you can see the pure panic from the chef on the plate.
Sometimes we ask ourselves where is the professional honour of the chef? We are sure it is no fun to just open plastic bags and warm the content.
Or let’s talk about the menu for the guests with half board. In case we stay longer than one week in the house we realize that the dishes on the menu repeat. Each Tuesday you will get Käsespätzle. That can’t be fun for the chef. Nor the guest. Okay, the guest in general won’t stay longer than two or three nights… He won’t notice.
But apart from trying to get a vegetarian meal the ingredients are very often just crap. Square cardboard slices are supposed to be mozzarella. And ready-made pizza is baked in a „brick oven“.
A very blatant example is this here: Achim ordered a „Flammekuchen“ and I ordered a baked camembert. Two weeks later we coincidally ordered the same combination. What would you prefer?
In the mean time we asked the service whether the food is home made. Some anwser honestly. Other swear it is home made but when you get the late you can easily see that it is convenience food. With those that are honest the variety to choose from gets very small.
How can you eat that? Or even offer for money? We tried for years to avoid E-numbers, additives or flavour enhancers. And now we are bombarded with them.
Please don’t get us wrong. We don’t need a star rated gastronomy. A real sourdough bread with fresh butter from a farm is a real pleasure for us. If the ingredients are good. Than it is a dream.
There is no Bio
Bio goods were hardly offered to us during these 42 weeks. There are a handful of restaurants – also related to the „Genusswirte“; a group of chefs offering selected foods – which precisely declare where there ingredients come from. Sometimes the word ‚bio‘ is mentioned in the menu. But only on rare occasions. And that is not enough.
We don’t want to merely complain. If you are really interested in vegetarian dishes and need some ideas you can get information from the ‚VEBU‘. Here restaurants and chefs can get support.
There were also good examples. Skiing huts that offered vegan food and everything was home made. Restaurants that lists accurately where their food comes from. Nice if the eggs come from the neighbouring farm and the cheese from the next village. We had affectionately prepared meals and subtle flavoured dishes that we were not only surprised by but we also very much enjoyed them.
Having said that those were the exceptions. It seemed that 85 % of the offered food was of inferior quality. We did not expect that.