By Jenny Hoff
Like many people, I used to while away my free days in Munich walking along the picturesque streets of the historical part of the city, popping in to a store here and there to try on something that I had spotted in the window, and then meeting with friends at a café to enjoy a long, leisurely coffee before heading to a nearby restaurant for an even more leisurely lunch.
Then, a baby came on the scene.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am thrilled with my new little entourage (consisting of one). But, this changes the game a bit. A stroller doesn’t exactly maneuver easily through Munich’s small shops, and an Ergobaby isn’t very conducive to trying on clothes. So, I have had to be more adventurous when it comes to enjoying the city – which is how our little clan happened upon berry picking one Sunday afternoon.
Sunday is actually very much a day of rest in Munich, which means all stores are closed. So going to a berry farm is a perfect activity for anyone, entourage or not, on Sunday. If you are with friends, you can enjoy an hour or two of wandering through the rows of berry bushes and treating yourself to a nibble here and there while picking. If you are with kids, this is a great way for them to get a bit closer to nature and better understand where food comes from.
It’s also a great place for cultural observation. Germans are very thorough berry pickers – they usually find one good bush and clean it bare. I, on the other hand, have restless berry picker syndrome, which means I pick one, maybe two berries from each bush and move on. The great thing is, here it doesn’t matter! If your kids are like me, they can run through endless rows of berry bushes and pick away to their heart’s content. Beware though, the prices are pretty similar to what you’ll find in a grocery store, so you might want to fill your belly up while picking and be more conservative with what you take home.
Check out Hofreiter here to find one of their three berry picking farms in Munich: www.hofreiter.de
After you are finished berry picking, there are tons of other activities to enjoy. Running through haystacks, petting goats, roasting your own bread over an open fire, relaxing in a hammock, playing in the sandbox, or enjoying lunch at the Berry Café; you can spend the whole day here and not get bored. Most activities are free, so besides how many berries you buy (and there is no mandate to buy any), this is actually a low-cost, family-friendly day in Munich.
And, it gets better. If you overindulge in the berryliciousness of it all and come home with a bucket of fruit, you can then have fun coming up with yummy, antioxidant-loving recipes for the whole family. We tried our hand at blueberry shakes and non-traditional (meaning a tad healthier) blueberry scones.
• 41⁄2 cups of ice cubes
• 2 cups milk
• 1/3 cup white sugar
• 2 cups frozen blueberries (or fresh blueberries with a couple of cups of ice)
• vanilla extract
Easy-peasy. Throw it all in the blender and give it a whirl until you like the smooth consistency.
Spelt Flour Greek Yogurt Blueberry Scones
• 2 cups spelt flour (Dinkelmehl in Germany)
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 3 tablespoons raw sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
• 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
• 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
• vanilla bean extract
• 1 cup blueberries
• 1⁄2 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1⁄2 cup milk
• Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius).
• Combine flours, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
• Slice butter and drop into dry ingredients. If you have a pastry cutter, use it to cut the butter into the flour. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, use a knife to cut the butter into tiny pieces and mix it into the flour.
• Add blueberries and vanilla and gently stir. You can use frozen blueberries, no thawing necessary.
• Gently mix in milk and yogurt. Eventually you’ll need to use your hands to knead the last of the flour into the dough.
• Form dough into a circle about that’s about an inch deep all around. Cut the circle into 8 slices.
• Separate slices and place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper or foil.
• Sprinkle the tops of the scones with a bit of raw sugar.
• Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown.
*Disclaimer: I crowd-sourced these recipes. As in, ripped them off from other blogs, making slight alterations. (I did mention I am a new mom, right?)