If I had to pick three foods to live off of for the rest of my life, those would be: chocolate, cheeses, and potatoes. Imagine my surprise when I found out that my current home-base of Munich actually has a Potato Museum?
Museum may be a generous word. Unlike most museums, this one is really quite small, and may take you an hour or less to go through. However, the museum houses everything from Incan artifacts, to historical books and encyclopedias. What struck me most was the very impressive and diverse collection of potato-related Art work – everything from oil paintings, lithographs, comics, prints, vintage advertisements, watercolors, etc.
As we say in German: Klein aber Fein (small but excellent)
There is also a room devoted to Pfanni, a formerly family-run German company which specialized in ready-made potato-everything and operated from 1949 until 1999 (at which point, it sold out to Unilever). Werner Eckert invented the famous Pfanni-Knödel which revamped the potato as a side-dish in Germany while also contributing to the company’s success. His son, Otto Eckert later took over the company. Today the Otto Eckert Foundation generously supports the Potato Museum’s day to day operation.
A visit is well worth it; if only to appreciate the variety and influence of the humble spud, as well as to admire the potato-related art work. I won’t ruin the surprise and list all the things I learned today – you should go see for yourself! But I will say that I now respect the potato even more than before!
The museum is closed on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday through Thursday is by appointment. Friday they’re open from 9 to 18h and Saturday from 11 to 17h. And thanks to generous funding by the Otto Eckart Foundation… it’s free to enter (small charge for tours, which may be a good idea if you do not speak any German at all. The signs in the Museum are currently only in German)
To get there, take the S-Bahn or U-Bahn to Ostbahnhof. http://www.kartoffelmuseum.de/
The museum is located in the ground floor of the OTEC House. At first glance it may seem like a strange location, however, the property was where the Pfanni company used to be headquartered and where they produced their potato-related products (ah-ha!)
A potato-related special library can be accessed upon request also!