Brotzeit (bread time) is a snack meal consisting of fresh bread and a variety of cold toppings, and often beer, the other bread of Bavaria. Brotzeit takes place mid-morning. Construction workers in particular are known to drop the hammer at 9am sharp for their Brotzeit, no matter what. After that, the walls tend to be a bit off balance. But since German houses are build to last forever, it doesn't really matter.
Brotzeit originated among laborers in Germany, who performed physically demanding work and regularly turned to quick, frequent meals. A cold snack was typically eaten between hot meals. In the 1920s, Germany saw the development of industrial canteens that would serve employees hot lunches. It wasn’t deemed necessary to have another hot meal at home in the evenings, so many would turn dinner into Abendbrot, i.e. another Brotzeit in the evening.
Brotzeit is popular in Bavarian beer gardens. In 1812, Maximilian I of Bavaria issued a proclamation allowing beer brewers to serve beer directly to the public during summer, but not any other kind of food. This created the custom of patrons bringing their own food to the biergarten – something simple that could be enjoyed with bread. To this day, Bavarian biergarten law entitles customers to bring and eat their own food, free of any surcharges or table fees. Just like the German beer purity law (Reinheitsgebot), the Brotzeit law helps keep good traditions alive, which otherwise would fall victim to relentless commercialization.
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