Essentials of Southwestern German Cooking - A Culinary Journey through Bavaria
The Black Forest aptly symbolizes the famous German proverb about the way to the heart being through the stomach. The cuisine alone is reason enough to holiday in the Black Forest. And to experience it, you don't need to seek out restaurants boasting a certain number of stars, toques or spoons. A quick look at a map of village inns reveals a rich selection of places serving superb cooking. Specialties from Baden-Baden or Swabia such as Kugelhopf goose liver, venison Baden-style, or Black Forest or vanilla Mohnkuechle can turn an ordinary day into a sumptuous event.
The characteristic Baden wines only add to your dining pleasure. Conoisseurs appreciate the diversity of flavors of Gutedel, Mûller-Thurgau, Riesling, Silvaner, white and gray Burgundy, Bacchus, Chardonnay, Nobling, Muscat, Kerner, Traminer and late blue Burgundy. Wineries invite visitors to sample their wines, and throughout most of the summer and fall there are wine festivals. In Breisach, along the Kaiserstuhl, you'll find the most important winemakers.
Late afternoon is typically the time for a tasty snack called "vesper." It's an "in-between" meal consisting of homemade sausage, smoked trout or Black Forest ham with wholegrain bread. And to keep with tradition, you should also have a Wässerli, a fruit-based liqueur. Even today, residents of the Black Forest will pass on dinner in favor of this light meal.
Black Forest ham is a regional specialty, perhaps even an institution. And when paired with asparagus, it's a delight. There's a secret to authentic Black Forest ham: you have to wait for it! Production takes about three months. Fortunately every restaurant always has some well-aged ham in reserve.
In the Black Forest they have been distilling fruit liqueurs (cherry, quetsche, plum and mirabelle) for generations. The Black Foret harbors the greatest concentration of distilleries in the world, with more than 14,000! Schnapps such as zibärtie, made from wild plums, is made there.
In a region that devotes so much importance to gastronomic pleasures, it comes as no surprise to find culinary stars. Eleven of the best 100 chefs in Germany have a restaurant in the Black Forest. Baiersbronn is a gourmet paradise with particular glitter: three Michelin stars for the Traube Tonbach, two for the Hotel Bareiss and one for the Hotel Sackmann.
Bottom photo: Stiglmeier Sausage Co.
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