Our Friday foodie extravaganza!
Friday morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, which offers a huge buffet with many choices. I won’t go into the breakfast details much, except to say that you can have fresh juices, eggs, sausages, cold cuts, breads, and even Cremant if you want it. I think it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone, although since it’s a buffet, things aren’t necessarily freshly cooked.
After breakfast, I did a little writing for my other blog, then we took a pleasant walk. No, it wasn’t a hike like a lot of the other guests were doing. Baiersbronn and its environs is an excellent venue for hikers and bikers. But we just took a little stroll, and I took more photos…
After a short break, Bill and I continued to make a loop, where we got a beautiful view of Obertal that wasn’t too taxing for us. We passed the Freibad, tennis courts, and the mini golf course, none of which were being used. And I took more pictures, this time with my digital camera.
Once the walk was over, it was time to head to our first of two gourmet restaurants!
The title of this series, “Seeing ‘stars’ in Baiersbronn refers to the fact that Baiersbronn has an impressive collection of restaurants with Michelin stars within it, especially when you consider that this is a town that many people have never heard of in their lives. I think I first heard of Baiersbronn from my German friend, Susanne, who told me about it when we still lived in Jettingen. I searched the Internet and found a fantastic New York Times Magazine article from 2013 about the tiny town with so many stars! The article is behind a paywall, but I happen to be a subscriber to the New York Times. Of course, others have written about Baiersbronn, where, at this writing, there are EIGHT Michelin stars. Two restaurants in Baiersbronn have three Michelin stars, which is as high as it gets. And two have one star.
As our trip was planned with relatively short notice, we were only able to get a table at one of the one star restaurants, as well as an up and coming restaurant which has earned a Michelin “Plate”. The Michelin Plate is kind of like an “honorable mention”. It means the food is very good, and the restaurant could possibly earn a star eventually. Unfortunately, as August is both a month in which many Germans go on vacation and there are also many weddings going on, we had to reserve both restaurants on Friday. I don’t recommend doing this if you can help it. We did it this way because it was the only way we could try the restaurants during the time we had. If there’s a next time we visit, we will try to arrange to try the really great restaurants on different days.
Lunch– Restaurant Meierei at the Gutshof Hotel Waldknechtshof— Michelin Plate recipient
Bill tried to reserve a spot at this restaurant for Saturday, but they had two wedding receptions going on. So we settled for lunch on Friday… and I have to say, of the two haute cuisine places we tried, I liked this one more. Yes, I liked it even more than the Restaurant Köhlerstube, the Michelin one star eatery where we had dinner. I liked the food more, and I liked the service and ambiance much more. Parking is free at the hotel, although the lot is small and has the potential to fill up fast.
When we arrived for our reservation at 1:00pm, we were warmly greeted by a tiny young woman who didn’t speak much English. There was just one other party in the Meierei when we dined, which allowed us to get impeccable service. This location also has a small casual bistro called Bistro Hofscheuer and a Weinkeller, which can be reserved for special events. There’s also a garden terrace for when the weather is good. More people were in the bistro, where a friendly bartender was taking care of a younger crowd.
I really liked the interior of the Meierei, which was decorated with rustic tables and interesting art on the walls. We had a comfortable table to ourselves by a window. As for the menu, patrons can choose from tasting options of 3, 5, or 7 courses. There is also a vegetarian three course option. Bill and I both opted to have the five course Das Genießer Menü, which was priced at 75 euros per person. We could have added a wine pairing for another 49 euros each, but Bill decided to order a bottle of wine instead. He chose a locally produced Landwein, which turned out to be “special”. The sommelier brought it out to us and explained that it was like two bottles of wine in one. First, there was the original pour, which came out clear and crisp. Then, once we finished the first glass, the bottle would be shaken and we’d see that the wine had become cloudy. My German friend reminds me that the Hofflin wine is a Bio-Wein/organic wine from the Kaiserstuhl. That was why Bill chose it.
I loved all of the courses on this menu, which is not an easy feat. You’d never know it to look at me, but I’m actually a picky eater and have quite a few aversions to certain foods. I was actually a little leery of getting this menu, since I don’t usually like lamb. It’s too “gamey” for me. But since the rest of the courses in the Genießer Menü really appealed to me, I decided to throw caution to the wind. I’m so glad I did. My tastebuds were exploding during this meal. It was amazing. I tried and enjoyed foods I usually don’t even like very much!
This meal ran us about 217 euros before the tip. We paid for the meal with a credit card and tipped in “Bar Geld” (cash). It was worth every euro, as far as I’m concerned. Not only was the food delicious, but the service was perfect. I also got the sense that everyone really cared if we enjoyed ourselves. With each course, our server would go to the kitchen and tell them how much we liked it. She also helpfully asked them to give us “pauses”, which was a big help. All of those flavors, especially after a year of no fancy eating, were a bit overwhelming. We also needed some time to digest.
At the end of the meal, the proprietor, who spoke English, came out to talk to us. She said, “You’re not German?” when we spoke English to her. We laughed and explained when she asked us what the hell Americans were doing in her little town. As I mentioned before, I probably would not have ever visited Baiersbronn if I hadn’t lived in Jettingen first! She was very interested in what we thought of the food and, of course, asked me to write a TripAdvisor review. I will do that as soon as I’m finished with this series, because frankly, I think they really could use a good review. If this place were anywhere else but Baiersbronn, I think they’d be ranking higher than they currently do! I hope we can visit again, or at least inspire others to visit.
In the next part, I will write about our experience at the Michelin starred Restaurant Köhlerstube.