Peter Morrell tastes the cuisine, hears about historic cities, Europe’s biggest theme park and recalls fond memories of Baden-Württemberg
With historic cities like Heidelberg and Stuttgart, the natural environment of the Black Forest, Europa Park, Germany’s biggest theme park, the scenic Lake Constance and a diverse range of beers, wines and food Baden-Württemberg has something to offer everyone. Here is a brief overview of what you can do, see and eat in Germany;s sunny State.
Apart from the roller coasters and other rides Europa Park has an impressive range of hotels. One of them the Bell Rock has a two Michelin star restaurant The Lighthouse. I recently met head chef Holger Strütt and his assistant Andreas Metzger at a cookery school in London. Under their expert tutelage a group of us cooked a meal comprising dishes typical of the region.
We started by whisking up a Hollandaise sauce, whipping up a chilled parfait and marinating strawberries for dessert but mainly observing as Holger and Andreas did the heavy lifting of preparing asparagus and beating veal cutlets. While watching we tasted a lovely sparkling rosé wine, savoured an aromatic beer from the State Rothaus brewery and sipped Kirschwasser, brandy flavoured with cherries that originated in the Black Forest.
Our delicious three course meal started with cream of wild garlic soup with smoked Black Forest trout and croutons, velvet smooth, it had great depth of flavour. The main course was in-season white asparagus spears with our lovingly prepared Hollandaise, a traditional Wiener schnitzel and new potatoes, the finale was the strawberries in Grand Marnier and mint covered with the Kirschwasser laced parfait. All delicious.
Throughout the meal the matching wines were all from the region, a bone-dry rielsing, a fruity chardonnay and a luscious dessert eiswein. The final indulgence was two digestifs, Lake Constance whisky and Balthazar gin distilled at Europa Park.
Baden-Württemberg is well known for its cuisine, and includes the popular Black Forest Gateau. An amusing culinary anecdote is about the regional dish Maultaschen. This is large ravioli stuffed with meat and was a way of eating meat during Lent without being seen. The nickname for the dish is Herrgottsbescheißerle,,”Little God-cheaters”
The meal was an excellent showcase of the freshness and quality of Southwest German cuisine and for me a reminder. I visited Lake Constance last year and loved the food, beer and wine. You can read about a wine tasting I did at Schloss Salem on the shores of the lake last year by clicking here…
Over the meal we chatted with people from the region and from Europa Park, here are some of the things I learnt during the conversation.
There are many cities worth a visit, Baden-Baden with its famous spa nestles in the Black Forest, Heidelberg is a very romantic destination and Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg, is a city founded by the Romans and steeped in history.
The Black Forest has something for both active and passive visitors, you can relax in picturesque villages admiring the views, hire a bike for a ride in the forest or just walk through the lush landscape. Slightly further south is Lake Constance, you can visit monasteries, see breathtaking formal gardens and even fly over the lake in a Zeppelin airship and get spectacular views of the Alps. I have very fond memories of my visit to Lake Constance last year, to find out more you can read my trip report by clicking here…
There are a couple of attractions that will appeal to both parents and children. Firstly, for Dad there is the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart. Housed in a super modern building it shows the evolution of Mercedes-Benz cars over the last 100+ years. For the kids the Steiff Museum at Geingen is unmissable and shows how teddy bears have become the world’s most treasured toy.
The statistics for this theme park are dazzling, nearly 6 million visitors every year can choose between 13 different roller coasters, numerous themed areas by concept and country including England, and the entertainment possibilities are endless. After a hard day of thrill riding you can relax in one of the five hotels at the Europa Park Resort and as I found out eat first class food.
There are three international airports in Baden-Württemberg – Stuttgart, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden and Friedrichshafen. If you prefer not to fly then you can travel by Eurostar to Paris and then catch the ICE/TVG train which takes 3 hours 40 minutes to Stuttgart.
Baden-Württemberg – www.tourism-bw.com
Europa Park – www.europapark.de/en
German Tourism www.german.travel