Day 11: Black Forest To Alsace

2:42 PM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

Ahhh the day started great. We had breakfast in a gorgeous solarium. It was a glass rotunda of crystal and drapes. Besides the tomatoes taking too long to be replenished, it was perfect. right after breakfast mom and I ran up to the store where I had previously seen the sweet little cuckoo clock with the fox that looks just like my dog on the front. As I mentioned previously, I wanted it but thought it was too much. I told the bf about it that night and he said he wanted to buy it for me....I am so happy I bought looks like a Corgi is sitting on the front porch of the little chalet. SO cute. So i went to purchase it and the store clerk showed me the cuckoo sound which made it even cooler.
If you know me then you know I own two cuckoo clocks already ( which is a lot for how large my home is) I have one that cuckoos, I have one that cuckoos and olays a different song every half hour and now...I have one that plays song bird sounds then cuckoos every half hour. So stomed that it is different. Plus, this one does not depend on me pulling the weights once or twice a day...I felt so good to have bought it. It is like one of those things that I could have regretted forever if i did not buy. I mean, when would I EVER see a clock with the likes of my dog on it again? To add to the shopping bliss of the morning we wz.ked done to Cafe Shaefer. This cafe's chef was the apprentice of the man who first invented the recipe for the Schwartzwzld Torte (Black Forest Cake). Yesterday we had a slice of cake from another cafe and it was really good, but this one was the ultimate. The chef is a very good way. He needs his cske to be perfect. The cafe was closed the day prior or we would have gone before, but this was with the wait. Just fyi, if you plan to go, Cafe Shaefer is closed on Wednesdays. We asked for a slice but the cake was not ready. We had to wait another half hour. I presume because the cake needed to completely cool before any cream was applied. It came out more beautiful than a wedding cake.
I filmed the woman cutting the cake and we left with the precious parcel. We got to the car and as a quick shot, I asked mom to take a picture of me pretending to eat it...all the time intending to eat it on the road on our long drive that day. Well, after one pretend bite...the whole thing got devoured by me and dad despite our insistence that we were toocf full from breakfast to have one more bite. The cake from yesterday saved my life because I needed sustinence from dehydration and low blood sugar...this slice made my life by being the most wonderful combination of flavors and textures. I wish I could convey the sensation of eating this slice of heaven. It was light, fluffy, creamy, juicy. It had the right balance of cream, alcohol, fruit, was even wrapped like a special gift.
All this before we even left the town of Triborg. We drove some more. I blogged in the car. It took us a couple hours to reach the French border. When we arrived on this trip we began in France. When we were first leaving France and crossing the border to Switzerland a man was standing in the street selling nougat and little french flags for the children...les enfants. We bought some and we have the French flags in a car waving proudly. I felt so disappointed to leave France. Then, once we got into Switzerland I was thrilled to be there and when we had to leave Switzerland for Germany I was sad once again, everytime we would leave a country I would miss the country just left. Today is no exception.
We crossed into France and I looked back to Germany with fondness. We entered Alsace. Once again, the scenery changed dramatically. The houses were not so spread out. This time they were in little villages grouped around a church in each little town. The houses are what is called half timber and have wood beams on the outside and brightly colored on the outside in blues, greens, yellows and many other colors. The design of the houses is so u ique here that one of the big selling souvineers here is ceramic houses painted like the the real ones in the local cities. The Alsace region streches alongside a mountain range from Strasbourg in the not to Colmar and Riquewihr, where we are staying, in the south. The area is famous for fois gras, storks that nest on the roof tops, pottery and their traditional dress...oh and their FANTASIC wines. My favorite varietals come from this region; Gewertztraminer, Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris, and more.
We drove through hills and fields of vineyards dotted with the occasional villages. It is so picturesque it is like a postcard everywhere you look. The weather was warm but slightly overcast so the green vineyards really popped in contrast to the rooftops of the towns. Ch√Ęteau Haute Koenigsburg could be seen sitting on top of a hill from many of the towns we passed through. Tomorrow we will visit that castle. We stopped in Kaiserburg to do a little shopping. I took a million photos. Every building was a unique half timbered structure painted all kinds of different colors. Flowers spilled out of every sill and balcony.
That town thoroughly photographed and shopped, we headed on to Riquewihr. This town is one of the most visited towns in all of France and it is obvious why. Nestled in the middle of the southern part of the Alsace wine region, it is an old, quaint town dominated by a large clock tower at one end of the main street. The street is a cobbled, slightly windy road with cafes and shops lining it. Our hotel, Hotel au Dolder, is right at the front of the clock tower. It is a small family owned hotel run by a very nice couple and their white Labrador. We arrived on a Thursday and apparently the restaurant is not open that day so we found our keys and let ourselves in. We had to leave the car on the outside of the ramparts and climb up stairs to get through to the town. So cute. We shopped up and down the street until we got hungry. We stopped in a creperie to grab a snack. dad had a rubarb torte, mom had a yummy ice cream, whipped cream and Grand Marnier crepe Sucre and i had a savory ham and cheese crepe. It really hit the spot.
Filed up, we walked the town some more to find where we were going to eat dinner. The local foods here are flammenkuche or torte flambe which is like a pizza on a cracker, charcroute which is all kinds of meats on a bed of saurkraut, onion tart and Munster cheese. We made reservations at an outdoor restaurant for seven thirty and walked back to the hotel. We reshened up and headed back out. We found a weinstube where we could sit and drink some local wine. We watched the people and enjoyed the incredible scenery.
Dinner was fun. I had the onion tart to start and potatoes and cheese. The main course came in three little pots. One pot had a green salad in it. The other two pots had sliced potatoes, cream and each a different local cheese. One was Munster and i don't know what the other was but it was milder. Both were fantastic. The pots they were baked in were locally made. I see lots of them in the stores. I think I am going to have to buy one for myself. Mom and dad both got the Tete de Veaux. Literally translated that means head of baby cow. And that is literally what it is. A pot of the chunks that cooked off of the head of a cow...cheeks, tongue and all the other parts that look spongy, stringy and gross. My parents were in heaven. I had to avert my eyes. We had a half liter of Gewertztraminer and a half liter of Ededlzwicker. The half liters are brought in really pretty locally made stone pots. I already own one of my own or I would be trying to fins a way to cart one home.
While we were eating my dad whispered: GET OUT YOUR CAMERA NOW. I did what he said and looked up. What I saw was amazing. A stork was walking up the middle of the street. He was big and white and grey and beautiful. I named him Jean-Claude. I filmed him strolling along the street for a while. Finally other people noticed and a crowd formed around him. People started feeding him bread. Something tells me Jean-Claude will be returning. I can just imagine when I come back in a few years Jean-Claude will be famous like the dolphin of Dingle.
I was saying that the town of Riquewihr is a very popular tourist destination but we are so lucky that there are relatively few people here. We were able to walk the town basically alone after dinner....once Jean-Claude moved on. The town at night is just as cute as it is during the day. They light up the buildings. The big clock tower is lit up with changing colors. There was a green light that changed to purple.
I have a friend whom I used to work with who lives in the area. He owns a winery in town. when we first arrived in town I was trying to contact him to meet up tomorrow. I went to his mother's hotel and tried calling him but he was in the vineyards and i couldn't reach him. Then we were driving through town and there was his name plastered all over the side of a building. It was neat. He really owns a winery in his own name. I made contact in the evening and arranged to be picked up tomorrow morning at 9:30. We went to bed at a decent time so we would be ready for our visit.

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