Friday, May 1, 2015

Good Times, Good Food and the Gasthaus Life (Part 2)

Our friends Jean and Chris left on a Tuesday for Burgundy.  The next day my sister Carol and I were on the road ourselves, but this time not far. We joined the ladies at the Bruckerhof in Reichenbach for lunch.

Carol gazing at her lunch with a smile on her face and Gertrud looking on
The Bruckerhof's special toast, filled with mushrooms, ham, lots of cheese, two sauces

From the Bruckerhof, we headed home through the Schutter Valley, stopping at the Gasthof Engel enroute for a glass of wine, the same Gasthaus where it all began for my celebration party.  Hans joined us there.
At a table in the Gasthof Engel
Hans says that Uli, one of the sons of the late owners, who serves the tables and looks after the dining areas, pours one of the best beers around.  (The Gasthaus is still owned by his family; his brother Martin is the Wirt and chef.)  The other beer, perfectly poured, is at the Grünen Baum in Keppenbach, one of the reasons we often go there, along with their having the best Bauern Vesper in the area (Black Forest smoked ham and assorted sausages).

Carol had told us she would love to go to France, partly so she could tell her friends back in New Hampshire that she had, but also, of course, because she remembered it from a trip here ten years earlier.  So off to Alsace we went the following day, Hans driving.  Below, a traffic circle with an Alsatian theme.

Our first destination was Ebersmunster to visit their baroque cathedral, one similar to the cathedral in Ettenheimmünster.  Not only are both baroque, but both have Silbermann organs, two of only seven or eight in the world.

The following three pictures I took on another visit as the day was brighter and the pictures better.  Nothing otherwise has changed.


Silbermann organ

Wood hand carvings


Other than in the large towns, we found not a place to stop for a glass of wine on our drive along the Route du Vin.  One of the reasons Alsatians are coming over to Germany's wine hills and to the Gasthauser is that it is difficult to find anything open in the Alsace during the day, other than at meal times.  High season is better, of course.  When we drove through Ribeauville, a much larger town and a show piece, places were open but not a parking space to be found.

From Ebersmunster, we drove to one of our favourite Alsatian destinations:  Dambach-la-Ville.  It is a walled town and not as touristy as some of the other--also beautiful--towns.

Below, the town hall in Dambach-la-Ville with the French flag flying.  It was late summer when I took that picture.

Below, a vintner advertising his wine.  Throughout Alsace, one can stop for a tasting.  However, we feel if you have a free tasting, then you should buy at least one or two bottles of their wine--or more!

Typical houses with geraniums everywhere in summer

The sign below invited one to stop, although on this day the restaurant was not open.

Last summer it was open and we sat outside at "Aux Deux Clefs," shown below.  It is located just outside the town wall and is a lovely, peaceful spot. 

The following day we went for supper to the Kleiner Meierhof, one we know well in Ettenheimweiler.  Carol had her first Flammenkuchen.  It has a thin crust, cream or a mixture of cream and creme fraiche spread thinly over the crust and then topped with Münsterkäse (Munster cheese) and Schinken (bacon pieces).  You can, of course, have a different topping, but that is one of our favourites and Carol enjoyed it.

The next day we were invited to Hans and Sylvi's for coffee and cake in mid afternoon.  As usual, Sylvi outdid herself.  Both are great hosts.  Hans S. opened a bottle of Sekt for us all to enjoy and, of course, coffee was served. 


Sylvi is a wonderful baker.  The cake at left was an apple cake with a crumb and almond nut topping; the one below right, a cheese cake with raspberry filling and a cake base.  Absolutely wonderful, both of them!  Not only that, she gave me a few pieces to take home to enjoy again.

Easter was approaching and a small town near us, which has been decorating the centre of their town for the past ten years for that occasion, had their displays ready.  We decided to drive to Wittenweier, about a 20-minute drive, to view it.  It is always beautifully done, with the whole town, including the children, taking part.

Carol, below left, taking a few pictures.


That evening we went out for a wonderful dinner.  I shall talk about that in my next blog post.  After that, it will be back to other subjects, including food topics.

I hope you are all enjoying spring as we are here in Germany.

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