After traveling for three weeks in Germany and Austria, I’m pleased to be able to say that my husband and I didn’t have a bad meal on the entire trip. Whether having soups, salads, or sausages for lunch with a glass of beer in one of the small village stubes that we visited or having a many course dinner with wine pairings in the hotel dining rooms where we stayed, they were all delicious…each in their own way. But the culinary highlight of our trip was the three star Michelin restaurant Schwarzwaldstube, at the hotel Traube Tonbach in the Black Forest town of Baiersbronn-Tonbach, Germany.
This is as it should be because the Schwarzwaldstube has received a top rating from every restaurant guide since 1993 when Chef Harald Wohlfahrt first earned his three star rating and has kept it ever since. Mention eating German food and most people think of a heavy meal of pork, sauerkraut and potatoes. The fact is that Germany is second only to France in having the largest number of Michelin restaurants with 10 three star, 35 two star, and 209 one star rated restaurants. The Schwarzwaldstube is considered one of Germany’s finest restaurants and I wholeheartedly agree.
I wrote about our three night stay at the Traube Tonbach in A Gem In The Black Forest and the delicious food that we had each morning and evening in the lovely Silberberg restaurant. We have eaten in all of Traube’s wonderful restaurants on previous visits and knew we had to have another meal in the Schwarzwaldstube. The restaurant is one of the top restaurants in Europe and is a destination of people from all over the world. Since it is a small and intimate restaurant with seating for only 35 guests, I made a reservation for lunch months before when I made our hotel reservation.
We were greeted by Ansgar Fischer, the restaurant manager and seated at a small sofa in the lounge area of the bar for an apéritif and an amuse bouche, a gift from the kitchen.
We were given a choice of seasonal menus that were available that day, one of which was “The Great Tasting Menu”. Herr Fischer explained each menu in detail but suggested that if we wanted the tasting menu that we should let it be a surprise. We liked the idea of being surprised and decided that we would leave all the decisions in Chef Wohlfahrt’s creative hands.
The small restaurant has panoramic windows that look out at the valley and hills of the Black Forest. With the sun shining brightly, the room was just beautiful. Each table had a sculpture made of used silverware that added a whimsical element to the elegant restaurant.
Everything about dining in the restaurant is aimed at pleasing the guests, as evidenced by the presentation of the bread. Not only did we have a lovely choice of freshly baked breads but after making our choices, we were asked if we wanted butter or olive oil to go along with the bread. Upon choosing butter, we were offered either salted or unsalted butter that is special ordered from a small island off the coast of France…which the restaurant considers is the best available.
We knew that the wine cellar is considered one of the best in the country and decided to do a wine pairing with each course. Once our first wine was explained and poured, the courses began with another amuse bouche from the kitchen which was a variation on tuna, served cold four ways.
The first course was a mild smoked white king salmon on an oyster jelly with beetroot, red wine vinaigrette and Imperial caviar.
This was followed by a fried goose liver slice with macadamia nuts, pepperoni and rice purée in a light coconut nage.
The next course was a tranche of sea bass with garlic chips, small squids and Bouillabaisse in a basil sauce.
We were then served a filet of St. Peters fish fried in a thin coat of leek with beetroot, horseradish and chives.
The next course was medallions of venison fillet with a crust of wild mushrooms, pumpkin gratin, cepes and jus of cranberry.
The cheese trolley was then wheeled over, the selection throughly explained and served.
Dessert was a plum tart on a parfait of walnuts with black nut and spiced sauce.
After dinner. pastries were then offered but we declined because by the end of this meal we were full. The pastries as well as chocolates were boxed and delivered to our room later to be enjoyed at our leisure. Now that was total thoughtfulness on their part.
Throughout our meal, Herr Fischer and his team’s service was impeccable. He explained each course in detail but with such charm and wit that we felt like we were regular customers. After our lunch Chef Wohlfahrt, with his broad smile and down to earth nature, stopped by each table to speak to the guests in the restaurant. We let the chef know that our wonderful lunch was perfect in every way. His blending of traditional German and French classic ingredients and techniques worked perfectly with new and creative ideas. His use of the very best products from the region and nearby countries blended well with herbs and seasonings from Asia and the Mediterranean.
Our lunch was not only memorable but was a lovely source happiness throughout the dining experience. The atmosphere, the wonderful service and the delicious food is what every restaurant should strive for but few achieve. The Schwarzwaldstube is a restaurant that should be on the list of any foodie that will be traveling in the Black Forest. Choose it for that special occasion or for a once in a lifetime experience and you will agree with me, that it was the culinary highlight of your trip.
You might be interesting in reading A Gem In The Black Forest about our enjoyable stay at Traube Tonbach.