The Black Forest, The Land Of Fairy Tales, might be thought of as a menacing place of witches and wolves because we grew up with stories of Hansel & Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood. Actually the Schwarzwald, as it is called in Germany, is a wonderful destination to visit. The countryside is dotted with farms, villages with half-timbered homes, and forests of oak, beech and fir growing so thick that they appears black.
The Black Forest region has always been associated with good food made from local ingredients such as mushrooms growing in the woods, schnapps made from local fruit and thin slices of ham served with hearty bread along with beer or wine. Throughout the year, the small villages and towns hold festivals to celebrate the different crops that are being harvested. You will often see people wearing traditional clothing at these celebrations. The most famous item of clothing from the Black Forest is the Bollenhut, the distinctive hat with large red pompoms, that is worn by young unmarried women. While it is the symbol of the Black Forest, it is usually worn only in certain communities.
Click on any photo in the galleries below to see a slide show.
When my husband and I visit this area, we love to stay at the Traube Tonbach. It has been a family run hotel for seven generations and is the first choice of many food lovers who visit the Black Forest.
The hotel is located in the town of Baiersbronn where three restaurants hold a total of seven Michelin stars. Traube Tonbach is famous for its restaurant, Schwarzwaldstube. Chef Harald Wohlfahrt has held 3 Michelin stars continuously since 1992 and his inspired cuisine is respected by chefs throughout Germany. Over the years, more than thirty of his former staff members have received Michelin stars of their own. Last year, my husband and I dined at the Schwarzwaldstube. It was the culinary highlight of our European trip and you can read about the outstanding meal here.
The hotel has four restaurants and has won an award for having the best hotel food in Europe. That award alone lets you know how wonderful the meals are that you will enjoy when you dine at Traube. We have eaten at all of Traube’s restaurants over the years but I want to showcase the restaurant Silberberg, that is only available to hotel guests for breakfast and half board.
There is an incredible choice at the breakfast buffet…it is not to be missed.
In the US, if you stay at a hotel that has the option of half board, you are usually served a nondescript evening meal. If you take the half board option at Traube, you will have your evening meal at the Silberberg restaurant and you will be in for a real treat. The room is beautifully decorated and has panoramic windows looking out at the Black Forest. We had wonderful multi course dinners nightly including a seven course candlelight dinner on Saturday night.
While staying at Traube, I like to plan day trips from the hotel to not only other towns in the Black Forest but the beautiful Alsace region of France. By crossing the Rhine river at Strasbourg, it is about a forty-five minute drive to the west. The town of Ottrot on the Alsace Wine Route makes a wonderful destination for a light French lunch of tarte a l’oignon or zwiebelkuchen as it is called in German. We always make sure we are back at the hotel in the early afternoon so we may spend some relaxing time in their wonderful spa, saunas and pools.
While the Black Forest is the land of fairy tales made famous by the Grimm brothers, it has also become famous for its natural beauty, delicious food and the warm hospitality of the people living in the area that make you feel so welcomed. This is a region that is often associated cuckoo clocks and is proud of its heritage in clock making, wood carving and other longstanding traditions. If you get a chance to visit this area, I believe you will agree with me that it is a wonderful region in Germany.