Restaurant Obauer, One Of The Top Four Restaurants In Austria

Obauer Restaurant

Obauer Restaurant

Restaurant Obauer deserves every accolade that it receives. The restaurant is one of only four in Austria to have received four toques and 19/20 points in the Gault & Millau Austria 2017 edition and the restaurant has had this top ranking for years. Not only that, Karl and Rudolf Obauer were chosen as Gault & Millau “Chefs of the Decade” in 2012. Being the food lovers that we are, it is no wonder then that my husband and I have eaten at Obauer every single time we have visited Austria.

The restaurant is in the small village of Werfen, Austria  located in the scenic Salzach valley just about forty kilometers south of Salzburg. You may have heard of the town because located high above it is Eisriesenwelt, the world’s largest ice cave. The 900 year old Hohenwerfen Castle and falconry center is also perched on a high peak above Werfen.

Since we were staying just north of Salzburg, we decided to made a lunch reservation, then took the scenic route to the restaurant. After being seated at our table, Rudi came out of the kitchen to welcome us back to Obauer.

Soon after, little gifts from the kitchen started arriving while we looked at the menu. We looked, no we didn’t read the menu, as we don’t understand a word of German. Not a problem at Obauer, our waitress explained every dish to us and after that, we decided on their four course tasting menu. We were told that we could substitute an item if we chose to and my husband didn’t hesitate a second to decide on the foie gras prepared four ways for his first course…he is so predictable.

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The four course menu of the day sounded delicious and I didn’t change a thing.

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There is always a few sweet tastings to go along with a cup of coffee to end the meal.

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The meal from the start to the finish was delicious, the food compositions were beautiful and the flavors just amazing. Two brothers as chefs, one fantastic lunch, we’ve never been disappointed with any meal we’ve had at the restaurant.

Not only is the food great at Obauer but chefs Karl and Rudolf Obauer are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. We couldn’t leave without Rudi insisting that we get a photo together in front of the restaurant and presented me with a Obauer apron to remember our visit.

The Chefs Obauer

The Chefs Obauer

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If you are a food lover like my husband and I, the restaurant Obauer should be on your short list of restaurants to eat at if you travel to the Salzburg region. Hopefully, you will have a meal as delicious as the ones we have enjoyed at lunchtime. Of coarse, you can stay at the Obauer hotel, enjoy a multi course meal with wine parings and then head up to bed. Over breakfast in the morning, you can reminisce about your dining experience from the night before. Oh and did I mention the scenery around Werfen, after all you can never see too many castles.

Hohenwerfen Castle In Werfen, Austria

Hohenwerfen Castle In Werfen, Austria

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Genussdorf Gmachl And The Outskirts Of Salzburg

If you want to enjoy the Austrian countryside and also visit Mozart’s city of Salzburg, hotel Genussdorf Gmachl is the perfect choice of where to stay. Located just five kilometers north of Salzburg, in the urban village of Bergheim bei Salzburg, it is the perfect base for exploring the province of Salzburg and as well as nearby Germany. It takes about ten to fifteen minutes to get into the historic heart of the city from the hotel either by car or by train, the local stop being just a short walk away. If you prefer, you can use one of the hotel’s electric bicycles and bike into town, about a fifteen minute ride along the Salzach river.

Fortress Hohensalzburg Can Been Seen Off In the Distance

Fortress Hohensalzburg, Salzburg’s Famous Landmark Towers Over The Rooftops Of The City

We have stayed at the Genussdorf Gmachl hotel several times and were in for a nice surprise when we returned this year. The hotel, which has been in the Gmachl family for seven generations, has been added on to as well as given a facelift and I love the new look.

The hotel’s bar, restaurant and breakfast room have been totally redone. They also added a second wellness center and thirty additional bedrooms. The new look is a combination of wood, glass, leathers and suede in earth tones with lots of plants and potted herbs to create a natural and contemporary environment that still retains a regional Salzburger style, I think all done very well.

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We didn’t stay in one the new hotel rooms on this trip but instead requested one of their double rooms (Panoramic) where we had stayed on a pervious visit as it has a nice sitting area with a gas fireplace to enjoy on a cool evening and a wonderful view of the gardens, Salzburg and the mountains in the background from the room’s large balcony.

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The hotel now has two wellness areas, one for families and another just for adults. The new rooftop infinity pool has a great view of Salzburg, the fortress of Hohensalzburg and the mountains in the distance. There is also a natural swimming pool and whirlpool in the garden area as well as an indoor pool with a swim through to an outdoor pool.

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I love the elements of nature found throughout the hotel including in the new spa and the garden spa. Treatment rooms are even dedicated to different herbs. The new wellness area includes an infusion sauna, a gentle herbal steam bath, an ice plunge, and a large relaxation area. The outdoor lounge area on the roof top terrace is a wonderful place to relax on a sunny day.

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Staying at the hotel on the outskirts of Salzburg makes it very convenient for traveling out to the many charming communities in the region, the beautiful lake district or even Berchtesgaden, Germany. After you’ve spent a day in town visiting Mozart’s birthplace, the cathedral, the Residenz, Mirabell Palace and gardens, try to visit the Hellbrunn Palace with its gardens and trick water fountains situated on the outskirts of the city. Other interesting places to visit are the pilgrimage basilica of Maria Plain, Hanger Seven at the Salzburg airport with the Red Bull collection of aircraft, formula one racing cars and art, picturesque Wolfgangsee and the other lakes in the outstanding Salzkammergut district, the salt mines in Hallein or in Berchtesgaden and St. Bartholomew’s church on Lake Königssee, all very enjoyable day trips.

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After a day out exploring this area of Austria or nearby southern Germany, it is nice to return to the hotel to make use of the spa and then head down to have dinner. The restaurant is excellent and has been awarded 13/20 points and a toque by Gault & Millau. Mr. Gmachl himself, stopped by our table each day to inquire if everything was to our liking. The entire staff couldn’t do enough to make sure your meals were just as you wanted.

Our meals were part of the price of our room which included a large breakfast buffet with a nice variety of sausages, cheese, breads and eggs cooked to order, an afternoon buffet with soups, salads, pastries and delicious cakes. Dinner featured specialties of traditional Austrian cuisine as well as international dishes.

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You can order a four course dinner off their regular menu or their light menu…both focasing on local, seasonal and organic products. On two different occasions we had carpaccio, not only of beef but also a seafood one as well. One evening my husband had liver and onions, probably the best either of us have ever tasted. The hotel also has another restaurant “Franz” next door that is a popular meeting place with everyone in the village. They have a nice menu and serve homemade meat and sausage specialties from their own in house butcher shop and deli.

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Some of the best and most convenient places to stay when visiting Salzburg are on the outskirts of town, especially if you have a car while on your holiday. Genussdorf Gmachl in Bergheim is a nice four star superior hotel that offers modern comfort and traditional charm and my husband and I always enjoy our stays there…now more that ever with the new additions they’ve  added to the hotel.

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Posthotel Achenkirch

Austria may be known for its alpine scenery and world class skiing but it is also known for having some of Europe’s best spas. Just south of the Bavarian border and about a half hour from Innsbruck, is the small village of Achenkirch. It lies just a few kilometers from the northern edge of Lake Achensee, which is the largest mountain lake in the Tyrol region of Austria and totally surrounded by mountains.

Achensee, Austria

Achensee, Austria

That is where you will find Posthotel Achenkirch, a wonderful five star spa resort which is  dedicated to the wellbeing of its guests.

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Compared to the other spa hotels my husband and I have stayed at over the years, the Posthotel Achenkirch is different in that it is a resort for adults. The hotel considers itself a retreat for wellness, rest, relaxation and tranquility, so no children under 14 are allowed. The owners want you to enjoy a peaceful environment so that you can recharge your body during your stay.

If you are arriving by car like we did, after checking in, you drive your car into their underground garage where your luggage will be unloaded and your car parked. Parking is free and upon  your departure, the car will be given back to you washed. We were happy to be given a tour to acquaint us with the hotel before heading to our room. The resort is large and consists of eight buildings connected by indoor passages designed like village streets with lamp posts, directional signs, fountains, flowers and lit candles everywhere.

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The Posthotel Achenkirch is a blend of relaxed country charm and elegance…warm woods, stone and wood floors, crystal and iron chandeliers, a mix of contemporary and traditional furniture, velvets and leathers, and colors of subdued blues, grays, and browns. The wood and white plaster dining rooms have brown plaid carpet and are set with all white linens and white draped chairs. There is a punch of red plaid on the upholstered chairs in the winter garden dining room.

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We were very happy with the room category we had selected. We had a very spacious junior suite with a lovely sitting area with a flat screen TV, a beautiful marble bathroom with a large soaking tub and a separate walk in shower, his and her’s vanities, one with a TV hidden in the mirror, a separate toilet room and there was a nice balcony looking out at the mountains, the little St. Anna chapel and the local parish church.

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The hotel is one of the leading spa resorts in Europe. The water and wellness worlds that make up the spa are huge. At 7000 sq. meters, the spa is one of the largest in the Tyrol region of Austria.  There is an incredible variety of indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam baths, an yin yang pool outdoors where you can switch from cold to warm water, a woman’s only section in the spa, 35 treatment rooms as well as rooms for napping and reading.

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In the underground sauna area, there is also an area designed as a sunken temple with a round meditation room. A Shaolin monk from China stays at the hotel six months of the year to teach guests how meditation helps with your health. They also have their own acupuncture specialist at the spa.

For those looking for something more active, you can sign up for daily fitness classes such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and Nordic walking. The resort also has tennis courts and its own 9 hole golf course, horse stables and indoor and outdoor riding rinks. The owners of the hotel have the largest private Lipizzaner stud farm in Europe, with 40 white stallions. They are the breed of horses closely associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria. You can sign up to take riding lessons on one of the horses or perhaps just enjoy a carriage ride pulled by Lipizzaners around the surrounding area.

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This is another resort where all your meals are included in the price of the room. There is a large buffet breakfast, a light lunch of soups, sliced local hams, cheese, salads and fruits, teas and coffees served with pastries in the afternoon and a dinner in the evening. You can order à la carte or have a meal off the buffet that usually is prepared around a different theme each evening. The meal includes a salad, dessert and cheese buffet (one evening was a special cheese night with 74 different cheeses, both local and from other regions of Europe.) There is also a spa menu and many of the products are raised and grown on their own organic farm, one of the largest in the area.

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During an afternoon drive through the most southern part of Bavaria a couple of years ago, my husband and I crossed over the border into Austria and discovered the little village of Achenkirch and drove right past this resort without knowing how lovely it was. I’m happy to say that we can now add it to the wonderful list of spa hotels that we have stayed at. If you want to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I believe you would truly enjoy the Posthotel Achenkirch. The hotel is sophisticated and luxurious and yet relaxed and informal, making for a perfect holiday.

 

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Post Hotel Lermoos

The Post Hotel in the small village of Lermoos, Austria seems to have it all…beautiful rooms, delicious food  and spectacular views of the Zugspitze. It also has a wonderful spa and is one of Austria’s Best Wellness hotels. You can enjoy relaxing therapies as well as beautiful scenery and that is what keeps my husband and I returning to this lovely hotel.

View Of The Zugspitze From The Hotel Post Lermoos

View Of The Zugspitze From The Hotel Post Lermoos

The hotel began as a post office in the center of Lermoos in 1560 and became an inn in 1702. In 2006, the hotel was completely rebuilt into the four star superior hotel that you see today.

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Decorated in a sophisticated yet casual country house style, the hotel and its employees make you feel welcome the minute you walk through the front door.

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After checking in at reception, we headed up to our beautiful room. This year we had a junior suite with a view of the Zugspitze that was quite lovely. It had a kingsize bed, a comfortable seating area, a large flat screen TV, and a small table and bench next to a tiled heater for cold nights. The large bathroom had double sinks, a bathtub and walk in shower and separate toilet.

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After unpacking, it was time to head down to the hotel lobby. There is a nice bar and a separate smoking lounge, if you are so inclined. Next we always head out onto the terrace at the back of the hotel to enjoy the  breathtaking scenery.

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If it is a nice day, a light lunch or a slice of Sacher torte at one of the dining tables on the terrace is delightful. If it is cool, you can snuggle in one of the fur lined chairs next to one of the fireplace heaters that line the terrace.

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The afternoon is a great time to head down to the wellness center. You are provided with a bag, bathrobe and slippers for the spa. There is both an indoor and outdoor pool that are connected with a glass door that you can swim through and a whirlpool. 

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In the spa area there is an herbal steam bath, brine bath, aroma bath, bio sauna, Tyrolean sauna, ice cave, cold water plunge and relaxation rooms. There is even a separate family area with a steam bath and sauna. The beauty spa has all kind of treatments, scrubs, baths and massages available.

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In the evening, it is time to head down to the bar for an before dinner cocktail and then on to dinner. The price of your room includes full board which is a full breakfast, a light lunch, cakes in the afternoon and in the evening you are served a six course gourmet meal. The wine cellar, overseen by sommelier Markus Saletz, has been voted one of the best in Austria. Markus has remembered us each time we have visited the hotel and always recommends a wonderful wine to go along with what we have ordered for dinner.

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After a good night’s sleep, it is a pleasure to awake to the wonderful views of the mountains and plan you day’s adventures. Within an hours drive of the hotel, you can cross the border into Bavaria and visit the beautiful pilgrimage church of Wies, Ludwig’s famous Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Palace outside of Fussen, Garmisch-Partennkirchen, and the storybook villages of Oberammergau and Mittenwald.

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Sun Setting At The End Of A Wonderful Day

Sun Setting At The End Of A Wonderful Day

Whenever we travel to Austria, I believe the Hotel Post in Lermoos will always be one of our stops. The countryside is beautiful and the hotel leaves nothing to be desired.

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Mittenwald, One Of Bavaria’s Most Picturesque Villages

If you are planning a trip to Bavaria, then you should add the small village of Mittenwald to your list of places to visit. I believe that it is one of the most charming and picturesque towns in the region.

Mittenwald, Germany

Mittenwald, Germany

To truly enjoy Mittenwald wander the streets, Obermarkt is the main pedestrian zone. It is just a short walk from one end of the town to the other, with a carved violin in a square at one end and the beautifully painted baroque parish church of Saints Peter and Paul at the other.

Everywhere you look there are beautiful old buildings with ornately carved gabled roofs, pretty wooden balconies and in many cases, stunning painted facades. The frescos are known as lüftlmalerei, similar to the baroque frescos seen inside many churches in Southern Germany. Most of the frescos date from the 18th century and are biblical in nature, very common throughout Bavaria and the Austrian Tirol region.

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A small stream flows down the center of the main street with little wooden bridges for crossing to the other side of the street. Along with way are pretty old water fountains and flowers everywhere.

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The town has been known worldwide for years for its violin making. In a dominate place in town, next to the church, is a statue of Matthias Klotz, a master violin maker, who made Mittenwald famous for its’ stringed instruments that are still being handmade here.

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The town and its residents still hold on to age old traditions, often wearing traditional Bavarian clothing, especially on Sundays and when attending weddings held at the beautiful church. While on our visit, my husband and I were lucky enough to see a wedding group as they were just leaving their ceremony.

Two young men held a laundry line with violin parts and paper hearts for the couple to walk under as they left the church. (I believe this goes back to the tradition of hanging new wood violins in the sun to achieve a nice dark color.) A beautiful flower decorated carriage with two horses awaited the couple after a procession through the streets.

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If the weather is nice, one of the pleasures of visiting Mittenwald is sitting outside at one of the many cafes to have a locally brewed beer and a Bavarian snack of weisswurst with sweet mustard and a pretzel. If you are in the mood for something sweet, then perhaps a slice of cake and coffee or a dish of ice cream would be more to your liking.

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Mittenwald is a town that I can return to over and over again. The nice thing is that nothing changes and that is what I like about it…it holds on to its traditions and celebrates them daily. I do hope you will get a chance to visit this charming town on day.

 

 

 

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Wellness Residenz Schalber In Serfaus, Austria

While only 50 kilometers from St. Anton and an hour away from Innsbruck, most people have never heard of the small Tyrolean village of Serfaus unless they are skiers living in Europe. Surrounded by the Ötztal Alps with peaks over 9200 feet high, it is absolutely beautiful.

Located just north of the joint Austrian, Swiss and Italian border, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis (three historical villages)  is one of the biggest ski resort areas in Austria. The towns specialize in holidays for families with children. They come to ski in winter and then return again in the summer to hike and bike on the trails of the high plateau. This area is sometimes referred to as Austria’s “sun terrace” as it is said that the sun shines more often and more intense than anywhere else in the country.

Schalber Hotel In Serfaus, Austria

Schalber Hotel In Serfaus, Austria

My husband and I aren’t skiers, hikers or cyclists so you might wonder what has brought us back for a second visit to Serfaus. One reason…the Wellness Residenz Schalber. Rated 19 out of 20 points and awarded the top rating of 4 lilies by the Relax Guide of Austria, Schalber is one of the top spa hotels in Austria.

The Majestic Mountain Peaks Surrounding Serfaus, Austria

The Majestic Mountain Peaks Surrounding Serfaus, Austria

A serpentine road, that made me wince a few times, takes you up to the village. As you enter Serfaus, the road ends at a parking garage where you leave your car if you are a day visitor then take the free Dorfbahn, considered to be one of the world’s smallest and highest subways, into the village. If staying in a hotel, you can bypass the subway and drive up to where you are staying.

Schalber is at the beginning of this little village of chalets and is easily recognized by its striking entrance and beautiful fountain. After a warm and friendly welcome, a valet delivers you to the front desk, takes the luggage to your room then parks your car in the hotel’s underground garage while you are given a tour around the hotel and a welcome glass of Champagne. Gault Millau once wrote about the hotel…”from the reception to the service, all employees deserve the title extraordinary,” and I would certainly agree. From the gracious owners to the very courteous staff, everyone wants to make sure that you have an unforgettable experience at their hotel.

We had a junior suite decorated in the tradition alpine style of light colored woods. The room had a nice seating area and a balcony that looked out at the magnificent view of the surrounding mountains.

The price of the room includes full board which offers you culinary treats throughout the day. There is a large breakfast buffet, a lunch buffet, afternoon beverages served with pastries and then a five course gourmet dinner, including a salad bar. The courses feature Austrian and international cuisine with many of the ingredients coming from the hotel own’s organic farm and hunting grounds.

The beautiful spa truly feels like an oasis of relaxation with many different types of saunas and steam baths, a separate ladies spa, a large panorama sauna with wonderful views of the mountains, an outdoor pool, seawater pool and a relaxation area with lounge chairs and waterbeds and a fitness room.

Life in Serfaus is geared towards outdoor adventures for all ages but we enjoyed just walking through the narrow lanes winding through the village, stopping into the beautiful church on a lovely sunny afternoon.

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The Tyrolean village of Serfaus is picture perfect. The first time we visited Schalber was during the Christmas holiday season a few years ago and it looked like something out of a postcard.

Wellness Hotel Schalber During The Winter Season

Wellness Residenz  Schalber During The Winter Season

Unfortunately, my husband was very ill and never got to leave our room for the three days we were there. We knew that we had to return someday and on this visit, we made up for everything we missed out on and thoroughly enjoyed the hotel and all of its wonderful facilities.

 

 

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Lake Tegernsee And The Seehotel Überfahrt

Nestled in a valley in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, you will find Lake Tegernsee with five pretty little villages around it shoreline. A little less than an hour’s drive southeast of the bustling city of Munich, it is a very popular destination for those wanting to enjoy fresh air, the lake’s beautiful turquoise blue waters and the views of mountain peaks that lie just beyond.

Tegernsee, Germany

Lake Tegernsee, Germany

Whether boating or enjoying other water sports on the lake, hiking in the foothills of the Alps, shopping in small boutiques, having a meal in one of the many restaurants or simply enjoying a beer at an outdoor beer garden, Lake Tegernsee has a lot to offer anyone visiting this area of Bavaria.

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Seehotel Überfahrt In The Town Of Rottach-Egern

Seehotel Überfahrt In The Town Of Rottach-Egern

The five star resort hotel Althoff Seehotel Überfahrt is located on the banks of the Tegernsee in the pretty town of Rottach-Egern. The hotel’s name Überfahrt, which means crossing in German, came about from the early ferrymen that used to row passengers across the lake. You can now take a regular scheduled ferry across the lake from in front of the hotel or from several other points around the lake.

Walking into the Überfahrt,  you see that the hotel has a different feel from many of the other traditional Bavarian hotels located around the lake. It is contemporary, with a  classical modern decor of polished woods, leather and fabrics in earth tones and wonderful artwork that reflects the history of the area, all of which creates a very stylish resort. With its well designed interior, a five star rated wellness spa and four different restaurants, one being rated three stars by Michelin, the hotel leaves nothing to be desired for anyone on holiday.

After checking in, we enjoyed a delicious pflaumenkuchen, plum cake, and cappuccino in the lobby while we waited for our room to be made ready. A little later, my husband and I were shown to our lovely room that had a balcony with views out over Lake Tegernsee.

The Seehotel Überfahrt made a great base for exploring the beautiful countryside of Bavaria with its romantic castles and pretty villages where the people still enjoy their long held culture and customs. Returning to the hotel each day after sightseeing and before dinner, my husband and I headed down to the hotel’s wonderful spa, 4 Elements, to relax and enjoy the pool, seven different saunas and steam baths.

When making our reservation to stay at the Überfahrt, we selected the hotel’s “dine around” offer that included our room, a buffet breakfast each morning and our nightly meals. You get to choose a three course dinner off the menus from their three specialty  restaurants and if you decide on their three star restaurant, you will get a meal credit. Unfortunately, there was a large conference being held at the hotel during our stay so we only got to eat in two of their four restaurants. We had excellent Italian dishes in the restaurant Il Barcaiolo and alpine cuisine in the Egerner Bucht. The modern dining rooms have large windows that look out at the garden and lake beyond and the walls are hung with black and white photos that give the restaurants a contemporary feel.

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With its easy proximity to Munich, Lake Tegernsee and the Seehotel Überfahrt made a great base for exploring this section of Bavaria. Even thought it was cooler than normal for early October, my husband and I found fall to be a lovely time of the year to explore the pretty back roads around the lake and the lovely countryside in the surrounding area. It even snowed overnight on our last day in this area of Bavaria, giving the surrounding mountains a pretty dusting of white. I’m sure each season is delightful here, especially summer when you can enjoy all the outdoor activities around the lake.

 

 

 

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Hotel Bareiss, Perfection In The Black Forest

Germany’s Black Forest, located at the border of Germany, France and Switzerland, makes an ideal holiday destination and can easily be explored in a few days. From its vast forests with hundred of miles of hiking trails to its river valleys planted with vineyards, from the sophisticated spa town of Baden-Baden to the picturesque rural villages located on its winding back roads, there are plenty of cultural sites for everyone’s travel tastes.

While you may be familiar with some of the region’s specialties like Black Forest cake, cherry brandy and the legendary smoked hams, you may not know that the region has become a foodie destination with its updated traditional German food. The small community of Baiersbronn is now considered by some to be its “culinary capital”. It has three holiday resorts that have become famous because of  their well known restaurants and have the distinction of being awarded a total of eight Michelin stars between them.

Hotel Bareiss

Hotel Bareiss, Baiersbronn-Mitteltal, Germany

One of those resorts is Hotel Bareiss, considered one of Europe’s finest luxury wellness hotels. Situated in the village of Baiersbronn-Mitteltal, the hotel and its beautifully landscaped gardens seem to fit in perfectly in its northern Black Forest surroundings and has the charm of a small elegant and sophisticated country inn.

The Bareiss sets the standard by which all other hotels must be judged. The unparalleled hospitality of the staff is what makes the hotel special. From the moment my husband and I walked through the front door and were warmly greeted by the staff, dressed in traditional clothing, until the morning we were wished a safe journey on the rest of our holiday, we were made to feel welcome in a warm and heartfelt way…each member of the staff greeted us by name throughout the hotel and spoke to us in perfect English.

We were shown to our comfortable large double room, the Weißenbachtal, with a living and bedroom area, a walk-in closet and balcony with a lovely view of the pools and church in the background. Just as we were settled in, there was a ring from the doorbell and we were greeted with glasses of champagne.

For total relaxation, it was now time to explore the resort’s Sauna World. The hotel’s wonderful wellness spa includes indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, hammans, massage rooms, and solariums for quiet relaxation. The pampering environment was perfect for unwinding as we did after our overseas flight and drive from the Frankfurt airport into the heart of the Black Forest.

Bareiss is perhaps most known for its food, from the wonderful breakfast buffet in the morning to the fine regional cuisine served in the evening in one of their several restaurants. I made a reservation for lunch months in advance for one of the eight tables in the luxurious small dining room of Restaurant Bareiss. We wanted to experience one of the multi course tasting menus of Chef Claus-Peter Lumpp who has earned three Michelin stars for the gourmet restaurant. The lunch was outstanding and a review of the meal will be made in a later post.

Lunch At Three Star Michelin Restaurant Bareiss

Lunch At Three Star Michelin Restaurant Bareiss

In the evening before or after dinner, it is nice to head to the hotel bar where there is an excellent selection of whiskeys, rum, gin, liquors and regional fruit based spirits with which the friendly staff creates an impressive list of cocktails. There is usually a man at the piano playing and singing and around midnight the bar serves up a little something to tide you over until breakfast. Next to the bar, there is a glass enclosed smokers’ lounge that will remind you of an English study.

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When traveling in Europe, I tend to look for two things when deciding on hotels…good food and good facilities. The Bareiss, certainly did fit what my husband and I were both looking for as a start to our holiday. The majority of guests seem to be regulars that have been coming for years for an extended holiday of hiking in the fresh air, relaxing and enjoying good food and I can understand why. While we were there for just three days, we felt the hotel is a destination that is definitely worth flying across the ocean for and was a memorable experience that will spoil us for all future hotels.

Bareiss prides itself on having the highest level of service and that is taught at their own training academy on premise. Friendly attention and perfect service was shown by everyone who crossed our paths and we lacked for nothing. We learned that this doesn’t happen by accident, hospitality comes from their heart and Bareiss has lots of heart. It is absolute perfection in the Black Forest and I can’t wait to return.

 

 

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Spa Holiday For Food Lovers

With a long history going back to the Romans, who built baths around thermal and mineral springs, Germany and Austria are home to some of the world’s best spa and wellness resorts. Spas known not only for their health facilities, many are also destinations for food lovers from around the world.

Europeans seem to understand the benefits of taking a spa holiday and know that good food is as much a part of the whole travel experience as is relaxation, clean air, mountains and rivers…all contribute to a sense of well being. They visit the spas to benefit both their body and mind.

Whether called a spa, wellness center, therme or bad, these modern spas have a variety of steam rooms, dry saunas, hot tubs, indoor and outdoor pools, cold plunges and relaxation areas as well as quiet rooms for spa treatments. Spa goers can totally unwind from the stress of their busy lives.

While on their holiday, they make every effort to enjoy the fresh air in the resort’s outdoor surroundings. They go horseback riding, play golf, hike, bike, and perhaps swim in the cold waters of a pristine lake.

.Just imagine a day where you receive a massage with hot stones then get wrapped in a thick terry robe and relax in a lounge that has floor to ceiling windows with views of a beautiful lake or mountain scenery. After a day of pampering, you dress for dinner at one of the resort’s gourmet restaurants and enjoy fine regional cuisine of the area.

If fine dining is as important to you as a relaxing massage or facial, then you will want to follow along over the coming weeks as my husband and I travel once more to Europe and visit “spas for food lovers”. This year, we will be staying at eight outstanding spa resorts, four in Germany and four in Austria.

While we enjoy traveling to many other parts of Europe, the states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in Germany and the states of Tirol and Salzburg in Austria are more appealing to us than some of Europe’s more famous but overcrowded destinations. With their good roads, postcard vistas, pristine villages and friendly residents, these regions keep drawing us back for another visit.

Each of the fantastic resorts have something special about them…one is a restored 18th century German hunting lodge, one sits high up on a 4600 ft. plateau surrounded by the Austrian Alps, another has the largest private Lipizzaner stud farm in Europe with 40 white stallions, and another is a stylish lakeside retreat just 45 minutes from Munich. One thing they all have in common is beautiful spa facilities that focus on wellness. Each hotel has excellent restaurants, some accumulating many fine dining awards. Two of the spa resorts have well known restaurants that have been awarded three stars by Michelin.

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“Beauty, relaxation, vitality, joy and pleasure…they are a vital part of life”, is the philosophy promoted at Wellness-Residenz Schalber, one of the top rated spa hotels in Austria. That seems to sum up why spa holidays are enjoyed by so many Europeans.

 

 

 

 

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Chicken Cordon Bleu With An Italian Twist

Cordon Bleu, the name is French for “blue ribbon”, is a cutlet of thinly pounded veal or chicken wrapped around ham and cheese, breaded and then pan fried or baked. While France, Germany, Italy and the U.S. claim to have invented different versions of this dish, food historians say that it first appeared in cookbooks in Switzerland in the 1900’s.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Served With Lemon Risotto And Zucchini

Chicken Cordon Bleu Served With Lemon Risotto And Sautéed Zucchini

Think of Chicken Cordon Bleu as stuffed fried chicken and you can understand why this classic dish is now making a comeback…even to the family dinner table. With its crunchy seasoned breadcrumb coating, savory Italian rosemary ham and melted cheese, this moist and tender chicken dish will be a big hit when served to both friends and family. The nicest part about this recipe is that the majority of the prep work can be done early in the day or even the day before.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Serves 4, adjust the recipe accordingly

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, well trimmed
  • 12 very thin slices of imported Italian rosemary ham
  • 6 to 8 slices of Fontina, Gruyère or Münster cheese (I’ve tried several and personally like Münster as it melts well but doesn’t seep out during the cooking process)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten well
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs, depending on the size of the cutlets
  • 1/2 c. Italian style seasoned bread crumbs, depending on the size of the cutlets
  • 1/4 c. olive oil, depending on the size of the sauté pan
  • 3 Tbsp. butter

Wash the chicken breasts, then place each one between two sheets of plastic wrap and carefully pound thin. Unwrap and spread each breast on one side with a light coating of mustard then season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to your taste. Place three slices of ham on each cutlet then top with cheese (it will take about 1 and 1/2 slices to cover each breast). Fold in the long sides of the cutlet and then roll up.  Wrap the roll in plastic wrap and twist the ends tight to look like a sausage. Refrigerate the rolls for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (Can be made ahead up to a day in advance).

Place the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Take plastic off the chicken, skewering if necessary to hold tight, then roll lightly in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip into the eggs, then coat in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the crumbs so they stick. (Can be made to this point earlier in the day and placed on a rack on a tray in the refrigerator. If any wet spots have appeared in the crumbs at the time of cooking, dab with extra crumbs).

Heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over moderate heat and when hot cook the rolls on all sides just until lightly browned (about a minute on each side). Then place on a rack on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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While very popular at dinner parties and weddings in the ’60’s and ’70’s, the dish lost its appeal as new food tends became popular in later years. As tastes have changed once again, Chicken Cordon Bleu is now true comfort food.  Cut open its golden crispy crust and watch as the melted cheese slowly oozes out and you’ll know why the dish is worthy of a blue ribbon. If you want to gild the lily so to speak, you can serve this chicken with a sauce but it certainly isn’t necessary.

What makes this dish go from ordinary to one of the best chicken dishes ever is the quality of the ingredients used in its preparation. Please don’t use packaged boiled ham and cheese from the refrigerated aisle of your local grocery store, instead buy the ingredients from your deli where you can taste and purchase the very best and most flavorful ingredients available.

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