Food 2019 – Alsace and Baden, Day 13, Schwarzenberg’s Traube, Glottertal

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Wednesday, 25th September 2019 – Schwarzenberg’s Traube, Glottertal

So it’s Wednesday and we discover that we can’t eat at the hotel because Wednesday is the day the kitchen is closed – I know, an odd concept in many countries where hotel kitchens never close, but many of these places are family run businesses and everyone needs a day off, so theirs is Wednesday. We had already established that the Hirschen was fully booked and couldn’t help us, which was a shame because it looked good, and the Adler, close by, was also closed on Wednesdays, and so we decided on a short walk to the Schwarzenberg Hotel to see if we could get in there. We couldn’t, and the young man who told us they were fully booked was not interested in the fact that we might be facing the prospect of no dinner, and deeply unhelpful in that he had no idea at all where else we might try.

It was raining, though not heavily, so we decided we would walk just a little further before we’d give up and get in the car and drive to civilisation in search of dinner. And that is when we spotted the Hotel Schwarzenbergs Traube which was just as you might expect a Black Forest hotel to look, and which, more importantly, had a table for us! We settled in and then spent some time trying to order an aperitif because the staff seem to consist of just two people who are rushed off their feet. When it arrived, it was a very nice local sekt and we enjoyed it while we studied the menu and tried and decide what we wanted and whether we were up to tackling their gourmet menu. They brought us bread and a form of delicious dripping to spread on it. We tried to resist and mostly succeeded.

Having decided that yes, we could tackle four courses, we started with a small (for these parts anyway) plate of venison ham, smoked, thinly sliced and served with a fruit dressing mostly of cranberries, walnuts, tomatoes and a small amount of green salad. It was tasty, full of lots of flavours that went well together, and light. We were off to a very good start, and it even went well with the sekt.

We decided we’d had a good choice foisted upon us! It definitely wasn’t just a case of making the most of a bad deal, or even the only deal. This was genuinely good food if not quite as high end as the Hirsch would have been. The fish course was a roasted fillet of salmon trout served with spinach, broccoli and a creamy sauce containing, I think, almonds. The skin was good and crisp and the flesh was soft and flaked perfectly when a fork was applied to it. Lynne didn’t care for the vegetables, but then she really can’t stand what she perceives as the bitterness of green leafy vegetables, and the entire brassica family, but I found them well cooked and tasty.

The main was excellent, being a dish of beautifully pink in the middle venison, browned to perfection on the outside, with a deep, glossy jus, served with red cabbage that was almost as good as that which my Oma used to make, shot through with apple and sugar and vinegar, and butter-bathed spaetzle, something of a local speciality and a particular favourite of mine, especially when they are as light as these were. A scattering of chives and a slice or two of fresh apple lifted the dish even further and we both enjoyed it enormously.

The wine I chose was a good one, too, although part of the reason for selecting it was a childish amusement about the winemaker’s name, it being a Moosmann 2014 Buchholzer Sonnhalde Spätburgunder, from the Sonnhalde parcel in the village of Buchholz, a vineyard known for the quality of its “Burgundy” wines. It is of course a Pinot Noir by any other name, and is matured in oak barrels, and although it was slightly lighter than some people would like, it went well with the venison.

We finished that off, and rounded the meal out with a selection of sorbets, made in house and beautifully presented. They included an apricot and I think a greengage and were sweet but tart and refreshing, an ideal way to conclude a very good meal.

Happily sated, we paid our bill, gathered our possessions together, and made a slightly damp dash back to the Hotel Schlossmuehle and a good night’s sleep, hoping for better weather in the morning.

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