I’m not quite sure how, but it is October tomorrow. It doesn’t really feel like it as it is unseasonably warm in London at the moment, and I just got back from holiday.
For the past few days, Ollie and I have been in Baden-Baden. If you’re not familiar, it is a little town in Germany’s Black Forest, south of Frankfurt and close to the French border. It is famous for its thermal waters and its beautiful spas attract people from all over the region. We spent quite a considerable amount of time at the Carcalla Baths. It was a holiday after all.
As well as this, there was, of course, lots of eating and drinking. Here are a few highlights:
Much to my constant dismay, I have never liked beer. Fortunately, my husband is rather a fan and got to sample quite a few different beers during our time there. With Oktoberfest imminent, a lot of the bars were promoting their own hausbrau. Two of the best were at Amadeus and Lowenbrau. The latter has a really nice beer garden.
This is an Alsace speciality that is also known as Tarte Flambee on the French side of the border. It is a very thin, almost pizza-like dough, traditionally topped with sour cream, bacon and onions. We ate at the Theaterkeller, where they have a number of different varities of flammkuchen, including this one with breasola.
Black Forest Cake
No trip to the Black Forest is complete without sampling the schwarzenwalden kirschetorte, the region’s most famous cake. Many were put off by the old Sara Lee frozen desserts of the 1990s, but the real deal is a thing of beauty. Light chocolate sponge, slightly-boozy-slightly-sour cherries and an abundance of blousy whipped cream.
As ubiquitous in Germany as good beer, you never have to look hard to find a good sausage. We found these at a farmers’ market in the small town of Buhl, just outside of Baden-Baden; three euros for a gargantuan sausage in bread. We both opted for the feuerwurst, a sausage heavily spiced with paprika and chilli, and doused it in dijon mustard. Three euros.
You could eat cake every day for a year in Baden-Baden and never be satisfied. I cannot help but love a place that takes baking so seriously. This was another favourite cake from the trip, from a small riverside bakery in Buhl: a chocolate and almond cake topped with sweet apricots.
Not really a German speciality, but I always like to try the local take on a burger. This one was from Leo’s, a famous Baden-Baden restaurant where Bill Clinton apparently dined. It was 18 euros, but it was also very good. The meat was excellent quality and cooked medium (not quite medium-rare, sadly) and the other components worked well. My husband had an excellent fillet steak for not much more money, that came with béarnaise sauce and dauphinoise. A rare case of food envy.
There’s only so many times you can quote Ich bin eine Berliner whilst holding a doughnut. This one came from a bakery in a small village called Steinbach. The only thing open on a Sunday morning for miles. Luckily they did coffee too.