Want some fine (read: delicious) dining? Then head to Baiersbronn, Germany. It has more Michelin stars per capita than any other city on earth. By Charles Runnette
DINE FAR OUT
If pig knuckles, sauerkraut, and blood sausage are all that come to mind when you think of German cuisine, plan a trip to the tiny Black Forest town of Baiersbronn, the country’s gourmet capital. Just two and a half hours from Frankfurt by car (or less, if that car’s a Mercedes or a Porsche), and only an hour from Stuttgart and Strasbourg, this tiny, picturesque home to 16,000 has three world-class restaurants that have six Michelin stars between them — more stars per capita than any other place in the world. To put it in perspective, in all Italy, there are just four restaurants with three stars each, and in Germany, there are only five (including the one in Baiersbronn). We suggest making reservations, as Michelin stars have a tendency to make seating scarce.
Just a stone’s throw from the Murg River, Jörg Sackmann, the chef and proprietor of this intimate and inviting 24-seat one-star restaurant, has developed a very distinctively un-German style, drawing on influences from Mediterranean, French, and Asian cuisines. He insists, though, that while his intense flavor combinations come from all over the world, his foodstuffs must be locally grown: He prefers hormone-free beef that was fed on the neighboring fields of wildflowers, and berries and mushrooms that were plucked from the nearby forest. Six courses for $142. Hotel Sackmann, 011-49-7447-2890, www.hotel-sackmann.de
Don’t plan any postdinner activities when you make a reservation at celebrity chef Harald Wohlfahrt’s grand yet homey three-star restaurant in the famed Traube Tonbach hotel. His French-inspired seven-course prix-fixe menus feature variations of well-loved Gallic creations like foie gras, confits, and fruit compotes, but none of it is light. Just forget about fat for one night and allow his incredible dishes — like fried fillet of red mullet with melon chutney and Thai curry sauce, and goose liver with Périgord truffles in puff pastry — transport you to another world. Entrées, $50 to $70. Hotel Traube Tonbach, 011-49-7442-4920, www.traube-tonbach.de
Chef Claus-Peter Lumpp has made this cross-town two-star establishment one of Wohlfahrt’s toughest competitors. The elegant Louis XV–style dining room and Lumpp’s innovative blending of French-Mediterranean flavors with local dishes has helped establish dinner here as one of this town’s — and the country’s — culinary musts. The specialties include locally raised veal served with white asparagus, brook trout stuffed with cherry tomatoes and drizzled with herb vinegar, and dozens of homemade cheeses and caramels. If you have the eight-course meal, settle in for three enjoyable hours of savory bites and attentive service — not to mention the wines and spirits, of which there are more than 900 to choose from to celebrate the extravagantly long meal. Entrées, $53 to $61. Hotel Bareiss, 011-49-7442-470, www.bareiss.com