Baiersbronn, Germany

Photo: Hotel Traube Tonbach – Familie Finkbeiner KG

Gruss aus der Küche. Greetings from the kitchen. A server, dressed in traditional clothing, smiled as she set three silver spoons in front of you. They were filled with pumpkin tartare, tomato confit, and curried cauliflower foam. Four types of bread made at a nearby bakery, rabbit four ways on a compartmental plate, and a glass of young Riesling from the Upper Rhine soon followed. Your meal, as well as your road trip, were off to a delicious start.

The best road trips are built around food. You’ve planned drives based on everything from apples and cheese to seafood and beer over the years. This excursion to Baiersbronn is a bit different, though. You’ll certainly be eating a lot of local, seasonal food. But your heart isn’t set on one particular ingredient. This time, you’re focused on restaurants.

Baiersbronn is in the Black Forest of southwestern Germany. The small town along the Murg river is home to sawmills, woodworking factories, and a medieval monastery. Most of its mountainous land is covered with fir trees. Narrow roads wind around them. Other towns in the state of Baden-Württemberg are known for their castles, spas, and beer festivals. Baiersbronn is famous for its Michelin-starred restaurants. It has eight stars altogether.

Photo: Bareiss

Your first meal was at Schwarzwaldstube at Hotel Traube Tonbach, which first opened as a tavern in 1789. In the 20th century, it became an inn and then a hotel. The restaurant was added in 1977. Sous-chef Harald Wohlfahrt arrived the next year. He took over the elegant restaurant in 1980 and, by 1992, earned three Michelin stars. He’s now considered one of the best chefs in not only Germany, but all of Europe, and he’s trained numerous chefs who have gone on to earn three of their own stars.

The fiercest competition, for both the chef and the hotel, is Chef Claus-Peter Lumpp at Hotel Bareiss just seven kilometers away. After Hotel Bareiss opened in 1951, the two family owned hotels spent decades trying to one-up each other. Restaurant Bareiss was added in 1982. The chef arrived in 1992. By 2007, he had earned three Michelin stars, as well.

You somehow managed to snag a reservation at Restaurant Bareiss only two days after your amazing meal at Schwarzwaldstube. (You spent the day in between hiking along Baiersbronn’s well-marked trails.) After such an amazing first meal, you’re hesitant about the second, especially when you see the gaudy dining room. But the delicate plates don’t match the decor. The spring menu is focused and surprisingly light. Its two fish dishes, Würbachtal char poached in grape seed oil and lightly fried angler fish served with wild broccoli and thyme sauce, are the highlights of the meal. The local raw-milk cheeses, served from a roaming trolley, are a close second.

After eating at Schwarzwaldstube and Restaurant Bareiss, you’ve covered six Michelin stars in two meals. That leaves two more in Baiersbronn. You’ll find both of them at Hotel Sackmann’s Schlossberg Restaurant, where Chef Jörg Sackmann cooks with his son, who forages for wild herbs. It’s a good thing you have another day of hiking first.

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