The fruits of Germany’s Black Forest
The hotel currently offers up to 52 seminars a year in topics like Asian food or truffles and fish, pairing international ingredients with local ones. Outside the classroom, guests can learn more about the foods found in the Black Forest on a Schlemmerwanderung, or Feast Hiking Tour, led by chef Friedrich Klumpp, from the Höferköpflestube restaurant at the Hotel Rosengarten, located 5km from the Traube Tonbach. Along the four-hour, 7km hikes that run from April to August, chef Klumpp points out some of the ingredients that can be found in the Black Forest, such as mushrooms, herbs, honey and berries. Guests then get to sample many of them in snacks like sparkling wine or mineral water with elder blossom syrup; a baguette topped with watercress curd; herb dumplings with creamed chanterelles; wild herb salad with wild berry dressing; walnut bread with cranberry butter, venison ham, fresh-picked olives and walnuts; and for dessert, foraged ground ivy with chocolate, parfait from spruce tips and fresh blueberry cake.
About 80% of the land around Baiersbronn is forest, which provides fresh berries and herbs, mushrooms and wild game to both professional chefs and home cooks. But the government wants to turn some of that forestland into a national park, and many citizens are firmly against the idea. As it is, there is not much land for growing food outside of the forest. The land that is not covered in a canopy of tree so thick it blocks out the sun (and confirms why the Black Forest was so named), is dotted with tiny farmhouses belching woodsmoke from their chimneys, and small plots of land where a few lone goats, pigs or cows graze.
Government control of the land would mean locals will no longer have access to it as a source of food, a shift that could significantly change the way people think about food in Baiersbronn. The matter of the national park will be decided in October 2013, so it is not known yet if, or how, the chefs and the people of the region will have to adapt in the future. For now, the world-class cuisine of Baiersbronn remains inextricably linked to the land and the particular ingredients available here, a bounty used to create some of the best food in Germany, and even some of the best food in the world.