Black Forest Fables Andy Montgomery | Posted: 06 January 2016
The Black Forest in Germany

There are many misconceptions floating around even the most open-minded of us, clouding our thoughts and blurring our vision, and I am no exception. My first thoughts about our Black Forest assignment ran to two immediate stereotypes: dark woodland paths probably patrolled by wolves and witches; and a mushy, bland gateau that was the de rigueur dessert of the 1970s. I was wrong on both counts.

Far from being one homogenised, all-consuming mass, the Black Forest is an ever-shifting amalgam of beech, oak, elm, maple, birch, alder and spruce. Sometimes it swallows you up, absorbing all sound and light, sheltering you from the outside world and cosseting you in its scented embrace. At other times its presence takes on an ethereal quality, the sunlight penetrating deep into its heart and lighting the underside of its leaves like paper lanterns. And sometimes it just walks quietly beside you like an obedient dog at heel, so quiet you barely notice it.

Oberried, Black Forest, Germany

With beguiling paths that take you as much above and around the woods as through them, the scenery is at its most elegant when viewed from high meadows speckled with wild flowers and grazed by white-faced cows or from the shores of mirrored lakes set amongst the trees like droplets of sapphire on a green canvas. Only then does the real beauty of this fairy-tale landscape reveal itself, and there's not a wolf or a witch in sight.

But the biggest surprise to shatter my preconceptions was that the forest doesn't just look good, it tastes good too. Exceptionally good in fact.

Wonderful Black Forest cuisine

With a doorstep pantry of wild garlic, herbs, berries, venison, wild boar, mushrooms, lake fish, nuts and an abundance of fruits, Josep Fehrenbach, chef and owner of the Waldhotel in Alpersbach, produces top-notch dishes infused with the scents and tastes of the forest. Freshly baked tomato bread with sour cream; trout fillet laced with juniper; venison cooked in straw; terrine of guinea fowl with blueberry sauce; fillet steak with rosemary polenta; and chocolate mousse with lavender were just some of the flavours to grace our dinner table.

At the Peterle Hotel in Falkau-Feldberg, the restaurant dining room buzzes nightly with residents and diners enjoying the traditional Black Forest dishes prepared by Tobias Müller and his team who give classic recipes a creative makeover. Peppery parsnip soup with chilli and ginger; succulent pork fillet stuffed with Black Forest ham and smothered in melted cheese; herb-infused leg of wild boar with home-made spätzle and wild mushrooms. All brought the scents of the forest back to life on the plate and provided the perfect end to another perfect day.

Black Forest Gateau

As for Black Forest gateau, there were not many days when it didn't grace the kaffee und kuchen  hour on the terrace of some hütte  overlooking yet another glorious meadow. But this was a far cry from my memories of the Sara Lee version that emerged from restaurant kitchens with monotonous regularity. Light and fluffy, with plump, soft cherries oozing their red sweetness into fresh cream, this was cake worth walking a very long way to enjoy.

Further Information & Related Holidays

An awakening in the Black Forest

You can read more about Andy’s impressions of the Black Forest on her own blog.

Buzz Trips website >

A walk in the Black Forest

The Black Forest is undoubtedly a paradise for walkers. Our walking holiday features varied routes, charming hotels and fine gastronomy.

More about our walking holiday in the Black Forest >

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