Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Schwarzwald and the Best Black Forest Cake Ever
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Impossibly blue skies, luscious grass, quaint houses and never-ending trees. Mostly, the black forest (Schwarzwald) was about fresh air and storybook scenery. We stayed at Freiburg, the main tourist entry point to the Black Forest, which was a small but bustling University town. The farmers' market at the Münsterplatz (town square) that takes place everyday except Sunday induced in me serious envy - if only I had access to farmer markets where I live in Germany! I've always dreamt of making rhubarb pies in rhubarb season, or fitting the season's best white asparagus into the dinner menu, things like that. I'm still dreaming. Anyway, if you need a snack, there are stalls selling grilled german sausages at the market too. They always smell amazing. And if you want to visit the Freiburg Minster (Cathedral of Freiburg), well, you can't miss it once you're at the Münsterplatz. There's shopping to be done along the cobblestone streets, and little canals you'll spot (people used to fight fires with these in medieval days!). We took a train down to Lake Titisee, which was actually frozen. Here, you can visit the multitude of stores selling everything from Black Forest Ham to Cuckoo Clocks to random souvenirs. We followed a sign pointing towards "Cafe Alpenblick" into the Black Forest, and was rewarded with spectacular views. The third last photo was one of those views you actually got to enjoy with a slice of cake and some tea. Absolutely amazing. Cafe Alpenblick was supposed to serve very good cakes, but I thought they were just okay. The views make up for everything though, really.
Now, in the Black Forest vicinity, there are two things you need to try - Black Forest Cake and Black Forest Ham. The Black Forest ham is so named because it is first cured for two weeks with salt, then cured for another two without and cold smoked for up to nine months. It is smoky and flavourful, with a texture similar to that of Parma Ham. A very worthy specialty of the region. We also had a taste of Roasted Pork Knuckle and Spätzle noodles, typical Bavarian dishes, which isn't really the cuisine of the region. Perhaps this explains why it wasn't the best pork knuckle I've had (The best pork knuckle I've had so far was in Munich, the capital of Bavaria). Oh yes, that slice of Black Forest Cake right there from the 550-year-old Café Schmidt in Freiburg, that is one amazing slice of cake. I felt like I've lived all these years not knowing what Black Forest cake ought to taste like... At the risk of sounding corny, I really did think this slice of cake changed my life in some way. In that discoveries like this is what gives travelling meaning - to think you know how something tastes like, then to taste it as its source and discover that you knew nothing about it. Isn't it always the smallest things that change your life in small but unexpected ways? I don't know how Black Forest cake is done where you come from, but over here in the the Black Forest region where it originated, master pâtissier Karl Guth from Café Schmidt knows how to do it best - "Take three layers of really good chocolate cake and sprinkle with really good Kirschwasser [cherry brandy]; whisk up fresh cream with a little sugar and more Kirschwasser; decorate with Morellen, sour cherries, soaked in Kirschwasser." (the Telegraph) Can you imagine just how amazing it tasted? The fresh cream, alcohol, chocolate and sour cherries came together gorgeously. You really need the freshest cream you can lay your hands on to make everything pop. I did try a few other Black Forest cakes in the region, but the one at Café Schmidt literally takes the cake. I'll never have Black Forest cake any other way now.
Tel: 0761 36967
Pin It Now!