From Apple Weeks to learning to cook with an Olympic Skier
From Apple Weeks to learning to cook with an Olympic Skier
The region of Lake Constance - The spectacular location of Lake Constance, lovingly called ‘Bodensee’ by local residents brings together the very best from its bordering countries, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the nearby Principality of Liechtenstein including charming villages, stunning vistas of the Alps, beautiful walks through apple orchards, off road cycling routes, baroque churches and medieval castles. What it also brings together are some exquisite local delicacies and traditional dishes. A huge amount of organic fresh produce is grown on the Monastic Island of Reichenau (a UNESCO world heritage site) and nearby vineyards use the very grapes that grow on the shores of Lake Constance to produce some spectacular wine.
The region takes great pride in its heritage and century old dishes such as Spätzle and Knöpfle (forms of pasta) are still being produced with each region around Lake Constance adding their own little twist. Dünnele is the Alemannic version of thin crispy pizza topped with sour cream, chives and speck for example and which visitors to the region must try along with plenty of other specialties from all four countries.
There are also a number of local breweries including Ruppaner in Konstanz and Leibinger in Ravensburg where specialty beers can be enjoyed and you’ll never forget the smell of hops filling the air in Upper Swabia where they’ve been growing since the 12th century. Tettnang is famous for its ‘Green Gold’ hops which are used in a number of European pale lagers and wheat beers. Visitors to the region can gain first-hand experience of the hops harvest and elaborate drying process and more importantly, beer tastings at the Tettnang Hop Museum.
Wine is also a big draw to the area, particularly the Pinot Noir and Mueller Thurgau. As well as connecting four countries, Lake Constance and the Rhine are also home to 9 winegrowing areas, each with very individual characteristics, with some producing wine for more than 2,000 years. Guided wine tours, vineyard tours and winetasting’s are just a few highlights that guests can experience when visiting Lake Constance and for a fully immersive wine experience, why not try sleeping in a wine barrel!
At Rüedi, in Trasadingen, Switzerland visitors can enjoy a luxurious 2 night package staying in a wine barrel that includes buffet breakfast daily, 2 dinners, a visit to the Rötiberg vineyard, 2 wine tasting sessions and complimentary bike hire for £250pp, alternatively, a more affordable option is to stay at the Klausenhorn campsite near Konstanz, Germany, which boasts three wine barrels made of spruce wood and can be enjoyed from as little as £35 per night.
Wine and Gourmet Festivals and Experiences at Lake Constance
Wine, wine, wine - Every year during late Summer and Autumn, numerous wine festivals are held in all four countries around Lake Constance. Often accompanied by music and entertainment, the wine festivals are very much a family affair. September & October, during the grape harvesting, also sees some wine events take place in the pinot noir area around Schaffhausen.
“Genussherbst am Lindauer Bodensee”, 15th–29th October 2016
(Autumn food festival by Lake Constance – in and around Lindau)
The “Genussherbst Lindauer Bodensee Festival” offers visitors the chance to enjoy the very best regional specialties including smoked white fish fillet with a glass of Müller-Thurgau or typical Allgäu cheese and bread with a freshly pulled beer. Wasserburg, Lindau, Nonnenhorn and Bodolz team up to put on an array of daily gourmet events and tours including cheese & wine tastings, food & jazz and restaurants come on board too with select establishments serving up special Autumn menus using the very best regional and seasonal ingredients.
Apple Weeks: German shore and Thurgau region, Switzerland
10th September – 16th October 2016
The area around Lake Constance is well known for the wonderful variety of apples that are grown and they’re never sweeter than during Apple Weeks! From the apple blossom in spring to the harvest in late summer, Lake Constance apples dominate the landscape and throughout Autumn, everything revolves around Apple Week. Held in numerous locations along the German shore of Lake Constance as well as in the Thurgau region in Switzerland, traders and restaurant owners showcase the full range of apples grown in delicious, entertaining and sometimes surprising ways. Visitors are welcome to taste the apples to their hearts content, they can hop on board and enjoy a tractor ride through the orchards and learn how to make apple schnapps. Children are well catered for too with storytelling sessions and fairytale performances hosted in the orchards.
Furthermore Altnau in the Thurgau region is well known for the wonderful variety of apples (Jonagold, Gala & Braeburn) Visitors can choose one of three ‘Apple Paths’, all of which weave through orchards and fruit plantations across rolling hills, allowing for spectacular views down to the lake. These paths can be explored by foot, bike or even on horseback. There is a special path for children with games and activities, information stations, storytelling sessions and fairytale performances hosted in the orchards along with a picnic area.
The Triesenberger Wochen, Food Festival
From mid-October until the end of November, the picturesque village of Triesenberg invites guests to sample the very best regional cooking at the Triesenberger Wochen, a festival of cooking which sees the Kainer, Kulm, Edelweiss and Guflina restarurants all serve up a selection of traditional dishes from the delicious pasta-like 'Chääschnöpfli' to the sweet 'Öpfelchüachli' (apple-flavoured doughnuts). It’s a great opportunity to discover the type of meals served many centuries ago to the Walser people, native to Liechtenstein and the surrounding area.
Cooking Class with a former Olympic Skier
'Käseknöpfle’ is Liechtenstein’s national dish, a hearty pasta-like dish with melted cheese and you’ll find that every region around Lake Constance has their own little twist on them. Take part in a cooking class and learn how to make this classic delicacy with Martha Bühler, a former alpine skier no less who not only competed and represented Liechtenstein in the 1968 and 1972 Winter Olympics but is also famed as being one of the best 'Käseknöpfle’ cooks! Classes based on groups of 6-8 people and cost £35pp. Individual appointments available on request. Click here for the Käseknöpfle recipe so you can try this at home.
If you would prefer to turn your hand to Austrian cuisine then why not learn how to cook up the traditional dish of käsespätzle, a specialty of the Bodensee-Vorarlberg region with Michael Ritter at his cooking academy in Götzis. Open to all abilities, this course costs £40 and lasts for 1.5hrs.
Gourmet Cruise on Lake Constance
One culinary highlight not to be missed is an evening gourmet cruise on Lake Constance onboard the Hohentwiel, an historic and beautifully restored paddle steamer. The Hohentwiel was recently restored and great detail and painstaking effort was taken to preserve the historical fabric of the boat. With its elegant lines, radiant white awnings, polished brass, mahogany, teak and cherry wood fittings and sublime interiors, the Hohentwiel maintains a distinguished atmosphere. Enjoy an aperitif, delicious 5-course meal conjured up by chef Heino Huber and his highly professional team. Fish is Huber’s specialty and was once described by gourmet supremo Christoph Wagner as one of the top five best chefs in Austria. From £100pp.
Whitefish Weeks, 12th September – 9th October 2016
Lake Constance is well known for Felchen a particularly delicious white fish. Come Autumn, around 20 restaurants in Untersee, the lower lake regions, offer Felchen specials – the perfect time to give it a try! For £25pp, each restaurant creates an imaginative 3 course fish menu for guests to try – think pickled Felchen with pomegranate and tuna or Felchen with an arugula bacon crust. As well as Felchen, freshly caught Kretzer or carp can also be enjoyed.
Maestrani’s Chocolarium, Opening April 2017
A visit to Maestrani’s Chocolarium near St. Gallen in Switzerland is a must for those with a sweet tooth and the new factory is due to be completed in 2017. Experience the chocolate production process first hand, create your own chocolate, enjoy chocolate tastings and much more. Maestrani chocolate is made using a secret recipe and the results are melt in the mouth.