Lazy Summer Days Tootling Around Villages
Every time I come back to the Alsace region I remember how beautiful it is and say to myself ‘ I must do this more often.’ It is a stunning part of France with rolling vineyards and endlessly beautiful villages some with the old part still beautifully preserved.
I first stumbled onto this region by accident about 15 years ago when we took a boat to cruise down the Moselle river. It appealed to me the genteelness, the pace, the beauty and over the years when ever we drove the car back to London from Austria we would often route our journey back choosing small hotel de charme or Relais and Chateaus.
This year we placed ourselves in the Château D’isenbourg in Rouffache surrounded by vineyards. Its pretty and the staff are friendly. Our room was very big but needed updating and our bathroom was tiny and old. They have a new section which is probably more modern. It was a great place for our wine tasting visits and nearby villages. But I do get annoyed when there is clearly a lovely place with indoor and outdoor pool gorgeous grounds and views but it was let down by its restaurant with haphazard its service.
The terrace at the restaurant Tommeries is breathtaking but I found the service very slow and the food bland. We waited over an hour for our terrine of foie Gras and it took at least half of that time to get our aperitif.
While the food was beautifully presented, it was rather tasteless There seemed to lack any leadership to ensure service was run smoothly.
The buffet breakfast however, was lush with fresh juices abundance of fruits pastries meats breads and homemade jams that were divine but again coffee took forever to come. It’s a pity as really this château has so much potential and the staff were helpful. This place should be superb it just needs better co-ordination in their restaurant.
Our days were spent visiting villages dotted along the route de vin. They are achingly picture perfect pretty. Cobbled streets old houses with beams… we stopped in Eguisheim where there was a wine festival with music bands. We stopped at the Dopff Cave and bought some wonderful Rieslings.
Another day we lazed in Kayserberg looking at the pottery shops . I bought a lovely jacket from totally individual and unique all natural fibres locally made.
The highlight of that part of the trip was the absolutely wonderful meal we had at La Nouvelle Auberge in Wihr-Au-Val . The aperitif of their cremant a sparkling wine of the region with their home made syrup of wood gruff was sensational,
We were sad to leave the area on our way across to the Vosges Nord to stay at the. We decided to take a meandering route and stop at more villages renowned for the local potteries
We had heard the pottery in Soufflenheim was superb and stopped by there to look at the shops. We stopped at Poterie Ernewein –Haas and had a long chat with owner and artist J.L., who spent time telling us about the families history and how their pottery is made from clay since the 11th century. We bought some wonderful pots that retain the heat and flavour in red and cream. We also bought a poulabiblmgrpois which has a central part in that you put beer or whatever flavour you want and stick the meat or chicken on top. He said the design was unique to them and gave me loads of recipes.
He suggested we stop by at Wissembourg which is juts so so beautiful. It was one of those glorious summer days and the flowers were just so colourful. Wissembourg is famous for its Abbey which is an imposing edifice in the old part of the town. We stopped by for lunch at Restaurant Le Saumon and had a pretty good salad with foie gras and salmon and wonderful chips and some snails.
The whole area is just so enticingly pretty with many villages that are listed villages fleuris and we were lucky to have glorious weather so it didn’t matter is we took wrong turnings as often we had some great surprises.
We finally made it to Villa Rene Lalique in Wingen-sur Moder which was absolutely fabulous. Read about my experience on mona-moments.com