Eight Great Restaurants and Food Artisans Feed the Soul: Slow Food in Southwest Germany

In tranquility lies good flavor.

Love, time, and wonderful ingredients are the heart of Southwest Germany’s Soul Food and Slow Food–a movement defined by local chefs creating traditional regional specialties It’s a way to honor the past as well as transport us from our hectic daily lives and into the sublime with meals made to be savored, slowly, of course.

Artisan Unpasteurized Cheese: Langenburg Sheep’s Cheese

Deutschland Baden Wuerttemberg Langenburg Hohenlohe – Langenburger Schafskaeserei Demeterhof von Norbert Fischer Slow Food Schafskaese

Norbert Fischer’s Demeter-Hof, nestled between meadows and fields in the Hohenlohe-Langenburg region, began in the early 1980s as a small, self-sufficient farm with a couple of sheep and now has grown into a substantial operation with a huge barn, a cheese dairy, farm shop and home. Everything is made from wood and glass accented with colorful flowering plants on the roof tops. Over 250 sheep live here under the care of Fischer, their shepherd. He uses their milk to hand produce fine sheep’s milk cheeses ranging from tangy Pecorino, to mouth-watering Camembert, and strong “Roque blue” cheese. Other products include organic ice cream and meat, sheepskins and the farm’s own picture book.

Lemon Ricotta Cake

  • 3.2 cups (400 grams) flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 3/8 (340 grams butter), melted
  • 1 cup (200 grams) of sugar
  • 2 eggs

> Knead everything and spread the dough on a baking tray

Bake for 15 minutes at 170 degrees

  • 3.3 cups (800g) ricotta
  • 6.76 fluid ounces (200ml) cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 6.76  fluid ounces (200ml) lemon juice

Mix everything and pour over the dough

Bake for 30 minutes at  325°F.

Put in the fridge and before serving, sprinkle with fresh mint.


Deutschland Baden Wuerttemberg Langenburg Hohenlohe – Langenburger Schafskaeserei Demeterhof von Norbert Fischer Slow Food Schafskaese

Fragrant bubbly: Blütenzauber Manufaktur in Bächlingen

The Jagst is one of the Neckar River’s largest tributaries. It winds its way from the Eastern Alb, over the Hohenloher and Haller Plain into the Heilbronn district. On the way, it meanders through the little village of Bächlingen. This is where Bernulf Schlauch lives, the Slow Food regional coordinator for Hohenlohe and inventor of blossom champagne. He uses a laborious process to produce sparkling wines from elder, acacia, rose blossom, and meadowsweet – deliberately taking things slowly.

“These sparkling wines need time for their flavors to unfold”, says Schlauch. For him, Slow Food does not just mean allowing time for the products themselves, but also taking time for guests and delicious food.


Love of the Loaf: Eselsmühle Mill in Musberg

Eight donkeys, a shop, the Mühlenstube restaurant, a garden bistro, and a wood oven where the Demeter bread is baked. Sounds like the good old days and real proper bread, luckily at the Eselsmühle this is all on offer right now. The mill’s history goes back over 600 years, when the local millers supplied surrounding villages with food.

In 1937, the mill was acquired by the Gmelin family, who are still working passionately to preserve it and have created a genuine feel-good location in the extensive grounds surrounding the site, a place where everyday stress is banished. All the products here are certified organic and most come from this beautiful bucolic region.


Organic Fine Dining Pioneer: “1950” in Hayingen

Located in the heart of the Swabian Alb biosphere is the world’s first Demeter & Bioland fine dining restaurant. The “1950” is a new addition to the Tress family’s gastronomic offerings and honours the legacy of Grandfather Johannes, with the name marking the year he laid the foundation for the sustainable company philosophy that is still upheld today. The key feature: for every course on the vegetarian “CO2 menu” served here, guests also get comprehensive information about the ingredients. From CO2 emissions, to the distance involved between the producer and restaurant. To avoid producing waste in the kitchen, Simon Tress and his team strictly follow the principles of “leaf to root” and “nose to tail”.


Holistic Gamekeeping: Schussental Game Products in Fronreute

“Once upon a time, there were three hunters …” – it sounds like the start of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, but in fact this is how the success story began for the Schussentaler Wildmanufaktur game company in Fronreute near Ravensburg. Their mission: to convince the residents of Upper Swabia to eat game. Game lives in a natural habitat, it is sustainable and largely free from harmful influences, offering the finest quality meat with a favourable environmental impact. Nonetheless, many people have reservations about the taste and are unsure how to cook it. The Wildmanufaktur hunters are doing their bit to restore its image by selling local, freshly hunted game that is ready to cook as a roast or goulash, grilled sausage or meat loaf.


Copper pan cherries: Faller jams from Utzenfeld

Whether it’s black cherries from Baden, forest blueberries or Bühler damsons: ever since the company was founded in 1913, Faller jams have been cooked in small quantities using traditional, open copper pans and stirred by hand to preserve the natural, original taste of the fruit for the finest possible results. Short transportation distances also contribute to the quality of these jams.

Following this tradition, Faller continues to source large quantities of fruit and berries from the nearby Kaiserstuhl and Markgräflerland regions. This family-run Slow Food business has links with farmers that often go back many years. Their produce can be sampled in the “Therese” jam café. Or order jars of these sweet temptations straight from the online shop to enjoy for breakfast at home.


Slow brewing amidst the pines: Rothaus Grafenhausen, Baden’s district brewery

Baden’s district brewery, Rothaus, demonstrates how you can capture the essence of the Black Forest in a bottle. All you need is tranquillity, care and time. The raw materials also come entirely from the surrounding area: the brewing water bubbles up from local springs in the nearby forest, native spring barley is used as the brewer’s malt, the aromatic hops are sourced from Tettnang and Hallertau, and the yeast comes from the company’s own pure culture. The “Slow Brewing” seal of approval confirms the exceptional quality and full-bodied, mature flavour of the Rothaus beers. This final feature is undoubtedly also owed to the brewery’s special location, up at an altitude of around 1,000 metres, between the Black Forest pines and spruce trees.


Café Goldene Krone in St. Märgen

The “Golden Crown” has welcomed numerous guests over its centuries-long history. From 1753, it operated as a pilgrims’ refuge, later it became a grand hotel. Famous people called by here: from Heidegger to Adenauer. When the hotel was closed in 1990, a hush descended. A citizens’ action group halted the threatened demolition and, a good ten years later, went on to rescue this historically significant building and revive the village centre.

Tuniberg im Sommer 2008

Hugely successful, today the “Golden Crown” is once again a popular meeting place. This “countrywoman’s café” with a small shop is a fine example of social, economic and environmental sustainability. Instead of trained professionals, the shop and kitchen facilities is run by 20 committed local women, all adding their own special flavour to the regional dishes with their personal recipes.

Cafe Golden Krone


For more information:

State Tourist Board Baden-Württemberg

Esslinger Strasse 8

70182 Stuttgart, Germany


In 2022, the Cultural City of Dresden Hosts Special Exhibitions in Saxony’s State of the Arts

Celebrate arts and culture in Dresden in 2022.

Special exhibitions include Gerhard Richter at 90 with selections by the artist and Bernardo Bellotto, at 300, with his extraordinary cityscapes. Dresden also celebrates the father of its classical music lineage: Heinrich Schütz.  

Baroque Spendor

Restored now to its original baroque splendor, Dresden’s gleaming buildings, including the Royal Palace, the cathedral, the opera, the Brühlsche Terrasse among others, along the banks of the Elbe are a sight to behold. And, inside these buildings are arguably some of the world’s finest treasures. There are many exhibitions in 2022 and Dresden artists, Gerhard Richter and Bernardo Bellotto, lead the way. 

Starting off the year with a contemporary flare, is the Gerhard Richter exhibition celebrating the 90th birthday of this special Dresden citizen. Not only was Richter born in Dresden but he also has a special professional connection to the city as his archive is housed at the Dresden State Art Collections. The exhibition, “GERHARD RICHTER. Portraits. Glass. Abstractions” will run from February 5 to May 1 in three rooms of the upper floor of the Albertinum, also a part of the Dresden State Art Collections. Richter picked the pieces for the exhibition from his private collection as well as from the archive while additional of his works are lent by other international institutions.

Bernardo Bellotto’s 300th Birthday

Next up is the exhibition on Bernardo Bellotto, the nephew of the Canaletto, and often referred to as Canaletto the Younger or also just Canaletto. His 300th birthday is an enormous cause célèbre in the Elbe city as he painted extraordinary landscapes that depicted Dresden as it was in its golden age in the mid1700s.

From May 21 to August 28, the Dresden State Art Collections will be showing the exhibition “Enchantingly Real: Bernardo Bellotto at the Court of Saxony” where there will be paintings from the Dresden State Art Collections as well as from other institutions. Bellotto became famous as the court painter for the elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus II. His famous works are breath- taking depictions of the city and its environs, most measuring over eight feet in width. Dresden and the nearby Pirna will be celebrating the anniversary especially during the Dresden City Festival from August 19 to 21. 

Dresden: Musical City

Dresden is also a musical city and one of the most important musicians in setting this foundation is Heinrich Schütz, the royal organist and music director of the Royal Palace in the mid1600s. His work will be celebrated and played at the ‘Barock.Musik.Fest’ from May 2 to May 8 in the Royal Palace as well as from October 7 to 17 during the eponymous festival dedicated to the musician. Schütz is known for writing vocal solos, duets and choir works with and without instruments. He was strongly influenced by Italian composers of the time and yet created a strong German choral tradition that is still lively in the city today.

German Hygiene Museum Dresden

 A daring exhibition will take place at the German Hygiene Museum Dresden from April 2, 2022 to January 2, 2023: ‘Artful Intelligence. Machine Learning Human Dreams’ highlights the extent that artificial intelligence can be used in our lives even in such intimate topics about how to realize whether a person is lying, even to him or herself, and what criteria AI is using to make decisions.

Pillnitz Castle

“Plant Fever” is a multifaceted exhibition that will be displayed in Pillnitz Castle, the erstwhile summer palace of Augustus the Strong. Pillnitz is only 20 minutes from Dresden by a very pleasant river boat ride that will take you past beautiful villas and palaces from the 1700s. Designers, scientists, technology experts and plant enthusiasts will be interested in this project that will showcase 50 international projects from April 29 to November 6.

Meissen Porcelain

Blick auf die Albrechtsburg / Dom zu Meißen. Foto Tommy Halfter (DML-BY) // View of Albrechtsburg Castle / Meissen Cathedral! Photo: Tommy Halfter (DML-BY)

Close by will be the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory and showroom with some of the most beautiful porcelain pieces in the world. A special exhibition, called “Johann,” after Johann Boettger, the alchemist who was after gold but ended up with porcelain, or white gold, will be located in the Albrechtsburg (fortress close to the manufactory) for people interested in international and contemporary porcelain. It will run from April 16 to July 2022.

Celebrate the Outdoors

If you are planning a trip to Dresden for spring and summer especially, Dresden has many outdoor cultural events, including film nights on the banks of the Elbe, daily classes at the Japanese Palace, walking and bicycle tours throughout the city and the region. One special way to enjoy and experience the Elbe region is to ride along the Elbe Wine Road from Pirna to Dirnbar-Seusslitz. August 27 and 28 and September 23 and 25 are the local wine festivals in Radebeul and Meissen respectively. Although it is technically Germany’s smallest and most northern wine region, the wines are popular while the landscape and wineries are beautiful places to visit and enjoy a meal. 

Dramatic History Comes Alive

Foto: Michael R. Hennig (DML-BY)

In the past year, two excellent permanent exhibitions, the “Zwinger Xperience,” and the “Festung Xperience,” were created to make Dresden’s dramatic history come alive. These 3-D presentations show battles, art, and the people of Dresden’s past. You stand inside Dresden’s fortress underground and in the Zwinger Museum while images and films are projected against the walls and tell deeds of conquests, battles and romance.

State Arts Collection Dresden

Die Prager Straße Dresden. Foto: Tommy Halfter (DML-BY)

There are a number of other exhibitions at the State Art Collections Dresden as well as in the region that are worth visiting throughout the year. Dresden is a cultural jewel on the Elbe so make sure when you come to arrange for walking tours to see the architectures and the landscapes as well as to secure tickets for the museums and the collections. You will be overjoyed at the cultural wealth at every corner at all times of the day.

Foto: Michael R. Hennig

For further information, please contact Victoria Larson, USA Press Representative, State Tourist Board of Saxony at Victoria@vklarsoncommunications.com

Romancing the Ruins: Heidelberg on the Neckar River

When Prince-Elector Friedrich V married Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter of King James I in 1613, it was–like the majority of royal marriages—based on political alliances and gains. Love had nothing to do with it.

Photo by Jane Simon Ammeson

But sometimes it worked out differently and so it was between Friedrich and Elizabeth who fell in love.  Heidelberg Castle, where they lived, was already old, dating back to 1200s and the Prince-Elector wanting Elizabeth to love her new home added an English Palace and an elaborate Baroque garden.

But theirs was to be a tragic love story. There were battles, a throne lost, regained, and then lost forever. During all that, Elizabeth bore 13 children before Fredrich died and she sought life in exile.

Heidelberger Schloss

The castle, a romantic ruin of seemingly endless staircases and corridors taking you here, there, and sometimes nowhere, stands 330-feet above the Alstadt, Heidelberg’s wonderful old town. Towers and battlements protect stone facades, their decorative features still intact though the rooms behind them are gone. Views into the multitude of windows reveals not an interior but woods and the Neckar River below.

“Deserted, discrowned, beaten by the storms, but royal still, and beautiful,” is how Mark Twain described the Gothic-Renaissance castle. He was one of many poets and writers who spent time in what they considered the most romantic city in the world.

Photo Jane Simon Ammeson

The castle is also home to the Heidelberg Tun, a 58, 124 gallon wine barrel said to be the largest in the world.  It was built in 1751 on orders from Prince Elector Karl Theodor to store the wine paid in taxes by the region’s wine growers. We should all be so lucky to have too much wine.

Brews and Pork Knuckles

Taking the funicular down to the old town, I meet friends at Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus on Steingasse, Europe’s longest carless street. It’s one of those baronial style Germanic places with high ceilings, large wood beams, long tables and a lot of dark highly polished wood.

Famed for their Vetter’s 33, which they say is the strongest beer in the world, its alcohol content is—you guessed it—33%. But it isn’t all beer her, they’re famed for their  traditional German food and so I decide to go full German, ordering the pork knuckle, sauerkraut and dumpling with gravy. Skipping the 33, I opt for the Hubier—a mix of the lager and elderberry syrup.

History, Luxury and a Family Touch

Courtesy of Hotel Europaischer Hof Heidelberg.

My love affair with the city began several years before when I checked into the five-star Hotel Europäischer Hof Heidelberg. The hotel, one of the few five-star family run hotels in Europe, opened in 1865 and has been owned by von Kretschmann family since around the turn of the last century.

Courtesy of Hotel Europaischer Hof Heidelberg.

I’d heard that Sylvia von Kretschmann, who with her husband Ernst-Friedrich, ran the hotel for a half-century before their daughter Dr. Caroline von Kretschmann took over, regularly did the hotel’s large floral arrangements. So it was no surprise when I ran into this very elegant woman doing just that in Die Kurfürstenstube, the hotel’s opulent dining room that opened in 1866.  Such a romantic place and romantic tradition—how could I not fall in love?  

Courtesy of Hotel Europaischer Hof Heidelberg

Chocolate Kisses

My romance continued at Chocolaterie Knosel where owner Liselotte Knosel talked about studentenkussor or student kiss, a chocolate covered nougat created by her great grandfather Fridolin Knosel in 1863. His Café Knosel was frequented by male university students who admired women from a local finishing school who were, alas, chaperoned by their governesses. A gift of student kisses was a sly way to start a flirtation.

We don’t know how well it turned out for the students but these confections, still hand crafted, remain best sellers more than 150 years later. Café Knosel—the city’s oldest café—is my go to spot for coffee and a pastry at one of their outdoor tables overlooking the church on Marktplatz.

At dusk, on my last night, I boarded Patria, a 1930s ship for dining and a cruise along the Neckar River. Watching the city lights sparkle in the calm water, I knew that though my visit was ending, the romance was just beginning. I would be back.

For more information, visit www.heidelberg-marketing.de

German Dishes My Grandma Would Have Taught Me

            Growing up, a number of my friends had omas and opas (German grandmothers and grandfathers) and though my paternal grandmother was eligible to be an oma, after all she had married my very German grandfather, once he died, she dropped all oma-pretentions.

            The mother of six, she grew a garden and raised das kaninchen or rabbits in the backyard of their big city house. The rabbits always mysteriously ran away the very day the family had rabbit for dinner, something my aunts and uncles figured out as they grew older. Dinner, my mother said, was always at 5 p.m., the time my grandfather returned home from his job as a civil engineer where he designed big equipment for making tankers. My grandfather sat down to eat, not at 4:59 p.m. or 5:01 p.m. Dinner was at 5 and that’s when he sat down and she put the food in front of him He fulfilled the typical German stereotype for rigidity.

            All this is probably the reason why my grandmother never fulfilled the typical role of oma after her children were grown and my grandfather had died. Instead of cooking Sunday dinners for all the grandkids (and there were a ton of us) my grandmother went on cruises and she took up smoking and beer something I learned when I walked into her living room one day and discovered her with a can of beer and a lit cigarette. And she was 85!

When I ran next door (she had moved from the big house with two floors and large backyard–you know the one where all the rabbits were able to escape from after grandfather died next door to where our family lived) to tell my mom the audacious news.

My mother just shrugged. “Your grandfather was very strict,” she said. “She’s just enjoying things she never got to do.”

            I had a Romanian grandmother who could have been an oma, but she was instead a bunicuta (think booncutah when trying to pronounce it) who taught me how to cook. But it was all Romanian food, not German.

            So when I came across “Just Like Oma’s,” Gerhil Fulson’s website about German cookery and her cookbook German Meals at Oma’s: Traditional Dishes for the Home, it seemed like the perfect way to learn to cook the dishes that my oma would have if my grandmother was a real oma not one waiting to board a cruise ship to take another trip.

            Fulson’s cookbook is divided into regions of Germany and I’ve included recipes from Baden-Wurttemberg where krustenbraten or roast pig is a popular dish, Schleswig-Holstein for Gestovte Kartoffeln (creamed potatoes) and Bayern for Krautflecken mit Speck–cabbage, noodles and bacon. The book also has Fulson’s takes on each of recipes, photos of all the recipes and Oma’s Ecke or Grandma’s Corner where she shares tips on cooking each dish.

            These are the dishes my Grandmother Briska would have taught me to make if she hadn’t traded in cooking for a different golden years’ life.

Krautflecken mit Speck

(Cabbage, Noodles and Bacon)

For some people, including me, combining cabbage and noodles may seem strange. However, mix in some onion, butter, seasonings and perhaps some bacon, and that strange combination becomes a wonderful meal. Smoked sausage is a natural accompaniment for this.

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups diced onions

3 ounces lean bacon, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 pounds green cabbage, coarsely shredded

1 cup beef or vegetable broth, plus more as needed

8-ounce package wide egg noodles

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed

1 to 2 tablespoons pure white vinegar, optional

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon fat is rendered and the onions
are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cabbage. Sauté for about
5 minutes, letting some of the cabbage brown. Stir in the broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the saucepan and simmer for 25 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure that the liquid has not evaporated, adding extra broth or water if needed.

While the cabbage is cooking, prepare the egg noodles in a medium saucepan according to the package instructions, until just tender. Drain the noodles, cover the saucepan and set it aside.

When the cabbage is tender, add the caraway seeds and season the cabbage with salt and pepper. Stir in the vinegar (if using). Add the noodles and gently stir the mixture together.

Serve garnished with the parsley.

Oma’s Ecke

Originally, this was considered arme-leute-essen (poor people’s food) —a simple dish that was inexpensive and super simple to make. You can elevate this dish to an elegant status by mixing in 1 cup of full-fat sour cream just before the noodles are stirred into the cabbage mixture.

The recipe as written is all that is needed for a nice light lunch. However, there are many variations you can make. Use savoy cabbage for a milder flavor. Add diced ham and grated cheese to make this a more substantial meal. Include marjoram as a seasoning. Garnish with caramelized onion rings. Add some diced tomatoes. Toss in some smoked sausage. So many variations are possible.

Gestovte Kartoffeln

(Creamed Potatoes)

Serves 4

For the Schleswig-Holsteiners, gestovte implies a sauce made with butter and flour. This recipe, however, uses cream—and not just plain cream, but heavy cream! There’s no need for flour to thicken the potatoes, since they provide their own starch, making this a really easy dish to prepare. It’s a perfect accompaniment for a simple meal of sausage, hamburgers or schnitzel. Actually, it’s perfect for any meat that doesn’t have gravy, since the cream in this one is rich enough.

13⁄4 pounds red or Yukon gold potatoes

11⁄4 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or chives

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed

Freshly grated nutmeg, optional

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover them with water and bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the saucepan and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, 25 to 30 minutes, depending on their size. Do not overcook the potatoes. Drain and cool the potatoes slightly under cold running water.

Once they are just cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1⁄2-inch thick slices. Put the slices into the saucepan and add the cream. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the cream to a simmer, stirring gently to keep it from settling on the bottom and burning. While you’re stirring, the starch from the potatoes is released and mixes with the cream, making a wonderfully creamy sauce. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Once the sauce is thick enough, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.

Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and nutmeg (if using). Pour the potatoes into a serving dish and serve.

Oma’s Ecke

It’s important that you do not use starchy potatoes, such as russets. They’ll fall apart during the cooking process and you will end up with mashed potatoes. That’s not the texture you want here.


(Roast Pork)

There are several ways to achieve crackling on a pork roast, but I find this one the easiest. It yields perfectly crisp crackling gracing the top of each slice of this wonderfully moist roast accompanied by a savory gravy. Best of all, this is actually quite a simple method for an extraordinary meal. Another name for this is schweinsbraten, simply meaning “pork roast,” but the krustenbraten is more descriptive with the crispy kruste, or crust, that really is one of the reasons this dish is so loved.

Precooking the rind in the liquid for the first hour makes the rind soft and easy to cut through. When it’s cut parallel to the grain and then in the opposite direction, it provides an easy guide for cutting the slices once it’s roasted. Each piece ends up with a row of crispy crackling

2 large carrots, thickly sliced

1 large leek, thickly sliced

2 large onions, thickly sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 cups hot beef broth, plus more as needed

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder with rind/fat cap (see Oma’s Ecke)

1 tablespoon oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed

2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with

2 tablespoons cold water

2 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Put the carrots, leek, onions and garlic in a 9 x 13–inch roasting pan. Pour the broth into the roasting pan and stir to mix in the garlic. Rub the pork shoulder with the oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Place it in the roasting pan rind-side down so that the rind is submerged in the broth. Roast in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove the roast from the oven and reduce the heat to 325°F. Using
a sharp knife, score through the rind (being careful not to cut into the meat) in 1-inch wide strips, in both directions. Place the meat, rind-side up, in the roasting pan so that the rind is not submerged in the liquid. Sprinkle the rind with additional salt and roast for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat is at least 160°F, adding water as needed to keep the veggies from burning. If the rind is not crispy after this time, raise the temperature to 450°F and roast for about 10 minutes. If needed, put it under the broiler to speed up the crisping, watching carefully that it does not burn.

Remove the pork shoulder from the roasting pan and set it aside to rest. Strain the cooking liquid into a small saucepan, pressing out as much liquid as possible from the veggies. Use a gravy separator if you wish to remove the fat. Add extra beef broth or water to make 2 cups of liquid. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and thicken with just enough cornstarch slurry to make a gravy. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the roast pork, sliced, with the gravy on the side.

Oma’s Ecke

The roasting time at 325°F is really dependent on the shape
of the roast. A short and fat roast will take a bit longer than a long and skinny one. Also, every oven is different and may not be showing the proper temperature. That’s why it’s always important to check the internal temperature to make sure the roast is properly cooked.

Jane Ammeson can be contacted via email at janeammeson@gmail.com or by writing to Focus, The Herald Palladium, P.O. Box 128, St. Joseph, MI 49085.

Searching for Schweinshaxe: From Heidelberg to Michigan


P1010817 (1)         My search for started back in 2012 when Frank Buesing of Stevensville, after returning from a trip to Bavaria, wrote asking if I knew where he could find pork knuckles (schweinshaxe in German) in Southwest Michigan. On his trip, his guide had recommended he try some and, liking the dish  so much, he’d ordered it again at another restaurant in another city. Buesing sent me several photos of schweinshaxe showing what looked like a weapon size piece of meat on a bone. Buesing had already visited several grocery stores and a butcher shop in our area looking for pork knuckles but to no avail. One butcher even consulted a chart of pork cuts and couldn’t find it. I also made some phone calls and got the same response, no pork knuckles around here as I wrote in my July 25, 2012 column in the Herald Palladium titled “Searching for the Elusive Pork Knuckle.”.

Fast forward to a month or so ago when my friend Victoria Larson took me to Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus. Alt Heidelberg is the term for this southwestern German city’s historic district. Vetter’s is on Steingasse, Europe’s longest carless street, which leads down to the Karl-Theodor-Brücke (bridge) spanning the Neckar River. To give you an idea of the how old this city is, the bridge is considered relatively new, having been built in 1788. The building housing Vetter’s dates back even further and is one of those baronial style Germanic places with high ceilings, large wood beams, long tables and a lot of dark highly polished wood. Famed for their Vetter’s 33, at one time the strongest beer in the world with an alcohol content of—you guessed it—33%– it is also known for its traditional German food including a variety of pork knuckles dishes. Though it was hot outside and I wasn’t that hungry, I felt compelled to order the pork knuckle which came with sauerkraut and dumpling and gravy. After all, it was my job to research pork knuckles, wasn’t it? Afraid I wouldn’t like it (after all—pork knuckles?) Victoria wisely said give it a try and if you don’t like it, don’t eat it.P1010826

Unfortunately, as far as calories are concerned, I liked it and what I didn’t share with everyone else sitting with us, I ate. And like Buesing, in the next city I visited, I ordered it again. I wanted to tell Buesing, only I couldn’t remember how to spell his name and being far from home didn’t have access to my files. Luckily, Valerie Kowerduck of Stevensville saw my Facebook photo of the schweinshaxe at Vetter’s s and posted a link to my column. Six years after we first talked about pork knuckles, Buesing still hadn’t found any around here. So I called around again getting a more positive response. Bob’s Meat in South Haven told me they carried them while Roger’s Foodland and Zick’s Specialty Meats said they could be ordered if people called ahead. Voila! Pork knuckles.


Buying schweinshaxe in Southwestern Michigan, which has a large percentage of Germans and German-Americans, wasn’t always so difficult.

Robin Christopher, a Journeyman Meat Cutter at United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, who worked as a butcher for decades at such area stores as Family Foods and Eagles, says back then he sold many pig knuckles—later called pork knuckles (“to soften the image to customers”).

“We sold pig knuckles to a variety of people,” he says, noting they’re often used in Mexican dishes such as tacos, Asian dishes served with rice and, of course German foods. “They came in two ways—fresh, meaning raw or uncooked and smoked which are generally called smoked pork ham hocks and are used for seasoning and meat in beans or greens and are great for flavor. The fresh ones are a little more versatile. They can be baked in the oven or they can be par boiled and then finished by braising, pan frying, grilling, deep frying or grilling. They can be eaten whole or they can be cut up or de-boned and the meat used in other recipes.”



At Vetter’s they came with a variety of sides—sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, spätzle (tiny little dumplings cooked by dropping batter into boiling water), big dumplings, noodles, gravy, mustard and bread, depending on what your ordered.

I like to research and when Christopher told me that pig knuckles were big sellers in Southwestern Michigan years ago, I decided to look them up on newspapers.com, an online archive of old newspapers. Sure enough, going back to the late 1800s up to 1960, there were a lot of groceries, butchers and even restaurants advertising them. In the December 17, 1920 issue of the News Palladium, you could buy pig knuckles as well as something called nut-oleo at during Banyon’s Saturday Cash Specials. Kelm’s Market at 222 State Street sold two pounds of pig knuckles and two pounds of sauerkraut all for 19 centers according the January 12, 1934 Herald Press. Kelm’s also sold something called leaf lard (lard must have been big back then because there’s all sorts of types for sale). For15 cents, according to an ad in the February 2, 1937 edition of the News Palladium, you could get pork knuckles and sauerkraut and listen to the music of the 6-piece Old Heidelberg Band at the Higman Park Villa, a beach place in Benton Harbor.P1010842

Deutschamerikaner or people of German heritage (including me as my maternal grandfather was from Germany) constitute the largest ancestry group according to the US Census Bureau in its American Community Survey with an estimated number of 44 million German Americans living this country as of 2016 which is one third of the total ethnic German population in the world.

I talked to Sheila Schultz and Betty Timmreck, both members of  Napier Parkview Baptist Church on Napier Avenue in Fairplain. More than a century ago it was the First German Baptist Church.

Timmreck and her husband, Dave, are both of German descent and their last name

“My mom was going to the church when it was all German preaching,” she says. “Preaching in German ended a little after 1947 when William Hoover became the pastor.”

But that wasn’t quite the end of the German language at Napier Parkview. Schultz says that up until a few years ago there was a German Sunday School class as well.

Timmreck shared recipes from “The Ladies Missionary Society Cookbook” which was published by her church. The missionary society is now called the more modern sounding W2W (Women to Women).

“I learned to make German food from growing up German,” says Schultz who is German-American and married Armin Schultz, who immigrated as a child from Germany.

“That makes me ever more ‘Germany’,” she says with a laugh.

Schultz likes to take the old recipes, many of them she originally learned to make from her aunts, Maria Schultz and Getrud (there’s no e at the end of her name) Schultz, such as the family’s pork and sauerkraut and tweak them, creating her own signature dishes. She typically makes roulade, a type of meat roll for the holidays and three-to-five days before Christmas  begins marinating the ingredients for rotkohl—a seasoned red cabbage dish with apples, red wine and brown sugar. Also on the list of German dishes she occasionally makes our tortes and kuchens or cakes.

“A lot of these dishes my aunts would make when we came over,” she recalls.

Hanns Heil (now there is a serious German name) of Coloma says the beauty of a good recipe is you can add other things to it. And for her and his wife, Sara, an adaptation of brats and sauerkraut, a German dish if there ever was one, can be made in a crockpot with such additions as using jalapeno brats instead of regular ones or even substituting Polish sausage. They add a light beer to the meat and kraut mixture such as a lemon shandy.

“We also use a package of French onion soup like the kind you use to make dip,” he says. “It takes the punch out of the sauerkraut.”

Sheila Schultz’s Rotkohl

(Red Cabbage)

½ pound bacon, I prefer thick sliced

I large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

About 3 pounds red cabbage thinly sliced, not shredded

2 or 3 tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 or 1 ½ cups chicken broth or stock

¼ cup red wine

¼ cup white vinegar

1 to 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

pepper to taste


In a large pot/Dutch oven sauté bacon, add onion, cabbage, and apples.  Simmer until cabbage starts to collapse, stir gently and add broth, wine, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.

*To do ahead I like to let the cabbage mix cool and refrigerate overnight, then complete the final cooking step.

Cook over medium/low heat for about 1 hour, till cabbage is tender. Serve warm.

Hanns and Sara Heil’s Crockpot Sauerkraut and Sausage

1 bag sauerkraut

3 to 4 sausage links such as bratwurst, Polish or jalapeno brats

1 package French onion soup

1 bottle of light beer

Place all ingredients into a crockpot and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

The following recipes are from “The Ladies Missionary Society Cookbook.”

Potato Pancakes

6 large potatoes, shredded

1medium onion, grated

4 eggs

¼ cup flour

Salt and pepper

Blend all ingredients together and fry in a hot frying pan with vegetable oil until nice and brown and crispy.


4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

Four eggs

1 cup milk

Mix all together. Bring 2 quarts of water and one half teaspoon salt to a boil. Suck a large colander with large holes over pot. With a spoon, Press Tell a few tablespoons at a time to cut the colander directly into the boiling water. Stir gently to keep dumplings from sticking. Boil briskly for five days minutes or until tender.

Kraut and Ribs

2 pounds or two glass jars kraut

2 cups fresh shredded cabbage

One medium onion, cut

One or two fresh garlic cloves

1 tart apple

1 bay leaf

2 to 3 pounds country ribs, browned

One package bratwurst cut and browned

½ cup brown sugar

8 to 9 peppercorns

Rinse canned kraut and drain; add fresh cabbage, what in heavy pan or slow cooker. Fried onions, apples and garlic. Brown ribs and add to kraut. Add bay leaves, peppercorns and brown sugar to taste. Let’s cook for 2 ½ hours. Drain if there’s too much liquid. Put in large casserole; add brown bratwurst and bake for about one hour at 350° in covered casserole.

Schweinshaxe or Pork Knuckle

2 to 3 pounds  schweinshaxe or pork knuckle



garlic clove

1 bottle Beer, preferably a dark beer

1 garlic clove, finely minced

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Because crispy skin is one of the hallmarks of a good pork knuckle, place the schweinshaxe, unwrapped, in the refrigerator overnight so that the skin dries out.

The next day, place in a roasting pan with just a little of the beer. Sprinkle skin with salt and pepper and rub the minced garlic into the skin. If you’d rather not use beer, rub with a light oil. This keeps it from sticking to the pan and also produces good pan drippings if making gravy.

Roast in an oven for about 4 hours, adding a little more about an hour into the roasting to keep te bottom of the knuckle moist. After the skin has started to crisp, baste with beer about every 45 minutes or so. When the pork reaches an internal temperature of approximately 200 degrees, turn the oven up to 450 degrees, pour beer over the knuckle and cook for about 10 -15 minutes. Serve with potato pancakes, spätzle and/or rotkohl.





A Castle in the Hills of a Historic Family Vineyard

Following the Muhlbach Stream as it  gently flows through downtown Oberkirch, a marvelous collection of timber-framed, multi-stories houses, cobblestone streets, brightly painted shutters and window boxes overflowing with cascading blooms, we bounce along in Martin Renner’s topless  Range Rover into the vast orchards and vineyards, climbing the ever narrowing road up the verdant hills of the Black Forest.

The journey is Renner’s Weinburg Safari, which in better weather includes both the Range Rover ride and a hike. But today it’s raining and though Renner, who is giving the tour, has handed us layers of warm clothing, I’m guessing that the reason why none of us are complaining about getting pelted by rain are the samples of wine we had earlier at Julius Renner Weinhaus & Weinkellerei, his family’s third generation business founded by his grandfather, Julius, in 1937.

The wines we tasted are made from the classic varieties such as Klingelberger, Muller-Thurgen, Ruländer and Blauer Spätburgunder that thrive in the special climate and topography that makes this part of the Black Forest perfect for growing a cornucopia of luscious fruit. As usual, I’m impressed not only by the quality of German wines but also their low cost. Indeed, their Pinot Rose Brut at the time was 9.99 euros and the dry Oberkircher Blanc de Noir, made from Blue Pinot Noir grapes, went fo for 5.99.


To add to the picturesque scene, lovely even in rain, the Renner vineyards are nestled beneath the ruins of Schauenburg Castle, a long abandoned citadel built in the 10th century, part of the dowry that Uta, Duchess of Eberstein, the richest heiress in Germany at the time, brought to her marriage to Duke Welf VI in 1131.  

But if we’re looking for real history, Martin Renner tells me after we’ve returned to the weinhaus, housed in what was once a butcher shop built in 1708 (you can tell by the sketch of a butcher’s clever along with the date on the building’s corner edge),  you won’t find it here. After all, he says, as if the event just happened a few months ago, French troops sacked Oberkirch, burning the Medieval village to the ground in the late 1600s during one of those interminable European wars—this one lasted 30 years which is much better than the 100 year war waged by the French and British from 1337 to 1453. As an aside, if you’re wondering about the disparity between the dates and the name of that war, they took a few years off to rest before fighting again.

There’s disdain in his voice about the newness of it all and I try to explain how in America, old is anything built before 1950 and that we probably have fewer than fifty or so buildings in the entire country dating back to 1700. But then this is Germany where you can walk into the Kessler Champagne cellar in Esslingen and when you ask the guide how old the place is, there’s a nonchalant shrug accompanied with the year 1200 as if it’s no big deal. So maybe 1708 is a little too nouveau after all. Martin Renner and writer Jane Simon Ammeson

Next door to the wine store, the Renner Wine Tavern is all cozy Germanic charm. The menu is intriguing and very reasonably priced and more so when I make the conversion from Euros to dollars for such items as lamb chops with rosemary potatoes and homemade garlic sauce,  Walachian trout with creamy horseradish, Strasbourg sausage salad with Gruyere cheese and spaetzli–those wonderful German dumplings often baked with ham and cheese. There’s also bread served with either butter or Bohnert’s apple lard. Lard is frequently on menus here in southwest Germany and it is amazingly delicious. A quick fact check: Pure lard, rendered from pork, is much healthier—yes, really—than the oleos and processed shortenings we consume here.

Noticing that the restaurant doesn’t open until 6 p.m., I ask why so late?

“We’re farmers and wine makers,” Martin, a graduate engineer in viticulture and oenology, tells me. “We don’t eat until then.”

Karotten or karotten in bier gedunstet (carrots in beer) and spaetzli are both on the menu at Renner Wine Tavern. Here are Americanized versions of those dishes.

Karotten (Carrots in Beer)

4 large carrots

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup dark beer, any brand

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

Peel and slice carrots into long, thin slices.

Melt butter in medium-size frypan; add beer and carrots. Cook slowly until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in salt and sugar.

Cook for another 2 minutes and serve hot.


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Making a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the egg-milk mixture. Gradually mix well until the dough should be smooth and thick. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot, then reduce to a simmer. To form the spaetzli, hold a large holed colander or slotted spoon over the simmering water and push the dough through the holes with a spatula or spoon. Do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the spaetzli floats to the surface, stirring gently to prevent sticking. Dump the spaetzli into a colander and rinse quickly in cool water.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the spaetzli and toss to coat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and then sprinkle with the chopped chives.  Season with salt and pepper before serving.

For more information:

Juluis Renner Winery & Winehouse