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Germany’s Valley of The Stars

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If all that comes to mind when you think of Black Forest cuisine is Schwarzwälderkirschtorte — a cream-slathered, towering cherry-studded cake — then you need to go to Baiersbronn. This small town of some 16,000 is Germany’s No. 1 destination for gourmands from all over Europe and beyond, thanks to the presence of three outstanding restaurants with six Michelin stars between them. Sometimes fondly called the Dorf der Sterne (Village of the Stars), picturesque Baiersbronn nestles in the lovely, wooded Murg Valley some 50 km south of Baden-Baden. Harald Wohlfahrt runs the opulent three-star Schwarzwaldstube restaurant, which sports regional oak furniture and baroque brass chandeliers hanging from an ornately carved ceiling, in the Traube Tonbach hotel. Wohlfahrt’s cuisine is inspired by the French: many of his dishes boast variations of famous Gallic creations like foie gras, confits and fruit compotes. When you’ve tried his fried fillet of red mullet with melon chutney and Thai curry sauce, or goose liver with Perigord truffles in puff pastry, you’ll be hooked. tel: (49-7442) 4920; www.traube-tonbach.de

Famous for his innovative blend of French-Mediterranean style with local specialties, two-star chef Claus-Peter Lumpp has established himself as one of the town’s culinary institutions. At his elegant, Louis XV-style restaurant in the 120-bedroom Hotel Bareiss Mitteltal, Lumpp offers a “grand 404 Not Found

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nginx/1.14.0 (Ubuntu) tasting menu” that features such delicacies as glazed saddle of fawn, plums drenched in Armagnac (a famous French brandy) and parsley root fondue. tel: (49-7442) 470; www.bareiss.com

Jörg Sackmann, the one-star chef at the cozy and plush restaurant Schlossberg, was named the “Christo of the kitchen” by Gault Millau. Sackmann likes to enfold his fish, vegetables, and desserts in elaborate wrappings made of anything from crepes to spaghetti. Try some of his stranger combinations, such as his famous bacon sorbet and pretzel soufflé. tel: (49-7447) 2890; www.hotel-sackmann.de

If you’re wondering what draws so many excellent chefs to this quiet Black Forest town, Wohlfahrt may have the answer. Baiersbronn has been a stronghold of haute cuisine “ever since 1980, when Traube Tonbach’s owner, Willi Finkbeiner, decided the place needed a French-style eatery,” he remembers. Wohlfahrt’s menu turned the restaurant into an immediate hit. Eager to compete, other local chefs stepped up their culinary efforts, and an influx of new talent followed. So if you want to live like God in France, as the popular German expression about great wining and dining goes, there’s no need to go to Paris. Just go to Baiersbronn.

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