Aschau im Chiemgau, Germany

July 2007

Although on the map Aschau im Chiemgau, looked to be very near the German lake of Chiemsee, it was really a small farm town in the middle of nowhere.  It was also a mecca for foodies wanting to visit Heinz Winkler’s three star restaurant and “Residenz” hotel.

This one meal can only be summed up one way: 

The Tasting Menu of all Tasting Menus

Our first amuse bouche started with a cold tomato and coconut soup.  Our second amuse bouche was a small serving of herring with crisp apple slices accompanied by a shot glass filled with a simultaneously hot and cold puree of cauliflower soup.  Whether the temperature range was intentional or not, it worked.  Accompanying the shot glass was a fried veggie tempura.

I was wondering, how many amuse bouche(s) would there be before we hit the floor?  I believe the chef had sufficiently whetted our appetites at this point, no?  Luckily, our next “first” course appeared, a warm lobster salad on a bed of wild mushrooms.  Knowing how much lobster costs at home, I tried not to calculate how much of the prix fixe menu price was going to buy that lobster. Hopefully, they hadn’t flown it in from Long Island.  I put that thought out of my head though because the lobster was absolutely delicious. 

Our second “first” course of fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with a ratatouille of zucchini and mushrooms and onions arrived at the table.  I was thinking this was beginning to sound like fuzzy math.  Was it our second first course, or our first second course?   Whatever course we were on, our next course was an impeccable portion of St. Peters fish in a light citrus/blood orange sauce.   

After all these courses, the chef decided we needed a palette cleanser since a large silver spoon holding a dollop of refreshing citrus sorbet swimming, believe it or not, in vinaigrette was set before us.  It sounds strange describing it now, but it actually worked.

I was beginning to lose track of where we were in the menu (i.e., how many more courses we had to go) but realized when they brought out the main dish of lamb en croute with green beans, parsley puree and stuffed tomatoes, the end was at least in sight.  (Not that we weren’t having a good time.)

After the lamb, we apparently needed yet another palette cleanser (or stimulator) since a pungent blue cheese on an endive leaf was brought out next.  Finally, we were ready for dessert.  Considering the multitude of our previous courses, dessert was pretty straightforward — a fresh apricot mille feuille with a bit of cream on the side.  But we were wrong.  This was the pre-dessert!  The final (truly) final dessert was a small bowl of elderflower soup with wild strawberries.

Were we done yet?  Yes, and thankfully they didn’t bring out anything else. And for those wondering how we would have rated the ambience, food and service: it was definitely an  experience worthy of those three stars. 


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