Retrospectively I think that it is really embarrassing that I did this only now. It took me 15 years that I am living here to explore what lies right under my nose, to go on a small foodie day trip around the corner.
I am far away from being spontaneous, but this time it was a quick decision in the morning, some internet research where I wanted to go … and I was on my way to the Schwäbische Alb (Swabian Alb) planning to visit some producers of local food.
After crossing the Alb plateau with its characterisic heathlands, its forests and pastures – no one except of me seemed to have the idea to visit this sparse, rough area in winter – I’ve reached my first stop at the southern border: Lauterach, where the nowadays quite popular and well-known “Albleisa“ are grown. They had been forgotten until a few years ago, when they were rediscovered in the Wawilow seed bank in St. Petersburg and are since grown by a local cooperative.
Due to the meagre loamy soil, the lentils are grown together with grains that hold the lentil plants up. One of them is false flax/linseed dotter, of which they press oil that is very rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and has a nutty taste. Never heard about this plant before, but of course I packed a bottle of this camline oil in my bag as well as a bag of buckwheat pasta.
My next stop was the “Hohensteiner Albkäserei“, where cheese is not only made from cows milk but also from buffalo milk. Since 2005 buffalos are kept on the Swabian Alb. And while the males stays at the farm of Willi Wolf, the founder of the “Albbüffel“ breeding and self proclaimed “Swabian cowboy”, the milk buffalos are kept at the organic farm of Helmut Rauscher, where the milk is proceeded into cheese. Of course I left the little farm shop with a full bag, being especially excited to try the “Albzarella”, the Swabian mozarella. But before I left the farm I was guided through the barn and learned a lot about species-apropriate keeping of animals… and of course I could pet the buffalos! 🙂 Such impressing animals!
Now it was time for my next destination. Through the valley of the river Lauter seamed by rugged cliffs I reached the “Lagerhaus an der Lauter“, where I enjoyed a well-deserved coffee and lunch made from local products. While this cozy place is very popular in summer and it can be hard to find an empty table then, at this time of the year I didn’t have such problems. Instead I could chat a bit with soap boiler, cause this place is not only a cafe but also hosts an artisan soap manufactory and chocolaterie … yummy!
Already on my way back home I made a last stop at the “Forellenhof Rössle“. We already had stayed once at the hotel itself for a little time out and enjoyed the delicious food as well as the rooftop wellness area with superb views on “Schloss Lichtenstein“. This time I walked straight to the small in-house shop where the delicious smoked trouts from their own trout farm are sold.
By now, the luggage space of my car was all filled with delicious locally grown and produced food. Time to go back home to eat them!
For sure I will come back … there are still a lot of (foodie) places to be discovered at the “Biosphärengebiet Schwäbische Alb”. And the widely unspoiled natural surrounding makes me even think about coming here for a longer time out – perhaps I’ll stay in a log cabin or in an shepherd’s wagon? The good can be so close – I’ll keep that in mind!