Monday, April 26, 2010

Postcards from Germany: Hiedehof Restaurant

with my Dutch and German friends

I am staying at the Landhaus Heidehof, in Dippoldiswalde, Germany for 3 weeks on a special project to photograph and document the history of the Pour le Merite line from A. Lange & Sohne. As it turns out this hotel, or guesthouse witnessed the re-emergence of the A. Lange & Sohne brandname after the wall came down in 1989. From then, Gunter Blumlein led his team to rebuild the old brand, and relaunched it at the apex of horology in 1995.

Also, as it turns out, the hotel features a gastronomic restaurant worthy of Gault Millau. As I will be here for the better part of 3 weeks, I will have many opportunities to sample the cuisine here, and this evening was the first taste with friends visiting from The Netherlands.

We sat in the very same room where Blumlein held many a dinner meeting, where important decisions on the new brand were taken. Indeed on the walls, were portraits of the Glashutte greats – Pfeiffer (Glashutte Original), Blumlein (A. Lange & Sohne), Walter Lange (A. Lange & Sohne), Alfred Helwig on one wall and Aldoph Lange, Moritz Grossmann, on the other. A ship's clock made by Muhle Glashutte hung on one wall, and reminded us of the passing of each hour with a beautiful strike tone.

Well, on to dinner. The asparagus season just started...a bit late this though technically spring, it was unseasonally cold...evening temperatures were close to 0C, while it rose to about 15C during the day.

I had the asparagus.

The white asparagus was huge, each about the thickness of my thumb. And with a dip of Hollandaise sauce (which my Dutch friends insisted was not from Holland...though it is generally attributed to their homeland), it was absolutely delicious. Fibrous, but tender, each bite had a light crunch, but yielding to a very juicy, luscious taste.

Some of the others had the Beef Capacio

Looked wonderful.

For my main course I had the lamb rump, roasted with salted feta cheese, and potatos

Also very good. The lamb had an almost rustic, gamey flavour, but tender, and not overpoweringly so...lamb, like beef take on the flavour of the feed given to the animal. Strong gamey flavours are from animals feeding on grass, and shrubs. Grain fed animals often yield meat which is not as gamey. This lamb had a lingering gamey flavour, not overpowering, but persistent, and actually quite pleasant. It was cooked just right, just a touch below medium, and was tender. The cheese provided some was probably salted before going into the oven. And the potatos were nicely roasted.

Accompanying, we selected an Italian wine from Alba. Very smooth, mild tannins, and complemented the lamb very well.

And for dessert, a speciality of the region. A pan fried potato, with sugar, and vanilla ice cream.

The potato, was presented as a golden brown crusted patty. Quite nice, I must say. And went well with the apple sauce and ice cream. The apple sauce provided some acidity and bite, and the ice cream the smooth, rich flavour. Nice touch.

Quite a superb meal, and I am looking forward to many more.
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