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Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen

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Hotel

Drei Sonnen, Hotel and Restaurant, Serfaus

Drei Sonnen, Hotel and Restaurant, Serfaus, Austria

2,5 points

If you don’t already know an area well, you find yourself searching online for the right places to stay and to eat. Presuming that you read my reviews regularly, you should already know that in most cases I choose hotels on the basis of good cuisine. The four-star hotel “Drei Sonnen” at Serfaus doesn’t offer only high quality but apparently also a “Kulinarium”! (http://www.dreisonnen.com/). What an amusing description. This need to always find or create new terms, like “gourmet restaurant” – another preposterous phrase – Kulinarium isn’t a real word, of course. You might think it would have its origin in Latin, but it doesn’t. Is it a place, a room, or an auditorium where you experience culinary delectability? It is a very grandiloquent notion, which of course suggests something extraordinarily special. Particularly compared to all of its neighbors; in Serfaus every second building is either a hotel, a holiday flat to rent, or a gastronomic establishment. Well, I didn’t make my choice only because of the absurd institution of  “kulinarium,” but because I got a good deal.

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Gourmet Restaurant Novalis, Burghotel Hardenberg

Novalis, Restaurant at Burghotel Hardenberg, Nörten-Hardenberg, Germany

5,5 points

Located some distance from any international hot-spot – unless you would call Hannover a metropolis – Nörten-Hardenberg is a provincial town, too big to call a village and too small to call a town. It lies on the western side of the mid-range mountain area Harz, and the next larger city is Göttingen. This said, the A7 highway (Autobahn) passes by here – the A7 being one of the most important connections between northern and southern Germany. Once a year, Nörten-Hardenberg comes into global focus, during the international tournament of show jumping which is held there. It was reported that one most prominent guests during last year’s event was Bruce Springsteen; his daughter apparently participated in one of the competitions.

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La Bastide Saint Antoine, Restaurant, Grasse

La Bastide Saint Antoine, Restaurant, Grasse, France

6,5 points

This isn’t only a restaurant but a very beautiful residence, comprising a few buildings which are used as hotel, spa and relaxation zones. Surrounded by a park of olive trees, sculptures and a botanic garden, you feel yourself calming down from the first moment, and you really feel a kind of spirit of Provence – although it is on the Cote de Azur.

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Hisa Franko, Restaurant & Hotel, Staro Selo

Hisa Franko, Restaurant & Hotel, Staro Selo (close to Kobarid), Slovenia

7 points 

It was on the recommendation of my friend Gasper Gabrijelcic that I visited Hisa Franko, the restaurant of one of the top, top chefs in Slovenia, Ana Roš, and her husband Valter Kramar, a unique sommelier. Since this restaurant isn’t just around the corner but located in a very beautiful valley in the South-eastern Slovenian alps, it is very reasonable that they offer ca 10 rooms for staying overnight – or for several nights.

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Chamberlain Suite Hotel, West Hollywood, Los Angeles

Chamberlain Suite Hotel, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA

6 points

Every person has its favored hotel in a town where one goes several times or regularly. If you go to Los Angeles either as a tourist or for business you perhaps like to be located rather in a center of a circle of destination than perhaps somewhere at the edge.

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Speicherhotel Barth

Speicherhotel Barth, Barth, Germany

5 points for the hotel

3 points for the restaurant

It is more than 15 years (!) ago that I discovered this hotel. Perhaps only my second or third time at the Baltic Sea (Ostsee) we stood at a peninsula called Darß (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dar%C3%9F) one the most beautiful areas of Germany (Two to three hours driving from Berlin). It a place of peace, relaxation and refreshment! The fresh breeze from the sea, amazing play of colors of sky and light and surprising changes of weather make for a unique and marvelous getaway.


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Crossing a bridge from Zingst, a village on Darß, toward the mainland brings you to Barth. 15 years ago – ten years after “DDR” (German Democratic Republic) – Barth is somehow a perfect case study of the transformation process within Germany.

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Pierhouse Hotel, Port Appin, Scotland

Pierhouse Hotel, Port Appin, Scotland

5 points

While on a short journey through Scotland, we spent only one night at a hotel called Pierhouse at Port Appin. Unless you were a fisherman, you would likely not end up in Port Appin if you weren’t looking for a unique and rather peaceful place on the Western coast of Scotland.

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Angerer Alm, Restaurant, Hochgurgl, Tirol, Austria

Angerer Alm, Restaurant, Hochgurgl, Tirol, Austria

7 points

Imagine you are in the Alps: perhaps you associate this experience with some special music (hopefully not with DJ Ötzi, since then you would be a real freak, but perhaps with music of Hubert von Goisern: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvaqDNEppwQ), and of course with a lot of amazing nature and countryside – but probably also with typical Alpine food. This could be “Leberknödelsuppe” (liver dumpling soup), “Kaiserschmarrn” (Kaiserschmarrn), “Schweinebraten” (roast pork) or, for example, venison. Alpine cuisine is “bodenständig” (this is a wonderful word in German, but you are damned if you need to translate this into English: it is probably a mixture of down-to-earth and native). In my experience, you either get rather cheap food which isn’t terribly delicious but is quite filling – and at least it’s affordable – or you get slightly “better” cuisine which can cost you a fortune, even though you know they haven’t used the freshest ingredients. In all likelihood, the meat was frozen and probably isn’t from Tirol but rather Slovakia. The chefs are probably not even the culprits; some smart managers of hotels and / or restaurants are likely to blame. Much of this kind of food is made quite cleverly and with a lot of “show”. After two or three days, you begin to realize that the sauce always tastes the same, no matter what kind of dish you’ve ordered. There is too much sugar in the salad dressing – you can tell that they’re using spice or herb mixes  for dressing, broths, and any kind of sauces. Quite an effort at deception !

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Angerer Alm, Hotel, Hochgurgl, Tirol, Austria

Angerer Alm, Hotel, Hochgurgl, Tirol, Austria

7 points

I don’t know how many years I’ve been coming to Hochgurgl – which is at the very end of Ötztal in Tirol. Hochgurgl is a part of a village called Obergurgl and consists of only six or seven hotels, ski lifts and a little chapel. Actually it is in the middle of one of the best skiing resorts in Austria, at a height of over 2000 m!

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Steigenberger Hotel, Linz, Austria

Steigenberger Hotel, Linz, Austria

This place is attracting customers with misinformation: the hotel is, indeed, directly on the Danube  – but it’s surrounded by an industrial harbor, an Autobahn, and a refinery.  The location of this hotel is ridiculous. (http://de.steigenberger.com/Linz/Steigenberger-Hotel-Linz)

Since the room was totally overheated, I had to open the window – resulting in my room being filled with a strong “odor” of petrol and gas. It is like a deal with the devil: if you close the window it gets warm since you cannot regulate the heating and the “odor” remains in your room. If you keep window open, you at least can let the “odor” mixed with some cold air but you will be entertained the whole night by the Autobahn traffic noise.

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Hotel La Sommitá, Ostuni, Puglia, Italy

Hotel La Sommitá, Hotel in Ostuni, Puglia in Italy

7 points for hotel

6 points for restaurant

This is a really beautiful small hotel in Puglia (www.lasommita.it). It is located at the top of the historic center of Ostuni, a very beautiful little town between Brindisi and Bari. Because of its unique location, you find yourself in the middle of a vital old town but at the same time shielded from any noise but also from the southern Italian heat (if you’re there in summer). A small garden surrounded by high old walls offers an oasis of silence which at night acts as the outdoor part of hotel’s restaurant.

From the top of the building or from atop some of the walls, you can see the lowlands between Ostuni and the Adriatic Sea. During hot summers there is always a mild and refreshing breeze, while in spring or autumn it gets unexpectedly chilly at times.

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Hof Zuort, Weiler and Restaurant, Engadin, Suiss

Hof Zuort, Hotel and Gasthaus, Zuort close to Ramosch, Eastern Engadin, Switzerland

IMG_1190Without a previous recommendation, you would not easily find this magical and fabulous place, deep in the Eastern alps of Switzerland. Or you find yourself on a tracking or climbing tour and would like to stop over somewhere different from the typical alpine hut. This historic and untouched hamlet is surrounded by big mountains, wood and meadows – and is almost unreachable by car.  http://www.zuort.ch/

At this place, time stands still. The only noise here comes from the surrounding nature, or from the creak of IMG_1183old wooden floors and walls.

The place offer unique and historic rooms (a very limited number !) in original style. You better reserve many days in advance if you’re traveling there during summertime.

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