27, 2009 Paris to Riquewihr
Walked over to the St. Lazare train station to get our car
and then get outta Dodge. Jeff navigated us through Paris and
down the Champs-Elysees without any problems. Last trip I was
navigator. Not usually a good thing for the one who gets car
sick reading the map. Of course once we were on the road, we
had to make our lunch calculations. The French all take lunch
and it is at lunchtime. The destination was Chalons-en-Champagne.
Plenty of options. Drove to the centre ville, parked et voila.
We had a very good landmark, the Notre Dame Chalons-en-Champagne.
The weekly market was going on so we had a walk through.
We opted for a light lunch at a brasserie. Of course the salads
were loaded with cured pork product. Mmm. Back on the road.
About 5 hours from Paris, many tolls, long tunnel and bam, we
are in Alsace. We had the the traditional sighting of the storks
to greet us.
Our end destination, Riquewihr, is a very darling town. Totally
touristy. This is where we meet up with Birgit, Holger, and
A little walk about town. Sit and visit with some drinks. Then
get ready for dinner. We are off to Caveau d'Eguisheim. Jeff
and I went here in 2000. It now has a 1 star. The hostess/waitress/steward
was very funny. She asked if we spoke French and was relieved
when we said yes. We did the best we could with the menu for
Birgit, Holgar and Michaela. French to our English to their
German. It worked. Birgit got the pictures (I was busy eating).
The waitress explained the specials verbally. Jeff and I got
what we could. Some don't translate pretty. We all got the same
amuse of gazpacho (a bit off putting with the cumin). Anyway
our waitress "guilted" Jeff and I into some of the specials.
Jeff had the crustecean stuffed zucchini flower with a tangy
mushroom "salsa" and then the pork trotters wrapped around ris
de veau. Beyond rich. I had foie gras special. It was giant.
Then I had the squab with the most perfectly cooked spring vegetable
tartlette. The gang all got the lobster ravioli with a gorgeous
saffron sauce. Birgit and Michaela had the scallops with cepes
gnocchi (yum) and Holger the cod with artichokes. Holger got
the winner dessert of strawberries with very thinly sliced blanched
tomatoes and basil and mint. The chocolate for Birgit and Michaela
was very rich and heavy. Too much after the rest of the meal.
Jeff had sorbet of Marc d'Alsace. I had a meringue filled with
sorbet and rhubarb. We had two different Pinot Blancs. Nice
evening and we closed down the place.
28, 2009 Riquewihr
We didn't want to start too early for Michaela and Holger.
10 we met to begin the day. A stroll to the main avenue and
some coffee and croissants. Then it was off the Rodern, the
center of Pinto Noir for the region (not the most prevelant
grape in the region). It being Sunday, many places are closed.
We parked and walked into a degustation that was open, Koeberle
Kreyer. The gal was very nice, very helpful. She spoke perfect
German. So we were all happy. We ended up with a 08 old vines
and 06 eleve en barriques Pinot Noir and a 02 VT Pinot Blanc.
It was time for lunch and the drive to Itterswiller. After a
small diversion, we ended up on the hilltop with the great view.
Hotel-Restaurant (Winstub) Arnold.
Choucroute was the order of the day. It was a nice leisurely
afternoon. Back to Riquewihr. We had a degustation at Hugel
in the town. The poor tasting room gal (a family member) was
totally haired. We ended up with the estate gewurtzraminers,
05 Jubliee, 01 VT and the 98 Hommage Jean Hugel. It wasn't quite
time for the German contingient to leave, so we went to the
brasserie for cold drinks and some more visiting. They left
at 6ish. Jeff and I had a little walk in the vineyards and town.
We wanted something light for dinner. Ha! So we wandered around,
smelled our way to tarte flambee. This was great, but we shoulda
split it. Bread board of super thin "crust" with cheese, onion
and pork product (the specialty of the region, bien sur), salads
and a riesling. Leisurely meal on the outdoor living room. Some
research into tomorrow's actvities. Yes, more wine and food.
on to On our Own in