Germany: Around Freiburg

30 09 2008

Besides the Black Forest, there are several towns and splendid countryside surrounding the city of Freiburg that are worth exploring.  Much of southwestern Germany is covered in vineyards and cultivated land that provide fresh, seasonal food and drink to cities and towns in the area.  Most areas are within a 20-30 minute car ride of Freiburg and well worth the trip.

Quaint towns like Ihringen that specialize in wine production are part of the fertile countryside in the Freiburg area. Ihringen is located on the southern tip of Kaiserstuhl on top of an old volcano that was transformed into vineyards, in between the Winklerberg and Fohrenberg appellations (wine regions).  This small town is full of wineries, restaurants, pubs and guesthouses that are surrounded by vineyards and orchards.  Just like the meticulous vineyards, the town itself is beautifully maintained.

An inviting restaurant/pub overflowing with flower boxes in Ihringen.

A winery

A guesthouse/restaurant

Pretty window boxes are the norm here.

Vineyards and orchards are just outside of town

Picturesque town like Ihringen dot the countryside in this area.  In fact, we drove through 2 or 3 just going to Ihringen.

Vineyards and farms take up the spaces in between these towns.

One of the delights of the Freiburg area are the numerous seasonal dining establishments called Strauße that serve traditional food from the region.  The word Strausse, or ostrich in German, is related to the use of brooms that traditionally indicated that the venues were open.  These are not restaurants, but rather the dining rooms attached to farms and wineries that enjoy a special tax status if they follow a strict code.  These strausse must only serve food and wine of their own production, be open 16 weeks a year, and have 40 seats maximum.  To find a list of these establishments, you can buy a brochure listing these “Strausse” from certain shops and bookstores in Freiburg.

A few tips on these brochures:
1) Ask the cashier for help in finding this brochure and if the store doesn’t carry it, ask who does.  Most Germans, especially University educated Germans, speak English so it will not be hard to ask.
2) Make sure to call the kitchens before you go because the days they are open shift around every year.

On our visit, we were able to visit 2 different Strausse, which were both very good.  L and M wanted to take us to their favorite one but unfortunately they were closed on the days we were in the Freiburg area.  That’s why it’s so important to call beforehand for hours, directions, and if a reservation is needed.

Burg Cafe, Landeck

If you are looking to dine on traditional and fresh German food in the shadow of a ruined castle overlooking beautiful countryside, I would highly recommend the Burg Cafe in Landeck.  The food was good and fresh, and the views were even better.

Burg Cafe

We ate in the shadow of the ruined Burg Landeck.

The view from our table at Burg Cafe, looking away from the castle.

After we finished our meal at Burg Cafe, we took the stone steps up to the ruined castle.  It is literally across the road from the cafe and is a perfect after dinner walk.  Just climb up the stairs!

After seeing the ruined castle itself (you can no longer actually climb up the castle), be sure to explore the grassy area to the left.  You will be rewarded with these magnificent views.

Can you just imagine this scene:
King of Swamp Castle: One day, lad, all this will be yours.
Prince Herbert: What, the curtains?
King of Swamp Castle: No, not the curtains, lad, all that you can see stretched out over the valleys and the hills! That’ll be your kingdom, lad.
Quotation from Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail.

Burkles Winzerhof

On another night, we decided to try a seasonal winery L and M had never visited before since their original choice was closed.  Burkles Weinlaube turned out to be one of the nicer dining rooms with good solid German food. The wine and drinks were very good.  Besides the house wine, these Strausse also always have homemade apple soda and/or grape soda made from wine grapes if you would rather enjoy non-alcoholic beverages.  

You can’t see from my pictures, but if the kitchen is open, you will see a ceremonial broom with bristles over their door.

If you go to any regional kitchen, you MUST try their Flammenkuchen (onion and bacon tart).  It’s like a pizza, but better.


Garden Salad with shredded pickled vegetables

Fried steak with friend potatoes

A german ham salad

As you can see from the numerous posts on Freiburg and its environs, this area of southwestern Germany is full of natural beauty, interesting food and wine culture, and medieval history.  Even though I was able to spend a few days here, I wish I could have stayed longer.  There is so much to see and do here – I haven’t even started to scratch the surface.




4 responses

7 10 2008

Oh! Pizza and potatoes! And i like the pretty windows too

3 02 2009

Hello again,

I’m also wondering, I’ve forgotten if there are Strausse that are open Sundays. I had kept my Strausse guide for YEARS, but now can’t find it. I really remember from Germany how much is closed Sundays.

I’ll pick up a guide proper once I’m there, but I don’t suppose you recall or have the guide by to check?

I’m sorry to bother you, but it would be so helpful to me if you knew that information. I don’t need to know specifics, just if it happens.

3 02 2009

Hi pustekuchen,

I looked at the online listing for the Strausse I talk about in this post and it looks like they are open on Sundays, except Easter. I don’t understand German, though, so I may be wrong. Take a look at this link:

Of course for all of these Strausse, I would call ahead since they have weird opening hours. I think you can look up more listings here.

I hope that helps!


7 02 2009

Hi Pustekuchen,

I’ve been to Straussen lots of times on Sundays (I live in southern Germany)! As long as the Strause is open for business, they should be open on Sundays as well. But I would check just to make sure, if you have a guide handy. Hope that helps!


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