Architectural treasures grace your entry to Munich, and the luxuriant Louis Hotel am Viktualienmarkt is surrounded by aesthetic delights. Relax and unwind from the flight, then allow the cozy atmosphere of Bavaria’s capital to entice you outside. Fountains dance and palace’s flicker beneath soft light as you step onto the Munich streets, the city combining old world charm with a refined sophistication. Slowly soak up the first impressions of Christmas cheer, a wonderful optimism stemming from the charming side streets and mystical markets.
By now you’ll have already smelled Bratwurst, Germany’s famous sausage sizzling on street corners. Don’t worry. That’s not going to be your dinner. This itinerary reveals an unknown and upcoming side to the country’s culinary offering that is unlike any other, delivering a perfectionist’s collection of 12 Michelin Stars in one tiny universe as you journey to an unexpected culinary center.
Appropriately positioned at the summit of the Olympic Tower, you will find Restaurant 181. This Michelin Star rated restaurant revolves, and Munich glistens beneath your eyes. Chef Otto Koch presents a signature menu that elevates your German culinary expectations. Some of his renowned dishes are the goose liver terrine with popcorn, Breton style lobster, roasted saddle of venison and each dish is tailored for the discerning and demanding palate. And this is just the start.
Winter brings out Munich’s charms with Baroque architecture gazing down on endearing shops and boutique treasures. While you have a free day for exploration, allow yourself to be immersed in the city’s compelling contradictions. There’s the ultra chic and wonderfully slick side to parts of the city, yet an encompassing village atmosphere suppresses any pretentiousness. With 17th-century monuments guiding the journey, stroll around the shops of Maximilian Strasse, and continue on to the Christmas market on Marienplatz.
The Germans know a few things about winter festivities; the Christmas tree was their idea, and their Christmas markets have been around since the 14th century. Even 600 years later they’re still serving up spicy Gluhwein (mulled wine) with gingerbread. A huge Christmas tree illuminates Marienplatz, revealing pathways between intriguing delectables and seductive market stalls. Just around the corner is the manger market, its nativity scenes complete with lanterns and donkeys. And if the Christmas cheer becomes too much, your tranquil hotel is within walking distance.
Tonight’s Michelin Star offering comes from TV-star chef Alfons Schuhbeck at his restaurant, Schuhbecks in den Sudtiroler Stuben. Despite being arguably Germany’s most famous TV chef and recipe book creator, Schuhbeck still wanders through his own restaurant to greet diners; this personal touch is reflective of his devotion and attention to detail. Bavarian delicacies are the starting point here, a surprising culinary heritage revealed in the powerful flavors and strong textures. Then Schuhbeck shows off, spinning in a world of spices, tantalizing the taste buds with hints of the exotic and blossoms of the aromatic. Like every night on this itinerary, a five-course signature menu is included.
This morning’s cultural tour provides a narrative to Munich’s heritage in a world of galleries and museums. There’s a focus on tradition, unveiling a history that’s meandered through many centuries of wealth and renovation. Places like Pinakothek and the Deutsches Museum linger in the memory as well as disclose an alternative side to this city of highlights. As an optional tour, you can explore another of the region’s famous specialities -- Bavarian beer. Tour the Paulaner Brewery and relive centuries of brewing history.
From an authentic Bavarian day comes a truly international evening. The delightful Les Deux combines unpretentious French cuisine with an ingenious Japanese profile. Just browse some of the ingredients; Hokkaido pumpkin, yellow fin tuna suffused with wasabi, baby eel, guinea breast, hamachi, and Valrhona chocolate. This courtyard gem revels in its perfectionist experimentation, complementing the innovation with a 500 strong wine cellar and one of Germany’s most respected sommeliers. After the glitz of Restaurant 181 First and the fame of Schuhbecks, Les Deux provides a more casual atmosphere and showcases another distinct side to Munich’s Michelin Star repertoire.
This morning you leave Munich and saunter west, a scenic train journey through vibrant landscapes and charming Bavarian villages. Despite being the headquarters for Mercedes and Porsche, Stuttgart clings to its 10th-century history and traditions. Boutique luxury is first imbued at your five-star accommodation, its blend of ancient glamor and attention to detail are emblematic of the city. You will find galleries, chic shops, castle relics, and enthralling city squares.
This afternoon, your guided tour of Stuttgart contains a mesmeric diversity, yet it’s deeply laid-back in style. As lights begin to twinkle and gentle smells float between craftsmen's stalls, you’ll be exploring one of Germany’s largest Christmas markets, its intimate atmosphere unaffected by the immense size. Shop for friends and family, or soak up the coziness and let your eyes wander onto eclectic treats.
Frank Oehler is the creator of tonight’s enchantment as you continue on your culinary journey at the Michelin Star rated Speisemesiterei. His signature menu radiates class and style. Molto caviar, blue prawn and scallops, and venison with Tellicherry pepper sauce are just a few of his signature dishes. Opulent interiors provide the photographic backdrop to your Speisemesiterei restaurant table, and a lavish collection of dishes take the tongue on an elegant tasting journey. Like most Michelin-rated chefs, Oehler has a fondness for tradition with an insatiable appetite for subtle nuances and tailored sublimity. And let’s not forget the feeling of royalty that accompanies a meal at Speisemesiterei; it’s one that befits the regal history of this famous city.
Nestled between the evergreen canopy of the Black Forest, the quaint little town of Baiersbronn celebrates the calmness of a region. It’s serene all day long, all year round; trails weave through the trees, cute townhouses stand on quiet roads, and soothing views extend from the hotel balcony. Baiersbronn makes for the perfect country retreat; small and tranquil yet packed with character. Yet it seems like a peculiar place for a culinary center. This itinerary is all about surprises, though, and within walking distance of your hotel, there are two triple Michelin Star restaurants (as many as London) with a further three stars in the vicinity.
Harald Wohlfahrt’s culinary celebration, Schwarzaldstube Restaurant, continues to stick to its village traditions. Wohlfarhrt’s fame has risen exponentially over the last 20 years, yet his triple Michelin Star restaurant remains small and intimate, with only 11 tables. You could fill the tables four times over, ten times perhaps, but that wouldn’t suit a chef who delights in spending every evening in the kitchen. It’s in the kitchen where a craft is perfected and the sumptuous combinations are individually designed; delicacy that briefly bursts with intensity, competing flavors that impeccably balance, a life’s work epitomized in a single dish. Your five-course menu at Schwarzaldstube provides a wondrous introduction to the delights of Baiersbronn. This is the chef that’s recently cooked for the Clintons, Dalai Lama, Hollywood stars, and now you.
So with bellies full and palates satisfied, you walk back to your room. As the last drops of sorbet float around the mouth and you unwind in your five-star room, you’re trying not to - but you’re already imagining what breakfast is going to be like.
Just how did Baiersbronn emerge as a culinary center? This is a town of 15,000 people. Other than New York, it’s got more three-star Michelin restaurants than any US city. How? It’s a question that runs through your mind as you unwind in your accommodation’s sumptuous spa, endless views of the Black Forest extending from the panoramic sauna. This is the Black Forest in a microcosm; tranquil, easy on the eye, and always enticing you to stay longer. Now the question is, will you ever leave the spa? Perhaps. But not just yet, there’s another rich green view from the pool.
History also helps explain how this culinary center emerged. When one five-star hotel created a fine dining restaurant, the town’s other five-star hotel followed suit. For over 30 years the two restaurants have been jovially trying to outdo one another. The Michelin Stars arrived and were never relinquished, after all, quality can’t lapse for a moment when two generations of culinary rivalries are at stake. Other nearby hotels joined the battle for edible stardom. Fast-forward to the 21st century and over half of Germany's three-star chefs trained in a Baiersbronn kitchen. It shouldn’t be that surprising. The German reputation for fastidiousness and quality control doesn’t just help them make good cars.
Tonight you sample the Baiersbronn rivalry, sitting down in an eight-table dining room at Bareiss. Some of the most renown dishes are the Breton red mullet on white haricot cream with chorizo, sautéed sweetbreads and porcini mushrooms, black-feather chicken with pumpkin and verbena sauce… okay, let’s stop before someone eats the page. Aromas seep through from the kitchen, gliding across a debonair dining room and mingling with excited chatter. Impeccably selected wine sloshes into glasses, the entrees are almost too beautiful to cut open, and elegance oozes from every part of the dining experience. Which three Michelin Star restaurant do you prefer? That’s the Baiersbronn conundrum, the indecipherable question that ensures the town continues to elevate definitions of culinary quality.
This is a journey of surprise and even after seven days, the culinary creations continue to dazzle. Germany doesn’t have a strong heritage of fine cuisine, something that aids the chefs’ experimentation and creativity. Rather than being hindered by tradition or bogged down by expectation, they have a blank canvas from which to impress the palate. Furthermore, as you’ll have discovered on this adventure, German fine dining is impossible to generalize into a single style or methodology. Seven Parisian restaurant meals can be imagined. Seven Michelin Star dinners in Germany can’t. And that’s what keeps every meal and dining experience fresh.
When you reach Schlossberg tonight you’re going to be hungry. Today you explore the Black Forest, with a guided hiking or mountain biking tour weaving through the evergreens. Mist sometimes flickers through the trees, a mystical veil that takes you deeper into the forest. The adventure is tailored to your fitness and interests with dozens of different trails providing an immersion with nature.
Let’s return to the Baiersbronn conundrum. How does a newer restaurant compete with the two famous stars? It’s a challenge that Jorg Sackmann approaches with omnipresent creativity, always looking to push boundaries and imbue his trademark finesse. Schlossberg screams of a regal era, aristocratic opulence oozing from the dining room and floating through an immense wine cellar. Each dish exudes experimentation and creative balance, a hundred tastes working their way across the tongue. Perhaps it’s fitting that this itinerary culminates here with Schlossberg reflecting the excitement of new German cuisine and the ingenuity of the world’s new culinary center.
Today you return to Munich by train, gliding through the Black Forest and connecting with your departure flight from the Bavarian capital.
Think of a European culinary vacation and the mind races to Italy, or wanders down a Parisian boulevard. But Germany? Isn’t that supposed to be bratwursts and dumplings? This unique journey confronts the stereotype, revealing the planet’s most exciting new culinary center: the Black Forest. Aromatic opulence blends with indelible panache, baroque brilliance subtly weaves into exhilarating new styles, TV-star chefs present signature menus, and this enchanting corner of Southern Germany offers 12 Michelin Stars in one surreal week of five-course dining.
Don’t worry if this sounds a little surprising. It’s hard to throw away the image of grilled sausages, but take tiny Baiersbronn, a captivating village nestled amidst a thick awning of evergreens. You’ll find charming farmhouses, luxurious spas, endless hiking trails… and eight Michelin Stars. Harald Wohlfahrt’s delicate, yet intense, creations greet you at Schwarzaldstube, then Claus-Peter Lumpp’s unrivaled aesthetics symbolize the inimitable menu at Bareiss. Mosaics of wild king prawn and truffle, sweetbreads of veal and Parmesan crust, micro-pureed rhubarb ice-cream, and you’ve still got Jorg Sackmann’s flair for Mediterranean perfectionism at the Schlossberg to come. Baiersbronn epitomizes the unexpected delights of the Black Forest, a sensual feast enhanced by bucolic landscapes and spas. It provides the final stop on this itinerary.
Still surprised? It’s expected. Most of these restaurants don’t advertise widely and Restaurant Bareiss only has eight tables. After experiencing Baiersbronn, your impressions and expectations of German’s culinary scene will be elevated. Starting with three days of boutique indulgence in Munich, Bavaria’s capital serves up majestic palaces, artistic treasures, and mystical Christmas markets of delectables and intrigue. Each night culminates in Michelin Star revelry, starting at the innovative Restaurant 181 First, revolving above the city from the Olympic Tower summit. Then comes the Bavarian delight of TV chef Alfons Schuhbeck. Munich bursts with compelling contradictions, the cozy old world atmosphere mingling with slick sophistication. Enjoy your evening at Les Deux where you will be delighted by unpretentious traditional French cuisine with a Japanese note and a 500 strong wine menu.
A scenic train ride will unveil the region’s picturesque glory and Stuttgart reveals its wizardry on this journey passing through an alluring Christmas market and the city’s cultural highlights. Frank Oehler is the master of ceremonies in Stuttgart, his signature five-course menu befitting the TV stardom. Like every hand-selected restaurant on this itinerary, the food is created for the discerning and demanding.
Raise your expectations. Raise them further. And you’ll still be wowed. Completing and complementing the handcrafted itinerary is a tailored collection of boutique five-star hotels, each matching the chefs’ originality and attention to detail, and ensuring the visual splendor stretches from delicate entree to serene bedroom.
This itinerary is recommended for Christmas travel in 2019, although it’s applicable all year round. Sections of this itinerary may be further customized per client’s request.
$2395 per person (excluding international flights)
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