Bloom in Bavaria

It’s one of the oldest states in Europe, and is known for Munich, beer and Oktoberfest, but there is also plenty to wax lyrical about on the culinary front.
By epicure
Published on Thursday, 01 Jul 2010

It’s one of the oldest states in Europe, and is known for Munich, beer and Oktoberfest, but Lee Chin Sin says there is also plenty to wax lyrical about on the culinary front.

Running the kitchen at Le Bistrot leaves me little time for a vacation, but I make it a point to plan one long holiday every year. This time, my mother and I settled on Bavaria. Since neither of us has ever been there and we were planning for the trip to coincide around her birthday, I could disguise my impulse to run away from work as an act of filial piety.

Disembarking from our twelve-hour flight, we bypassed Frankfurt city and caught a train to Würzburg, the heart of Franconian wine country. Through the windows of the Inter-city Express, the landscape rapidly wheeled into wide expanses of forested hills, with the occasional flowering tree bursting forth in bloom. The view would have been strongly evocative of some tale by the brothers Grimm but for the pylons that punctuated the country.

From Würzburg, we headed to the Alte Mainbrücke, which crosses the river Main over to the Medieval stronghold of the Festung Marienburg (Marienburg Fortress). Wave after wave of vineyards are cultivated on sloping hillsides. Most of what is called the ‘old’ part of the city is located around the bridge, though it consists predominantly of architectural replicas, resurrected after the destruction of the second World War.

At the head of the bridge on the eastern bank, there is a little wine shop called Mainwein (the name is, I suspect, cleverer in German since it rhymes). Here, we sampled the range of what Franconian viniculture has to offer. At about two euros per tasting portion of a hundred millilitres (some restaurants in Singapore would call this a glass), we quickly went through several varietals. The standout was a white wine made from Sylvaner (from the Eschendorfer Lump site); this was a pattern which was to recur over the next couple of days.

 

Excerpt from the July issue of epicure