Western Germany (Mosel & Rheingau) wine & food touring info
I will be renting a car in Luxembourg and have 3 full days before heading out of Frankfurt airport - this will be springtime. Our goal as a group is: visit one spot in the Moselle, visit one spot in the Rheingau, maybe a brewery, and eat fantastic food. I am having a heck of a time getting solid recommendations as to where to stop.
I'm told that Trier is a must - have a meal, look at ruins, etc. Does it warrant an overnight stay or just a stop and walk? I'm absolutely torn between the Moselle towns...I hear that I must stop in Cochem, then I hear that Bremm is the place to go to see the steepest slopes, then I hear that Bernkastel-Kues is the best wine town in Germany. Well, what's the deal? Assuming they all have great wine, which do I choose from a food perspective? Wanting to avoid Wiesbaden, I'm told that Assmannshausen is the place to stop in the Rheingau. Thoughts? Suggestions?
What about breweries in this region? Any interesting places to stop? I've done beer in Cologne and Munich, of course Belgium, but never thought to look in all these tiny towns.
Also please note: the group is made up of chefs and sommeliers. We're open to try anything. For instance, if there's a guy in some random little town somewhere known for his calf brain stew, we want to know. Farms, cheeses, shops, snacks, whatever! We've traveled too far and too long to settle for the underwhelming outdoor tourist cafes.
I did some of this tour last summer. I'm a sucker for Roman ruins. That said, I'd recommend not skimping any time for Trier; the place is amazing. We also stayed a night in Berkastel-Kues, totally touristically kitsch -- but fun. We ate twice in the Indian restaurant in the old town. It's pretty good actually, and Indian food pairs wonderfully with Riesling. There is a ruin of an old Roman winery along the Mosel. You'll see a small sign for it, and don't pass it by. The Romans were mass-producing wine almost 2000 years ago using technology not all that different from today.
Finally, if the weather permits, consider taking a hike on the hillsides overlooking the Mosel. There are lots of hiking trails, and you have to burn off all those alcohol-administered calories somehow.
For a more unique experience, I would recommend a river cruise along the Rhein and/or Mosel. Some of the cruise lines have special trips for wine. The wine tasting period, btw, is usually in the early autumn, around September.
Definitely don't miss the white asparagus in spring! I don't have a lot of experience in that area but we had a great asparagus lunch at Restaurant Zur Kanne in Deidesheim, an area also known for its Riesling.
Because I am not too familiar with that area of Germany, I don't have any recommendations. Sorry. However, Luxembourg is not too far from Baerenthal (2-hr drive), which does have an amazing restaurant/hotel run by Jean-George Klein. I ate there many years ago and their food is impressive. It is a destination in itself for many foodies. Here is their website. http://www.arnsbourg.com
Between Luxembourg and Baerenthal, lies Bitche, which has an interesting Citadel and a beautiful 360 degree of the surrounding landscape. In Bitche, there is Le Strasbourg, which is supposed to have amazing food. The last time we were in Bitche, we didn't have reservations and were unable to get a table. The next time we head there, we will try it out.
From Baerenthal, it is only a few hours drive to the Moselle or Rhein area, depending on which you prefer. I have eaten at many places along the Rhein, but I found that most were rather tourist and not worth the drive for food/wine. For food/wine experience, I prefer to drive a bit further to the Alsace region or across the border to France.
If you do visit the Moselle or Rhein area during your trip, I would love to hear what gems you find.
Another suggestion may be to pick one of your favorite vineyards from either area and see if you can arrange a wine tour. That might be interesting for your group.
Hope this helps. Have a good trip.