Any Season in Alsace is the Right Season!
I won’t say it again, “I Love Alsace!” OK, there, that’s it. The. Last. Time. Ever.
Last spring we went for a French getaway weekend and with Alsace just over the border from us, how could we resist. We have been up and down the fabulously scenic Rue de Vins and can easily be pursuaded to go back.
In the spring you’ll find the tiny, bright green leaves just popping out as the gnarly and twisted grape vines reawaken from their winter slumber. The storks are coming back to roost atop village houses and chapels; and tulips and fruit trees are blooming madly.
We arrived in one of our favorite quiet and quaint Alsatian villages, Kientzheim, in the early afternoon on Saturday. This is an old, walled town that was left largely intact during WWII. While the Hostellerie Schwendi did have some bomb-damage, it was expertly rebuilt using family photos and floor plans. The rooms here are very affordable, comfortable, clean and cozy.
The family also runs their own vineyard and offers their wines exclusively on the menu in their delectable dining room. We’ve written about the food here before, but I can’t help mention that I had the best trout dinner anywhere, right in their cellar restaurant. And while some would complain that the wine list is limited, we’ve found all the wines to be quite enjoyable.
To find this awesome place: Hostellerie Schwendi, 2 Place Schwendi, 68240 Kientzheim, France
Wandering around this tiny village, you’ll have ample opportunities to sample local vineyard offerings and make purchases to restock your wine cellar. This is a white wine area and Kientzheim is best known for their delicious Riesling. You can also take a stroll along the ancient defensive wall and out into the vineyards to really get back to nature.
Waking up on Sunday morning, you’ll not find much on offer for breakfast in Kientzheim aside from the Schwendi’s fine continental buffet. But it is a bit expensive if all you’re looking for is a good café au lait and a hot, fresh baked, flaky croissant. For that, we recommend a drive to neighboring Kaysersberg. You really should be visiting this essential Alsatian village anyway. The half-timbered houses here are painted in lively colors sitting along a babbling stream that runs a few medieval mills. Did I mention the castle-ruins overlooking the gothic cathedral?
Before setting out to explore the town, you must stop at the boulangerie-café L’enfariné just down the street from the cathedral. This artisan café has been our Sunday stop on practically every visit to the region. The couple that runs the place pride themselves on their traditional, organic baked goods. And for good reason. You won’t find a better croissant or pain au chocolate, in all of France. Don’t worry if you walk in as the last croissant is being whisked off the tray, there will be another batch coming out of the oven while you wait and watch. The mouth-watering aroma, however, may just do you in!