CHEF TO CHEF
So, off we went on a Sunday afternoon after lunch to Naurath in the forest not far from Mosel. We kept the car as empty as possible, because of course we wanted to bring back wine. The journey to Germany from Lochem in the Netherlands took three-and-a-half hours. Especially the last part was beautiful, with a landscape in magnificent autumn colours. We lived in the Ardennes ourselves for three years, in Belgium, and we still miss it, so this felt like coming home.
Left to right: Peter Gertenbach, Caroline van der Vlies, Harald Rüssel
JUST AS YOU’D IMAGINE
Then you arrive at RÜSSELs Landhaus, which is in a lovely location in a valley, with streams running around it and a pond where you can eat outside in the summer. You drive over the little bridge and see the traditional German house, just as you’d imagine. It’s still nice to sit outside in the autumn, with candles and garden seats.
That evening we ate at Hasenpfeffer, the house ‘gastro bistro’, which was warm and friendly with delicious food. And it’s really German, which after all is what you want if you’re in Germany. The venison sausages are highly recommended, and the wine list is the same as at RÜSSELs Landhaus’ Michelin-starred restaurant! We stayed in a lovely big suite, with candles and matches ready for you to light them, a stereo system, nice plants and fresh flowers. It goes without saying that in this atmosphere we had a wonderful night’s sleep. After breakfast, we explored one of the many walking trails that lead directly from the hotel. So we put to good use all the energy from the dinner the night before and the breakfast that morning.
Then we set off to fill up the car with wine. Harald Rüssel took us to the Kirsten winery in Klüsserath, just under half an hour by car from RÜSSELs Landhaus. It’s a medium-sized winery that specialises in Sekt, made both to bottle themselves and for other wineries. And it’s excellent Sekt. Although we’re not usually sparkling wine fans, we were very enthusiastic about this one, so the first boxes of wine were soon packed in the empty car. After tasting a lot more different wines, we were really enjoying ourselves, and the car got pretty full.
Photo: GNTB Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH
Harald and Ruth have been running the restaurant and hotel for years, and their eldest son recently joined his father in the kitchen. Ruth comes from a family of winemakers and she has a lot of experience at the hotel, both in front and back of house. Harald is the chef, and not only cooks like a star but has one from Michelin too. Harald and Ruth both have a really warm and friendly manner, which they’ve also managed to pass on to their colleagues. They make you feel really welcome. We never got the feeling we were too much trouble – the hospitality was perfect. We were interested to hear that both Harald and his son are keen hunters. The results of their hobby are evident in the wonderful game they serve in the restaurant, which they expertly prepare on the premises.
WORTH A SECOND STAR
On the second evening, we had a five-course meal at the Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant at RÜSSELs Landhaus. It was, in a word, amazing. We enjoyed it so much. The dishes were surprising, and we thought it was certainly worth a second star. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the Michelin star announcements in Germany. The dishes were very pleasantly accompanied by a fine selection of regional wines. There wasn’t only Riesling, but surprisingly enough, also Sauvignon blanc and Auxerrois from the Mosel valley. The fantastic Spätburgunder from the Luxembourg part of the Mosel was also outstanding. A tip from us: leave room in your car to bring back some of Harald Rüssel’s own quality products. Don’t miss out on his cookbooks, knife sets and gin.
OUR ONLY PROBLEM IS…
In the spring, we’ll have the pleasure of welcoming Harald and Ruth to stay with us at Hotel de Lochemse Berg. How will we manage to send them home as happy as we were?
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