Staufen Black Forest Germany, wine country

Black Forest Cakes in Germany and a No Bake Chocolate Cherry Dessert

Do you really think a sweet tooth determines our family holiday destinations? Well, perhaps it does. It has been 30 years since I last visited Germany and the same, ridiculous amount of time since I practised my rusty high school German. Mein Deutsch ist nicht gut!  It was high time to visit.

We headed to the medieval town of Staufen, south of the Black Forest, a jewel nestled in between lush mountaineous forests, vines, cafés and bakeries.

What amazed us most about the region, is how clean and tidy the towns are. Everything is immaculate, even down to the neat stacks of wood piled outside geranium window-boxed freshly painted houses. It’s also the first time I’ve seen kids paddling about in the gutters! (Well, one of them was mine – was ist das?) The Germans seem particularly eco-friendly: bikes are the norm, an impressive amount of houses have flashy solar panels and their signposting is nothing short of perfection.

We stayed at the Gasthaus Krone (meaning ‘crown’), which is an excellent address in Staufen – including their Michelin ‘Bib Gourmand’ restaurant. Luckily the friendly owner spoke some French, since my painful phrases embarrassingly resembled a mix of German vocabulary, French grammar and stuttering English fillers-in. I am determined to return after doing some homework next time, but at least communication through food is easier!

Meandering down the main cobbled street, serenaded by a solo oboist trying to compete with the local brass quintet oompa-ing around the fountain, the castle ruins and vineyards majestically tower over the local wineries. The city crest is a shield with 3 wine glasses so when in Staufen, it would be rude not to taste; their welcoming barrels proudly strut their tasting offerings.

This is what holidays are made of: sitting back, people-watching, contemplating family postcards, nibbling on a salted bretzel and sipping at the local traditional grape varieties – including the oldest, Gutedel. Personally, I preferred the dry Muscat for white wines but their red wines shone high above the rest with some stunning Pinot Noirs, bursting with jam-like cherry fruits.

Staufen Castle, although now a ruin (built in 850), can be visited to admire the breathtaking vista of the Black Forest and Rhine Valley. Looking out the arched window, we’re reminded by such an enormous tree that we’re in black cherry country.

After such a climb during the heatwave, it was time to follow the tempting signs dotted around the town to the nearest cake shop. It didn’t take us long to discover the Café Decker, undoubtedly the best cake shop and tea salon in Staufen. It was so decadently, deliciously decked in cakes that we admittedly returned three times.

Black Forest Cakes, küchen, more chocolate cakes, redcurrant meringue pies and macarons were just some of the treats that would make anyone go off their sweet trolley. I think I put on three kilos during the week!  So, switching to ice cream seemed a lighter idea: wouah! Teasingly steeped in Kirsch liqueur, it made an ideal excuse for an afternoon nap by the snoring river.

Back home, the Black Forest provided inspiration for a gluten free dessert back home: ideal for using up egg yolks and for serving with your chocolate macarons.  What’s more, it’s holiday style: quick, easy, tasty and no bake!

Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Cream Desserts

Serves 8 (mini pots) or 4 (in wine glasses)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours

1 gelatine sheet (@2 g)
200ml whole milk
300ml single cream
3 egg yolks
50g sugar
150g dark cooking chocolate, broken into small chunks
1 tbsp Kirsch liqueur (optional)
16 fresh cherries (or Griottine cherries, soaked in Kirsch)

1. Soak the gelatine in cold water. Meanwhile break up the chocolate into pieces in a large bowl. In a saucepan, boil the milk and cream.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the yolks and sugar until light and creamy. Pour over the hot milky cream, mix and transfer back to the saucepan.

3. Whisk vigorously over a medium heat until the cream thickens. Take off the heat then pour over half of this hot cream on to the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts, add Kirsch (if using), the gelatine (squeezed of any excess water) and then whisk in the rest of the hot cream.

4. Transfer to 8 mini serving dishes (or 4 if you’re greedy like us), cool and chill for at least an hour. Decorate with fresh dark cherries and/or Griottine cherries soaked in Kirsch and a scoosh of Chantilly cream*. (Or why not roast cherries with a splash of Kirsch as Jamie Schler does at Life’s a Feast?)

If you have a siphon, fill it up half way with chilled cream (no less than 30% fat) and splash in a couple of tablespoons of Kirsch or cherry syrup, fit with the gas canister, shake and chill for a few minutes. Instant, homemade lighter-than-light cream!

Guten Appetit!

 

23 replies
  1. Liz
    Liz says:

    What a marvelous holiday for your family! It’s no surprise you sniffed out the best bakery in town. And then you returned home to make a marvelous dessert than may outshine it’s namesake! So beautiful, too!!! xo

    Reply
  2. Thomasina
    Thomasina says:

    I love this Black Forest blog Jill. I would love to visit these places too sampling your choice of hotels and wonderful places to eat . Yes, you would be a great asset to the German Tourist Board. I’d love to read your Black Forest cookbook if this is a sample.

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      You would love it, Thomasina, I’m sure. Black Forest cookbook? No plans, no, but perhaps I should get my act together with the other manuscripts!

      Reply
  3. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen
    Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says:

    Hi Jill, you should work for the German tourist board. It may be how it is sold here, but it never grabs me as a holiday destination but this post makes me want to hop on the next plane to Staufen (A city with wine glasses in its crest, I have got to visit!)

    I love the makeover you have given the Black Forest Gateau – what a stunning dessert!

    Reply
  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I’m TOTALLY jealous of your holiday! And the elegant lady in the third picture must be you. 😀 Love looking at your holiday photos and wish I could visit there one day! And the cherry and chocolate dessert (and no bake!!) is a wonderful treat.

    Reply
  5. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Oh, Jill, what a stunning holiday! I have never visited that region of Germany (have seen almost none of Germany, period!) but it does look and sound like the best vacation spot. Simply beautiful. And the desserts sound like what we discovered when we visited Budapest and which was maybe the best part of the trip 😉

    I adore your dessert!!! I have to make this (and oddly enough have a lovely jar of boozy griottines in my cabinet)! Stunning! Chocolate and cherries and a shot of whipped cream is heaven!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Well, Jamie, sounds like you need to add this to your future plans. Only 30 mins drive from Colmar, so you can have your fix of chocolate, cream, cherries and boozy delights!

      Reply
  6. Paula
    Paula says:

    Beautiful photographs and an awesome looking dessert. My husband has been to Germany but outside of a change of flights there, I’ve not had the pleasure of visiting. It is our hope to both visit there together one day.

    Reply
  7. parisbreakfast
    parisbreakfast says:

    When I visited company HQ in the Blackforest it looked like they had just put down their paint brushes and dashed inside. Insanely tidy. Unfortunately there were NO fab pastry shops that I recall.The big company soiree was a Mediterranean theme with seafood of all things! All I wanted was German crout and all the trimmings.
    Your trip looks ever so much better!!
    And your inspired dessert is as usual to die for.

    Reply
  8. Brigitte
    Brigitte says:

    Wow…they look delicious! I’m always wondering what to do with my egg yolks!

    I think that it’s a shame that not many people consider Germany for a holiday destination especially if you are travelling by car rather than by air. We have driven all the way to the south west of France without giving the distance a moments thought, but never really thought about driving to Bavaria or the Black Forest that probably wouldn’t take as long to get to.
    I spent most of my teen years summers in Austria which in many ways is similar to southern Germany. I learnt the language there and more importantly learnt to love cake! My mum didn’t make cakes and we couldn’t afford the shop brought variety. How wonderful it was then to be introduced to the likes of kuchen mit sahne every afternoon with cup after cup of real coffee. And to piles of freshly made apricot filled dumplings, kugelhopf and of course apple strudel. A trip to the konditorei was heaps better than the much inferior equivalent here at home, But that was in the 70’s and thankfully things have improved here in the UK. The French have their wonderful patisserie, but give me a slice of Black forest gateau or Sacher torte any day.

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Brigitte, agree with you entirely. I couldn’t find a travel agent here in France that did Germany apart from weekend trips to Berlin or Munich, so ended up organising myself on the internet. In the end, it’s only 30 mins drive from Alsace, another wonderful spot with Black Forest pastry versions which are just as sublime. Apricot dumplings? Missed those – we’ll have to return!

      Reply
  9. Liz
    Liz says:

    Thank you Jill. Funnily enough I am trying to refresh my German at the moment with downloads from Michel Thomas – great fun and my German is very laughable! Really love this post and the recipe and the pics of Staufen – it looks like you all had a wonderful, sunny time. And that cafe! Wow. Black Forest cookbook by Jill?
    All best and thank you, Liz

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks, Liz. Would recommend you popping by this place if you want to brush up on your German, then. Even if it’s just the sweet vocabulary! 😉

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Click on the images on the left to enlarge. These macarons are delicious with this easy No-Bake Chocolate Cherry Pudding […]

  2. […] time in the kitchen but fancy some quick and tasty no-bake chocolate desserts, then what about some black forest chocolate puddings, chocolate orange creams or chocolate & candied chestnut cups? What’s more, they are […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *