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Stumbling Upon Staufen in the Black Forest

Most people create a list of places that they would like to visit while living in Germany. You want to be sure to hit all the highlights while the opportunity presents itself. It’s easy to focus on the big sights and overlook smaller places that capture often unseen elements of life in Germany. There is a case to be made for carving out time to visit the small towns and villages that are so easy to speed past on our way to bigger landmarks. When visiting the Upper Black Forest, I found time to spend an afternoon in Staufen, a little village that borders the Rhineplain piedmont and the Black Forest.

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Located about thirty minute from Freiburg, Staufen serves as a sort of gateway to the Black Forest. It offers the best of the Rhineland region and the Black Forest in one place. The village is crowned by castle ruins sitting on top of a hill that is criss-crossed by grape vines. In addition to the wine culture encouraged by Staufen’s proximity to the Rhineland, the town also houses Schladerer Liqueur. Schladerer Liqueur specializes in fruit brandies and liqueurs produced from local crops. Its little shop sits at the front of the distillery and welcomes visitors throughout the week. It is conveniently located right across the street from a parking area open to the public (the address can be found below), which makes it the perfect place to start your visit. After sampling some brandies, a short walk around the corner brings you to the town square and main street lined by several wine shops.

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The wine shops and the vineyards that surround the castle ruins reveal the important place that wine production holds in Staufen’s culture and history. In the middle of town, large grape presses take center stage and undoubtedly are put to good use during festival days. You can easily imagine turning the crank and taking part in the production of all the wines available in the surrounding shops. The wine shops offer a variety of options from local producers such as Staufener Schloβberg and Doctor Faustus. I went home with several bottles after tasting some of the local specialties in Vinothek Staufen and Weinhus Landmann. In both shops, I found friendly salespeople who were open to making suggestions and offering samples.

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Before leaving Staufen and making your way to the next highlight of your Black Forest vacation, indulge in a traditional Black Forest culinary experience at Kornhaus Restaurant & Weinstube. The restaurant is located in a prominent place at the head of the village square. The building dates back to 1410. A fire damaged much of it in 1560, but it was rebuilt in 1568. From 1569 to 1790, it served as the city’s panty and then became a storage area for the fire brigade. Today, it houses a restaurant and wine room that specialize in Black Forest culinary delights. I enjoyed a German pasta square with layers of spinach, Black Forest ham, gammon, and cheese with a delicate cream sauce for under twelve Euro. The cheese and cream may make the dish sound heavy, but the pasta was rolled so thin and each layer was so carefully prepared that the pasta squares came across as perfectly delicate rather than too rich. The restaurant also offered a children’s menu that satisfied my family’s needs. The menu can be previewed at www.kornhaus-staufen.de.

An afternoon spent in Staufen proved to be the perfect introduction to the Black Forest. The wine culture of the Rhineplain piedmont was in full bloom next to the dense trees of the Black Forest region. It would have been easy to overlook this little town, but it would have been a shame to miss out on everything it has to offer.

Schladerer Liqueur
Alfr-Schladerer-Platz 1
79219 Staufen
+49(0) 7633 8320
Hours of operation are 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM Monday through Friday and 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturday. More information about Schladerer Liqueur and its products can be found at www.schladerer.de.

Weinhaus Landmann
Auf dem Rempart 2
79219 Staufen
The wine shop is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. From March to December, it is also open Sundays and holidays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Wine tastings are available from March to November from 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM Monday through Friday and from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. More information can be found at www.landmann-wein.de or by calling +49(0) 7633 55 10.

Vinothek Staufen
Hauptstraβe 12
79219 Staufen
Vinothek Staufen is open Monday to Friday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday. More information can be found at www.vinothek-staufen.de or by calling +49(0) 7633 / 93 93 277.

Kornhaus Restaurant & Weinstube
Hauptstraβe 57
79219 Staufen
Opening hours are 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM and 5:00 PM to midnight Monday through Friday and 11:00 AM to midnight on weekends and holidays.
For more information, including details about menu options, visit www.kornhaus-staufen.de or call +49(0) 7633 54 01.

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