Located in Germany’s beautiful Rheingau wine region, Hotel Kronenschlösschen is well-known for its award-winning cuisine and excellent wine list.
The hotel is also renown for hosting the prominent annual Rheingau wine festival; bringing together many Michelin-starred chefs and the best winemakers from around the globe. The festival has been on my list for a long time but so far has always clashed with other appointments in my diary.
Imagine my excitement when I found out the hotel also offers an annual programme featuring different food-and-wine related special themed lunches and dinners. Topics on the programme include food and wine parings focusing on Riesling wines, for which Rheingau is particularly famous.
Other events on offer showcase wine regions and foods from around the world. This includes tasting menus themed around Spanish Ibérico-Pata Negra ham, Wagyu beef and Bresse chicken or menus based on regional produce and wines such as Chianti Classico, Piedmont, South Africa and Australia.
Being a huge fan of Ibérico de Bellota ham and Rioja wines, it was an easy decision to book the Ibérico-themed tasting menu, and to take advantage of my visit to stay at the hotel overnight.
Originally built in the 1850s as a private residence, the property was transformed into a hotel at the end of the 19th century. Unfortunately, it was not taken care of very well and when it was bought by its current owner in 1990 it was at the verge of collapse.
Two years of careful renovation was needed to restore the buildings’ former splendour whilst making sure that the property was also equipped with all the necessary modern amenities. Today, Kronenschlösschen is regularly named one of the most beautiful and idyllic country hotels in Germany.
Elegant and classy, the hotel’s 18 rooms are all styled individually and feature antique furniture and marble-clad bathrooms.
The beautiful little garden shaded by several large trees holds the promise to be a great place to relax during warm summer days, when you can also dine al fresco on the terrace.
For dining, you can chose between the hotel’s two restaurants. For a more laidback option, the Bistro with a rustic country style feeling offers classic German food prepared in a light and easy style while the main restaurant offers fine dining.
Hotel Kronenschlösschen is located in the small historic town of Eltville-Hattenheim in one of the most beautiful German wine regions, the Rheingau.
It is the ideal place to base yourself if you want to explore the Rheingau or venturing further into the Middle Rhine valley with its many beautiful little towns and stunning castles. Or you can chose to hike through the nearby vineyards and of course do a lot of wine tastings at the regions many wineries. If you want to know more about this region, read my post Visiting the German Wine Regions: Rheingau.
About the menu
Kronenschlösschen’s tasting menus take place in the hotel’s main restaurant. Instead of separate seating, guests will gather around a long communal table. This immediately invokes the feeling of a shared experience with fellow wine and food enthusiasts.
As there is also some moderation around the menu and wine tasting, it also makes communication easier and does not disturb other restaurant guests.
I quite liked that the moderation was nicely balanced between providing interesting facts about the food and wine and the regions they come from but also giving guests enough room to simply enjoy the evening and themselves.
The menu kicked off with a glass of 2012 Conde de Haro Brut from Bodegas Muga whilst Kronenschlösschen’s Head Sommelier Florian Richter gave an update on what to expect during the evening. He also provided some background on Pata Negra Ibérico and the Rioja wine growing area and the wines it produces in a fun and easy way.
Here are some of the facts:
Pata Negra means ‘black hoof’ and refers to the colour of the pigs skin and hooves, which are predominantly black (but do not have to be). During the evening, we learned there are six different types of ‘pata negra’ pigs. They all stand for excellent ham but the best comes from the pigs that are all black as it has the most intense nutty taste.
Jamón Ibérico is referred to as the best Spanish ham, with the highest accolade given to Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. The difference of Ibérico ham and Ibérico de Bollota is that the first is made from the typical Ibérico bread but not fed on acorns whilst bellota is made from pigs fed on acorns.
Rioja-style wines pair particularly well with Ibérico ham because of it being aged in oak barrels. This gives the wine a vanilla-hazelnut type of sweetness which pulls out all the nutty sweetness of the ham.
The four course menu kicked off with a mousse from Bellota Ibérico Negra, which was an intriguing new interpretation of the classic starter pairing ham and melon.
Next came Braised Ibérico Cheeks. Soft enough to require no knife the meat beautifully corresponded with the subtle, mildly sweet flavour of the celery and leek.
A Filet of Ibérico cooked to the point was served as main course. Green asparagus, beans and apricot perfectly complemented the nutty flavour of the filet.
The menu finished with a combination of champagne and grape mouse that made for an interesting flavour-mix.
Given the hotel’s superb reputation for excellent food, my expectations for the evening were extremely high. It’s safe to say, the four course menu with wine pairing did not disappoint. I am sure to come back for some of the other menus on the annual programme soon.
For more information about the hotel and the annual tasting menu programme visit their website.
Please note: this is not a sponsored post and I paid for my stay and the menu myself.