When on the 1st of October I arrived at Lindau the Lake Constance was still summer warm in the cool October air, and the hot water bottle of the lake efficiently heated up the vineyards and fruit growing areas. At the first sight I was totally enchanted by the beauty of the lake so I decided to return again in order to discover more miracles around the 273 km lake.
There is so much history, art and nature concentrated along the lake Constance so it is no wonder that Unesco has proclaimed two places part of the world cultural heritage: St Gallen monastery and the island of Reichenau. But I don’t want to talk about the history and culture of the lake Constance because I think everyone can find the story of the cities in the internet or in a guide book. Just to draw your attention I’d like to tell: if someone gets bored with the nature (impossible but) can find many facilities to enjoy life along Lake Constance such as open air swimming pools and indoor hot springs, tennis or minigolf courses, surfing, sailing schools, in almost every locality and plenty of opportunities for fishing, playing boccia, riding, diving and waterskiing. The cycle path around the lake is legendary. Of course nowadays more consideration is also taken of nature, which has at times been badly treated by civilization. Solar ferries ply the lake and there are stretches of reed and wooded pastures in which bitterns nest and wild Iris flower. These are still there which is good to know.
My food adventure
Let’s start my food travelogue! It ‘s quite a melting pot around the lake Constance: Swabia, Baden, Bavaria, Voralberg, Thurgau and Appenzell, all contribute their culinary specialities to the big hill of fare. In case, however, the many cooks don’t spoil the broth, but are richly rewarded with stars and crowns, as they say in Austria. For sophisticated gourmets, the lake Constance region is just one enormous table of delights. That was already appreciated by the widely travelled French philosopher Michel de Montaigne back in the 16th century when he put up at Lindau in 1580, he found everything so deliciously prepared that the cuisine of the French nobility can scarcely compare with it. Today’s guests wouldn’t doubt be unable to find the quince soup and snipes praised by Montaigne, though that surely won’t mean he will have to go hungry as a consequence.
And you don’t always have to order fish-though fried Felchen with kolrabi (see photo) and carrots from Reichenau are an essential part of a visit to lake Constance. Its the regional specialities that add colour to the menu: in early summer, asparagus from Baden in dozens of varieties, in autumn, medaillons of venison, haunch of young deer and breast of duck. The Swiss fry Röschti (potatoes) to go with Zürcher geschnetzelten –chopped up meat. Or let their cheese melt into fondue, raclett or Kasewache. In Austria, after relishing boiled fillet of beer or onion roast of beef, you have to still have room for Apple strudel or a plate of Kaiserschmarren (made of pancake based dough with marmelade).
But there is also plain fare to savour-and no less tasty-you make a really good start to the day a roll with warm meat loaf, a hot sausage called Schübling straight out the pot, a tasty landjaeger. Or you go to the bakery to sample crisp salty Pretzels fresh from the oven, and Selen, loaves of white bread with coarse salt and caraway seeds, once poor people s food, made from a dough with less yeast and longer resting time than is usual for rolls. At noon, a plate of Fladlesuppe (noodle soup), a couple of Maultaschen (oversize ravioli with steamed cabbage) in dripping or a portion of Allgauer Kasespaetzle smothered in crisp onion rings. And if the restauranteur then still has dumplings in the oven well…it’s your responsability!
If you find your triple, that is to say paunch, or liver dumpling and spatzle on the menü, you really should summon up the courage to give them a try. Appenzeller and Bergkase cheese specialities, which comes to the lake from the Allgau or Bregenz forest, don’t need any special recommendation. Incidentally you don’t always have to drink wine with your meal or snack-even if a glass of cool Meersburger or Hagnauer is an incomparable delight particularly on a warm summer evening. According to my husband the beers are spicy and pleasant. And a locally produced Williams or Obstler (fruit liqueur) rounds off every meal in absolutely typical lake Constance style…