The beauty of the autobahn is the drive to Stuttgart from Munich can be as quick as you want, pending traffic of course. Coming into Stuttgart I was struck by what a beautiful valley I was driving into. It looked like there were vineyards in the hills as well. Wikipedia describes it perfectly, “The city centre lies in a lush valley, nestling between vineyards and thick woodland close by…Thus, the city is often described as lying “zwischen Wald und Reben”, between forest and vines.”
You really can see vineyards from downtown. After learning that Stuttgart is in the Württemberg wine growing area dating back to around 1100 I figured some great wine was in my future.
A Christmas Market (Christkindlmarket) off the Schlossplatz provided my first taste of Glühwein in Germany. A warm mulled red wine that is served at Christmas Markets. It keeps you toasty while you shop and hang out at the market. Coupled with a Germknödel (steamed dessert dumpling covered in vanilla cream sauce) and you have yourself a nice little treat.
Next order of business was to find some authentic Swabian food for dinner. Swabian food is known for its sauces on everything and on the rich side, which is fine by me…when in Swabia I will do as the Swabain. Enter zum Ackerbürger, a rustic farmhouse even the taxi driver couldn’t find. I was lucky to be with some Germans that asked about 5 people on the street for directions before finally finding someone who thought they knew where it was. I have a theory that the locals don’t want any tourist finding out about this place. There was a little too much “keine ahnung” (I have no idea) where zum Ackerbürger was from people standing less than a block away. Don’t blame them.
Established in 1551 it is the second-oldest house in Stuttgart. Their website indicates the back of the tavern is preserved in its original city walls. Stepping inside you immediately feel like you are in a cozy cottage. It is decorated with antiques and trinkets to make you feel like how it could have been at one time.
After taking in what a find this place was it was on to the food. Appetizers of Carpaccio vom Rinderfilet an Ackersalat in Kürbiskernvinaigrette (Beef Carpaccio) and Cremesuppe von champignons (Cream of Mushroom soup). Hands down the best mushroom soup I have ever had. The mushrooms were so fresh I think they actually were picked a few minutes before they were cooked. The sauce was rich and creamy but not so overpowering that you felt you couldn’t move on to a main course. I do suggest splitting it. The Carpaccio was of very high quality and the pumpkin seed vinaigrette was a refreshing change.
The Hauptspeisen (main course) was the Ackerbürgerpfannle – Rinder un Schweinemedaillon vom Grill mit Steinchampignons in Cognacsahne, dazu handegeschabte Spatzle. Wait, what? That was my reaction anyway…basically beef medallions and pork grilled with porcini mushrooms in a cognac cream, served with Spätzle. To say it was good is an understatement. The cognac sauce was rich and the meat was literally mouth-watering. You must get this dish.
It’s rare that I don’t order dessert but I was satisfied enough with the meal that dessert actually didn’t seem necessary. Besides, we had some Cannstatter Zuckerle Trollinger wine to finish which had some body but was on the lighter side and tasted of fresh fruits. Perfect way to end the heavy meal.