Thanks for asking. My birthday celebration in Alsace could not have been better.
We had a pleasant drive (after leaving the Autobahn and hitting the back roads), which improved greatly as soon as we crossed into France. Perfect weather and peak growing season added to the splendor. Rural Alsace is beautiful, kept that way by strict rules and regulations that prohibit excess signage, ensure traditional architecture, and require flowers on public streets. It is like entertaining the past, but with modern conveniences and good roads. The people are friendly, despite having suffered through (seemingly) constant battles over which country gets to fly its flag over their heads. At the moment, the French flag flies, but everyone still learns German in school (just in case).
The restaurant we were fortunate enough to enjoy, Auberge de L’Ill (it sits beside the Ill river), could be the best in the world (depending upon who is making the judgment). The ambiance is wonderful—in the dining room or spacious riverside garden—the service is exquisite (friendly—yes, friendly, even in France!), and the food could not be better (different, perhaps, but not better in terms of flavor and quality). I have been enjoying this restaurant since the 70’s; it is always worth the trip and never disappoints.
The slide show should whet anyone’s appetite to make the journey. A few editorial comments:
The saumon souffle was invented by the current chef's father. It is a unique specialty and something I have each time I eat there. One might think that the salmon was born with the souffle on its back and swam around in the Atlantic Ocean. The peche Haeberlin (peach Haeberlin) is another specialty, including a poached white peach, pistachio ice cream and a zabaglione. I did not eat the other deserts (although I would have liked to also have had the vacheron!), but thought the photos might appeal to those gourmets out there. No country in the world has cheese like France, whose government fiercely protects it from encroachment by EU regulators.
Plan ahead; it is booked out well in advance.
I remember well my trip to Auberge de L'Ill, the one that never happened due to a certain extravagant purchase of a hand-carved wood wine dispenser featuring an evil-looking Bachuus. I gave it to my son a couple of years ago. He promptly put it on EBay and pocketed some decent coin. Maybe some day.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.