Saturday, March 19, 2011

the black forest

Good morning, beauties. Happy weekend! Hope you did something fun last night. I know I did: I ran home after work, got completely dolled up in 35-minutes, and drove too fast to a venue too far (in my opinion) to celebrate my little sister's Sweet Sixteen. I forgot my camera in my rush but my grandmother gave me a few and hopefully we'll see the professional photographs soon. 
Anyway, family excitement aside, this is actually going to be quite the relaxing weekend. I'm making time for a friend, yoga class and apartment tour, but besides that... nothing, nothing at all. I can hardly wait to get started. So without further adieu, I'd like introduce Jenn, a fellow Syracuse grad, friend and pseudo little sister, and her Plate from Around the World...

It only took an instant for me to recognize that there is something inherently unique about The Black Forest of Germany.

As a study abroad student in Strasbourg, France, a day trip to the region just across the Rhine River was the perfect opportunity to explore the distinct culture and traditions that allow the local population to flourish. 
To an American accustomed to big box stores and year round produce, the traditional lifestyle appeared as a novel concept. Yet, by allowing myself to embrace all that was different, I was able to relish in all the new (or really really old, depending on how you look at it) things around me.
(That's me! In front of Lake Titisee.)

The day, despite the rain and fog, was perfect. I accepted the grayish hue of the sky as it made entering a notably dark part of Germany all the more enticing. After all, it was named "The Black Forest" for the large concentration of pine trees that made it appear dark from a distance. Fun fact, no?

I digress...I really just want to talk about the food and the region's fun hats. :)

Have you ever tasted Black Forest Cake? In German, it is called Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte and the name is as intense as the flavor profile.
The traditional dessert is composed of multiple sheets of fluffy chocolate cake with sugary whipped cream and liquor soaked cherries between each layer. It is then covered in whipped topping and decorated with more cherries and dark chocolate shavings.
The portion was generous, to be sure. But when split among friends, it was just enough to savor each of the distinct flavors. It is not a very dense cake, which took me by surprise at first. The alcohol used to soak the cherries is noticeable and gives the whole thing a certain je ne sais quoi.

There is a certain connection between my two favorite things in the Black Forest. The cherries that sit atop the scrumptious cake also miraculously appear in the traditional ladies hat of the region, the Bollenhut. Okay, so technically they are not cherries, per se, but can't you see the resemblance!?
Technically, only unmarried women wear the hats with red pompoms as the ones topped with black pompoms are reserved for married women. Regardless, they are a traditional part of Black Forest culture that are still worn today on special occasions.
(A German VW car topped with a Bollenhut!)

I would love to see one of these worn in the U.S.. Talk about a conversation starter!

I hope this gives you just a little taste (pardon my pun) of all there is to see, do, and eat in the Black Forest. If you ever make it to the area, pick me up a hat and make sure to eat some cake!


Ha, I need that hat. Who wants to go with me? If you haven't been reminded already, Plates from Around the World is a Saturday series that describe a contributor's incredible travel experiences with food. To participateplease email your favorite place, foodie memory and photos to Have a fabulous weekend, everyone.


  1. Yay! A great post by my favorite blogger!

  2. Love this series!!

    happy belated bday to your sister :)

  3. Matt: :)

    Tropical Eats: Thanks, love! You're more than welcome to contribute if you'd like. And I'll definitely let her know!


Penny for your thoughts...