Germany: Food, Wine & Song

July 3-10, 2018 (8 days, 7 nights)  Pre-tour extension available.

What pairs best with a glass of Riesling? Nearly any type of food and musical accompaniment. Your Global Gourmands tour takes in the best of the Black Forest region of Germany and delightful Alsace in France – an area that has been a part of both Germany and France at various times throughout history. As a result, both culture and culinary specialties co-mingle in the most pleasing ways. Learn about viticulture, enjoy the music that developed around this fairytale part of Europe and experience the food of the region at its very best.

The tour’s geography is from the Central Rhine Valley to Baden-Baden & Alsace – gives you the opportunity to compare different regional wines and food, landscape and history. You will experience fine summer living like a local starting with a wine tasting in Wiesbaden and ending with a day of wine tasting in the Alsace.

Germany is well known for its white Riesling grapes, but predominantly its sweeter version.  Less well known are the  fineherb (medium) or trocken (dry) vintages that are made and predominantly stay in Germany and perfect for the summer.  We will experience the broad range of flavors and break down the stereotype of bland sweetness.  Become and expert and evangelist of Germany’s best-kept oenological secret.

Delicious Highlights will include

  • A traditional continental breakfast at the first Viennese coffee house in Germany
  • Wine tasting atop Wiesbaden’s Neroberg with views overlooking the city
  • Gourmet dinner in a former hunting lodge set in the woods outside Wiesbaden
  • Cellar tour, wine tasting and dinner at Schloss Johannisberg, near Eltville
  • Wine tasting at Schloss Vollrad, Oestrich-Winkel
  • Five-course degustation meal the 3-star Schwarzwaldstube, one of Europes most renowned Michelin restaurants
  • Visit to the historic wine cellar in the Strasbourg City Hospital (Cave Historique)
  • Dinner at a Winestub in the Alsace

Sightseeing & Musical Highlights:

  • City tour of Wiesbaden
  • Guided tour of Bingen’s Museum on Strom and Disibodenberg, location of the  ruins of the 12th century Benedictine abbey spread over 6 acres where Hildegard of Bingen first entered monastic life
  • Private concert of Hildegard of Bingen’s own music
  • Two-hour cruise on the Rhine River
  • Performance of Carmina Burana (Carl Orff) at the Eberbach Monastery near Eltville
  • Musical celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th Birthday at the Festival Hall in Baden-Baden
  • City tour of Baden-Baden
  • Opportunity to experience German spas from natural thermal waters (therapies must be booked in advance)

Included in your tour is:

  • Ten-day tour by coach
  • Breakfast daily
  • 4 lunches and 5 dinners
  • Three nights at the Nassauer Hof, Wiesbaden
  • Four nights at the Roomers, Baden-Baden

Day 1

Wilkommen in Deutschland! You are met at Frankfurt am Main International Airport by the Global Gourmands host who drives you to Wiesbaden. Stop for breakfast at the first Viennese coffee house in Germany. Afterward, embark on a brief orientation tour of the city before checking in to the Nassauer Hof Hotel, where your luggage awaits. If you would like, secure a reservation for lunch at the Enten Bistro, the lunch venue of the hotel’s Michelin-starred Ente restaurant. Your afternoon is at leisure, giving you time to visit the luxurious spa, filled with thermal waters from the hotel’s own mineral spring. Late in the afternoon, join your host and fellow travelers for an amusing, historical ride on the city train to the top of the Neroberg hill, where you can enjoy panoramic views of Wiesbaden and a wine tasting. Take the Nerobergbahn (cable car) back down the hill and head out of the city for a gourmet meal in a former hunting lodge that has been lovingly restored with a modern feel. B, D

Nassauer Hof Hotel, Wiesbaden

Day 2:

Take some time this morning to enjoy the hotel, perhaps treating yourself to a “sapphire abrasion” or intensive oxygen treatment in the spa. (Please note: Spa services are not included and must be booked in advance.) After lunch, depart for Frankfurt for a visit to the Museum Embankment, a culturally rich area that is home to several museums on both sides of the Main River. Afterward, head to the Eberbach Monastery for dinner followed by an exciting performance of Carmina Burana, a scenic cantata composed by Carl Orff and based on a medieval collection of 24 poems. B, D

Hotel Nassauer Hof, Wiesbaden

Day 3: 

Today is an adventure not to be missed: exploring the life of Hildegard of Bingen (b 1098-d 1179), a Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, Christian mystic and visionary. Known also as Saint Hildegard and Sibyl of the Rhine, she was the founder of scientific natural history in Germany. Begin with a visit to Bingen’s Museum-on-the-River, which focuses on Hildegard’s life and works. At nearly 360-square-yards, the museum uses fascinating models of the long-destroyed Hildegard convent to showcase her impressive life story. The adjacent “Hilde-garden” houses an assortment of her medicinal plants and is associated with her work on natural history. From there, continue to the ruins of Disibodenberg, the 12th-century Benedictine monastery that Hildegard entered as an eight-year-old novice. Explore the main buildings and gather for a private concert of her music. After lunch, embark on a relaxing two-hour Rhine River cruise before visiting Schloss Vollrads for the day’s first wine tasting. Stroll the scenic grounds and then continue to the famous Schloss Johannisberg, one of the first contemporary producers of Riesling in the Central Rhine Valley. Tour the wine cellar, sample the award-winning wines and sit down to a delicious dinner. B, L, D

Hotel Nassauer Hof, Wiesbaden

Day 4: – July 6

After breakfast, a late morning departure for Baden-Baden, the Belle Epoch spa town which became a rarefied place for high society to meet and celebrate their savoir vivre in the villas and grand hotels, exercising their French like their croupiers.  where we will check-in to the Hotel Dorint for four nights.  There will be a city orientation walking tour (optional – there are some hilly, cobble-stoned pedestrian areas).  This is also an ideal time to visit the Fabergè or Burda Museums or enjoy a relaxed stroll around the town indulging in some of the best shopping to be found in Europe.  After dinner, consider trying your hand at the baccarat table at the Casino.  Originally the Belle Epoch home to the thermal baths, the roulette ball has been rolling around the wheel for a century and a half, positioning the casino in the crème de la crème of European, if not worldwide casinos. Nobility and splendor have survived to this day, albeit currently enriched with accents of modern styling, gambling and entertainment. B, D

Hotel Dorint, Baden-Baden

Day 5: – July 7

Pay a visit to the Roman Bath Museum this morning before heading out to the bucolic countryside and Schloss Staufenberg, where you stop for lunch. Return to Baden-Baden for an afternoon at leisure. Consider booking a spa treatment or peruse some of the city’s glamorous shops. This evening’s special event commemorates composer Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday. Listen to the music of the great composer – the last to succeed in combining classical forms with popular music. American Broadway star Kim Criswell sings famous selections from his oeuvre.

Hotel Dorint, Baden-Baden

Day 6: 

Johannes Brahms wrote many of his famous compositions during the 12 summers he spent at Lichtental No. 8, his summer address in Baden-Baden. Then, drive through the Black Forest to Baiersbronn for a culinary experience at the Schwarzwaldstube (“Black Forest Room”). Honored with three Michelin stars, the restaurant is known throughout Europe as “a culinary celebration of harmony and perfection.” Discover how various influences and styles have been channeled to create a precise, carefully planned experience. Afterward, return to Baden-Baden for an evening at leisure.

Hotel Dorint, Baden-Baden

Day 7: 

Travel early this morning to Alsace, a region of France whose borders have been blurred throughout history as sometimes French and sometimes German. In Strasbourg, learn about the Council of Europe where the European Union was born. Embark on a city tour, beginning in the historic La Petite France quarter, where fine restaurants and half-timbered 16th-century buildings flank cobblestone streets. End your tour at the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg Cathedral. You have time to explore on your own before sitting down to lunch.

Then, visit a unique oenological destination: the historic wine caves at Strasbourg City Hospital, founded in 1395. The wine cellar is in the medieval basement of the hospital. Over the centuries, patients donated wines in exchange for good medical care. Now the cellar is home to more than 40 ancient barrels, a wine press dating from the early 17th century and a wine-filled barrel from 1472. This extraordinary wine – among the oldest in the world – was served just three times. The first tasting was held for the Swiss delegation in 1576, and the second was inspired by renovations in 1716. The final tasters were the liberators of Strasbourg, led by General Jacques-Philippe Leclerc in 1944. Afterward, continue to Colmar, affectionately called “Little Venice” for its canals and the “Capital of Alsatian Wines,” and check in to your hotel. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.

Hotel Dorint, Baden-Baden

Day 8:

You’ve heard the saying that “all good things must come to an end.” Today is the day your delightful food, wine and song tour wraps up.  Depart this morning for Stuttgart and your flight home.


This sophisticated version of the common cabbage roll comes from the Baden area, whose inhabitants are known for their refined taste. Tender Savoy cabbage instead of earthy green cabbage, creamy tomato sauce instead of bacon sauce make it unique and flavorful. Inside, the rolls are all dressed up with lean ground beef and fresh herbs. (You can also use half ground pork and half ground beef.)  This is adapted from Grandma’s German Cookbook (Dorling Kindersley, 2010) by Birgit Hamm and Linn Schmidt.


8 large Savoy cabbage leaves
1 onion
1 lb 2 oz (500g) ground beef
1 large egg
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 pinch of freshlygrated nutmeg
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large can peeled, whole tomatoes (850 g)
1 tsp sugar
5 tbsp heavy cream
1 pinch of saffron threads
2 1/2 tsp salt
kitchen twine


Wash the cabbage leaves, pat them dry and trim the center rib of each leaf so it opens flat. Add 1 teaspoon salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil.  Blanch the cabbage leaves for 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the leaves and immediately refresh them in cold water so that they retain their beautiful green color. Drain the leaves.

Finely chop the onion.

Mix the ground meat in a bowl with the onion, egg, bread crumbs, 1 tsp salt and the spices and herbs.  Spread out the cabbage leaves on a work surface.  Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the ground meat mixture onto each leaf.  Starting from the center rib, roll up the leaves, tucking the edges under. Tie the leaves into rolls with kitchen twine. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees on convection setting).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the cabbage rolls on both sides over high heat for about a minute. Remove them from the pan and set it aside. Pour the tomatoes into the frying pan and break them into small pieces while bringing them to a boil. Add the sugar, a half teaspoon of salt, cream and saffron.  Stirring constantly, cook the tomato sauce for about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce into a shallow baking dish.  Arrange the 8 cabbage rolls in the dish, pressing them down firmly into the sauce.  Place the baking dish on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.


360 Degrees of German food, wine and music in the summer.

Final pricing in progress.  Airfare is not included but starts at $1,100.                                                                                           


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