I headed into the car, an ebony Fiat with a tight little engine and energetic clutch. Squeezing the pedal to the floor, I flew north on the autoroute, between Germany and the Vosges, to visit Patrick Meyer who was entertaining one give me proof kind of guy, and another introduced as an oenologue, but a good one, in Heissenstein vineyard.
Patrick's vineyards are biodynamic and so heartening, I want to force some of the pundits who say "biodynamics is a hoax" to do forced labor, it would be good for the soul, even if it might challenge their intellect.
You may not be able to groove with the spirituality, I can't, but how can anyone deny this kind of farming which strives to farm only with animal, mineral, vegetable and the power of transformation. To listen to Patrick talk about the soil and it's thriving population as a New York City apartment building is, okay, I'll say it, thrilling.
But I digress.
We went off to dinner. 20minutes north to Obernai. Le-Bistro-Des-Saveurs. If it were only for the wine list, it was worth the detour. Take a look. This list was so vertical I was getting vertigo. And the prices are not so shabby. (vintages missing. Sorry.)
The wine list is about two inches deep and it might be the most indepth collection of verticals of these kinds of wines in existence. This the place to go and find out for yourself how these low-no-sulfur wines age. Frick! Schueller! Meyer! Spielman! Binner! And all of the others as well--I mean, where have I ever seen that much of Ducroux on a list, or when have I ever seen Ducroux on a list? That night we were drinking multiples of Meyer,..with notable standouts like this beauty. yes, that does say vin de voile.
I've felt one other way about a wine list, and that was in San Sebastien, Rekondo.
But where the Bistro has it over Rekondo is the food.
The chef is Thierry Schwartz. "Each morning Thierry goes to the oldest biodynamic farm. His vegetables never see the refrigerator," Patrick said to me.
I don't want to tell you where this farm is. Here's the deal. I would like to write about it for someone the next time I go back and if I give it away here, someone who is more advantageously connected will run with the idea first. But trust me...here too was the source of a munster that was so real I didn't recognize it. The taste was familiar but more so. The texture, unlike anything I ever saw passed off as real munster..and I went to their cheese museum (more on that later) and there was nothing there that looked like it. Here...have you ever seen anything passed off as muenster that looked like a langres meets soufflé? Here it is, the one in the middle, being pierced.
Unfortunately there was too much I couldn't eat as it was a prix fixe and for some reason, bits of bacon and foie and lobster were part of the deal. But I was awed by imagination, purity, humor and taste.
This is THE most delicious butter I've ever had, and these taste buds have been around. The complexity, acidity (!), balance, texture, flavor. It was painful that the only way I can ever eat this again, slather it often on the crusty bread often is to go back to Alsace. Not that that would be such a hardship. I long to go back to this Bistro and move in for a week, eat pork-free and drink up the list. Let me give you a little visual and their highlights.
Hollowed out celery root! Have I ever seen that? Delicious, okay, more foam. Think mid-meal amuse. Light as angels.
For me, this is pure brilliance. Two perfectly poached delicious eggs that were laid that morning by hens fed on biodynamic hoax-like scraps, in between a mushroom meets foie filling, a smear like nutella, that smelled rich, savory amd mouthwatering, And on top were plump, other-room-fireplace-roasted morels with the exact amount of char that insures greatness. A snip of geometric chive. Done. Next.
Even I know this is a lobster that could incite extreme desire, look at the rosy shell, the plump meat. Patrick told me not to worry, he'd eat it. And he did. But I allowed myself the tender baby gem lettuce underneath, gently fire-roasted so it released its sweetness, but never overdone. Brilliant, simple.
I believe there's an inn upstairs. I might just move in. But, really, if you think biodynamics is a hoax, pass on this address.
Le-Bistro-Des-Saveurs in Obernai
35 rue de Sélestat