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June 2014 - After a week in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, I ventured off to southern Germany to explore the Allgäu region.  The Allgäu is a beautiful place - a great destination to get away and relax from the hustle and bustle of life.  It's green, with a bounty of mountains, trails, lakes and streams.  Just think of the "hills are alive" from the Sound of Music and that is what the Allgäu is like.  

I was fortunate to spend 3 days here and be guided by Birgit Huffman, founder Fond O' Foods, who welcomed me to her homeland with such open arms, care and love!  My co-worker connected me with Birgit before I left the US and I don't think my experience in the Allgäu would have been as exciting if it wasn't for Birgit.  She is an inspiring businesswoman who is really passionate about bringing naturally good food to people - hence the creation of her company.  She imports a 100% grass and grass-hay butter from the region and it was fascinating to see the entire process of how the butter is made!  California is known for their "happy cows," but I would have to say the Allgäu is the true place that has "happy cows."  Literally, these German cows have open pastures and luscious grass everywhere!  

It's hard to describe the beauty of the Allgäu.  Ever since I left, I still day dream of going back.  I would add it to my top 10 places to live.  :)

Here was my itinerary in Germany:

  • Day 1 - Train from Emilia-Romagna to Seeg, Germany
  • Day 2 - Hiking
  • Day 3 - Fond O' Foods Tour - Check out the facility that makes butter and cheese; visit the family dairy farms
  • Day 4 - Bike around Seeg
  • Day 5 - Depart Germany back home to the US

Day 1 - My train ride to Germany

On the train through the Dolomites.

On the train through the Dolomites.

Train transfer at Munich station to Seeg via von Kempten Hbf.

Train transfer at Munich station to Seeg via von Kempten Hbf.

Day 2 - Hiking in the Allgäu

Guten Morgen!  My morning view - no joke - it's real.

Guten Morgen!  My morning view - no joke - it's real.

The hotel I stayed at - Panorama Hotel - a family run hotel for over 100 years!

The hotel I stayed at - Panorama Hotel - a family run hotel for over 100 years!

My breakfast every morning - quark + museli + fresh bread.  Quark is a German cheese, that has a Greek yogurt like consistency, but is not sour.  It has a pretty mild flavor that goes perfect with museli!

My breakfast every morning - quark + museli + fresh bread.  Quark is a German cheese, that has a Greek yogurt like consistency, but is not sour.  It has a pretty mild flavor that goes perfect with museli!

Birgit, her sister's (Ellen's) boyfriend, Kurt, and me on our hike!

Birgit, her sister's (Ellen's) boyfriend, Kurt, and me on our hike!

Hiking viewpoint.

Hiking viewpoint.

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German fauna.

German fauna.

Our hiking snack that Kurt packed for us - rye bread + emmentaler cheese + salami + sliced cucumber - simple & satisfying.

Our hiking snack that Kurt packed for us - rye bread + emmentaler cheese + salami + sliced cucumber - simple & satisfying.

Lechweg trail and river map.

Lechweg trail and river map.

Of course I had to stop and take a photo of a German dog.

Of course I had to stop and take a photo of a German dog.

Birgit and me.

Birgit and me.

My post-hike meal - Bauernschmaus + Radler.   Bauernschmaus is a meat fest.  It consisted of pork loin chops, liver meat balls, sauerkraut and some potatoes.  Kurt and I each ordered this to eat.  

My post-hike meal - Bauernschmaus + Radler.   Bauernschmaus is a meat fest.  It consisted of pork loin chops, liver meat balls, sauerkraut and some potatoes.  Kurt and I each ordered this to eat.  

Knodel - Germany sweet poppy seed filled dumpling.  Quite an interesting dish.  It's sweet and this is considered a main dish in this part of Germany.  Birgit and Ellen both ordered this to eat and they say this is a childhood comfort food dish.

Knodel - Germany sweet poppy seed filled dumpling.  Quite an interesting dish.  It's sweet and this is considered a main dish in this part of Germany.  Birgit and Ellen both ordered this to eat and they say this is a childhood comfort food dish.

Day 3 - Fond O' Foods Tour

The dairy command center - this facility produces the emmentaler cheese and butter that Fond O' Foods imports.

The dairy command center - this facility produces the emmentaler cheese and butter that Fond O' Foods imports.

The dairy vats - Mr. Gutensohn and Birgit.

The dairy vats - Mr. Gutensohn and Birgit.

Moving blocks of emmentaler cheese.

Moving blocks of emmentaler cheese.

Cut the cheese!

Cut the cheese!

Lunchtime! Kaiserschmarrn m Apfelmus - German apple pancakes.  Again, I was so surprised to see such sweet dishes as main dish items!  Nonetheless, I didn't complain and delightfully enjoyed this dish!

Lunchtime!

Kaiserschmarrn m Apfelmus - German apple pancakes.  Again, I was so surprised to see such sweet dishes as main dish items!  Nonetheless, I didn't complain and delightfully enjoyed this dish!

Kasspatzen - German mac n' cheese made with emmentaler cheese.  Wow - this was so good.  A good comfort food meal!  I still have yet to try to remake this dish at home!

Kasspatzen - German mac n' cheese made with emmentaler cheese.  Wow - this was so good.  A good comfort food meal!  I still have yet to try to remake this dish at home!

Lunchtime view.

Lunchtime view.

A visit to a family dairy farm - Familie Kogel.

A visit to a family dairy farm - Familie Kogel.

All the grass behind Mr. Kogel is turning into hay for storage so when winter comes, the cows will be eating that.

All the grass behind Mr. Kogel is turning into hay for storage so when winter comes, the cows will be eating that.

A little baby calf - just born a few days ago.

A little baby calf - just born a few days ago.

Technology in the dairy farm - so Mr. Kogel has an app where he keeps track of all his cows.  He knows when the cow last ate, their temperature, weight, date of birth.  Pretty awesome!

Technology in the dairy farm - so Mr. Kogel has an app where he keeps track of all his cows.  He knows when the cow last ate, their temperature, weight, date of birth.  Pretty awesome!

Feeding time for the cows.

Feeding time for the cows.

Tea time at Beichelstein Alpe.

Tea time at Beichelstein Alpe.

  Kaesekuchen - German cheesecake.  Similar to NY Cheesecake in terms of creamyness, but German cheesecake is a bit more fluffier and their crust is made out of flour.

 

Kaesekuchen - German cheesecake.  Similar to NY Cheesecake in terms of creamyness, but German cheesecake is a bit more fluffier and their crust is made out of flour.

One slice of cake per person.  :)

One slice of cake per person.  :)

I think this was one of my favorite photos from my trip to Germany.

I think this was one of my favorite photos from my trip to Germany.

German kitty.

German kitty.

Day 4 - Biking around Seeg.

Getting ready to go biking!

Getting ready to go biking!

On the trail.

On the trail.

Last dinner in Germany with Birgit and Ellen.

Last dinner in Germany with Birgit and Ellen.

The dinner at Panorama Hotel is a good homecooked meal.  The perfect last bites before I left.

The dinner at Panorama Hotel is a good homecooked meal.  The perfect last bites before I left.

Had to have a photo with the mother of Panorama Hotel.  She's an awesome baker - this is me with her Eierlikor Cake - German egg liquor cake.  

Had to have a photo with the mother of Panorama Hotel.  She's an awesome baker - this is me with her Eierlikor Cake - German egg liquor cake.  

Day 5 - Farewell Germany...Back to the US.

Last sunrise view before heading back to the US.

Last sunrise view before heading back to the US.

So nice - the parents of Panorama Hotel packed me lunch for the train ride to the airport.  Danke!

So nice - the parents of Panorama Hotel packed me lunch for the train ride to the airport.  Danke!

Till next time!

Till next time!

Ich werde dich vermissen!

Ich werde dich vermissen!