Dining in Germany: Schanz*

The Schanz family runs a hotel, winery and restaurant in the town of Piesport in the Mosel region of Germany. The young chef Thomas Schanz recently received his first Michelin star. Besides à la carte there is a 6-course chef menu (107 euros) that can be reduced to 3, 4 or 5 courses. We chose the 6-course menu and the ‘Weinbegleitung’ (6 matching glasses of wine for 44 euros).

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The amuses-bouche were all very nice, and paired nicely with a glass of riesling sekt (sekt is the German word for sparkling wine).

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My favorite amuse bouche was this egg filled with a truffle and leek cream.

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This slow-cooked pork was also a great amuse bouche. 9/10 for alle the three amuses bouche together, a very promising start.

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The different types of bread, served with salted batter and tomato butter, were also very nice. The thinly sliced smoked tuna was a great bonus.

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The first course of the menu: degustation of foie gras with long pepper, cream of sesame, and figs, paired very well with a local riesling spätlese. The flavor combinations and textures all worked very well. 9/10

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The second course: scallops from Normandy with cauliflower, passion fruit, and vanilla oil. Although this was nice and technically well executed, the wine pairing with a dry Mosel riesling clashed with the dish. I can understand that a restaurant in a wine region as famous as Mosel would try to pick wines from that same region, but then the chef should not cook a dish that clearly requires something like an oaked chardonnay (the dish is very creamy and of course vanilla oil works great with an oaked wine). The combination of cauliflower, passion fruit, scallop and vanilla oil didn’t clash, but a better wine choice might have improved it considerably. 7/10

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The turbot with squid, potato mousseline, and watercresss was very tasty and technically well executed. The combination worked very well and both the turbot and squid were very tender and succulent. The pairing with a ‘feinherb’ (off-dry) Mosel riesling did not clash, but the sweetness in the wine didn’t match any sweetness in the dish. Again the forced choice for a Mosel wine seems suboptimal, as the roundness needed to pair with the dish is difficult to find in a dry Mosel riesling. Still very enjoyable. 8/10

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The sautéed lobster with water melon confit was delightful. The very generous portion of lobster was perfectly cooked, tender, and succulent, better than in most restaurants (even those with more stars). Spätburgunder (Pinot noir) rosé was an adequate pairing. 9/10

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For the main course there was a choice between pigeon and lamb. I had the pigeon breast with sauteed garlic chives and corn puree. The ‘sheafs’ of carrots looked really cute and pigeon was perfectly cooked, tender, and juicy. As a red wine that goes with pigeon and lamb is hard to find in Mosel, the standard wine pairing was a Spanish tempranillo. I didn’t like it very much, and got a very nice Spätburgunder instead that went well with the pigeon. 8/10

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Kees had the trio of lamb with beans and peperoni polenta. According to him it was very nice as well, and the lamb was perfectly cooked.

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The dessert was nice as well: a cranberry cake with honey ice cream, and cranberry compote. The Mosel riesling Auslese was however not sweet enough for the dessert; a Beerenauslese or an Eiswein would have been more appropriate. 8/10

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The post-dessert looked very cute like a mouse and had grapefruit in it amongst other things. The Auslese that didn’t work with the actual dessert was a very good match for this post-dessert.

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The petit fours that came with the coffee or tea were also very good.

Thomas Schanz is clearly a very talented and ambitious chef and I think the Michelin star is very well-deserved.  All the food looks beautiful, is delicious, and technically very well executed. I rate the food at 8.5/10, and I believe a second star should be possible after some years. It should also be mentioned that Schanz offers good value for money.

For a restaurant in a wine area like Mosel it is nice to serve Mosel wines, but the chef should make a clear choice, which is to either adapt his cooking style to the local wines, or to ask the sommelier to use wines from other places as well. I wonder whether the chef has actually tasted the food and the wine together himself. 8/10 for the wines, but only 6/10 for the wine pairings overall.

The serve was very friendly, but a bit slow (which may be caused by slowness in the kitchen). We started at 7pm and didn’t get our main course until 11pm; in three cases the time between two courses was more than half an hour, of which in one case almost an hour.

It will be very interesting to see how Schanz.restaurant develops over the next years. We’ll be back!

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15 thoughts on “Dining in Germany: Schanz*

    1. It was a fantastic meal. I only was a bit hard on the sommelier because I think the chef is very talented and deserves a better sommelier! I hope he’s reading this — I did tell him about my experience with the wines, and gave him by card with the blog address.

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  1. It is probably very tasteful all together, but, somehow, I’m not that convinced about the composition. For instance, too many little things and colours make that it looks so messy, in my opinion 😉 And the first two amuses… look slightly creepy… 😀

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    1. LOL. I would be willing to offer my wine pairing services in exchange for a free dinner 🙂 It would be worth more, but I’d be willing to do it as my contribution to promoting the culinary arts 🙂

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  2. I was a virgin before I went to Germany, where I had my first Eiswein. Now I’m a huge fan. It’s pretty incredible, and has its place as a wine. Loved reading this post.

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  3. Coming in late I must agree with Rosa de los Vientos – the food may have tasted wonderful but I do not like the plating, especially that of the main courses. I think I’ll be very happy when all the streaks, dots, and tiny senseless cubes become totally passé! And whilst I do love wonderful long dinners with quiet music and interesting conversation, there is no way I would wait four hours for a main course 🙂 !

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    1. What I mind more is too many flavors on the plate, especially if there are tons of tiny things so no two bites from the same plate taste the same. Although these plates are indeed full, there is a lot of repetition so in terms of eating it is actually a very nice experience.

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      1. More than fair enough and I do agree . . . some of the presentations just looked too busy to the eye, which your following German offering did not display!

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  4. What a wonderful meal! I would have been very pleased with it — accept for the length of time. 4 hours with almost an hour wait between courses? That’s a bit much. Something was definitely amiss in the kitchen. That aside, the scallops and squid plates were so very well-presented and I’m glad that you enjoyed your meal well enough to give the food a rating of 8.5.

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    1. 4 hours is pretty normal for the meals we have in Michelin starred restaurants, but usually the wait between courses is shorter. The food was really good and I’m looking forward to go back in a few years’ time to see how the chef will develop.

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