Au Domaine du Wolfloch, ColmarApril 20 in France ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C
We are on the outskirts of Colmar, a beautiful Alsation town that celebrates easter in style! Slowing down our travels has given us more time for research and planning. By looking ahead to where we might like to be and when, we managed to book ourselves into a little restaurant aire for the easter weekend and felt very glad we'd done so, because the municipal facility was overfull and turning vanners away. Au Domaine du Wolfloch is another France Passion site, run by the welcoming Véronique and Philippe Laval. France Passion is a network of small, local food businesses, mainly farms and vinyards, who host motorhomes on site. Technically you are supposed to pay a €30 annual membership fee and only stay 24hours, but neither the Lavals nor the Leclère-Massard champagne house we stopped at for Vicky's birthday enforced these rules.
We parked in the restaurant's gravel yard with 6 other vans on Saturday afternoon. It had some homely touches of planters and white metal lanterns and there was fresh water, but no other facilities, however our stay was included in the price of a meal so that was ok. It was a hot day and everyone's doors were open, with many sitting out on camp chairs. Will said hello to Philippe, our host and later Véronique came to the van to check Vicky's dietary requirements (no, fish is not vegetarian).
The nearest waterway was a short cycle ride so Will took the tandem and spent the afternoon fishing. He caught several, including a pike!
Just before 8pm, Philippe let us know they were ready for us. We joined a group of 4 French and a family of 3 Italian motorhome guests. The restaurant felt like an extension of a family dining room, with a carved wood sideboard topped with ceramic casserole dishes. Once settled, Philippe poured a small amount of Pinot Gris into our green stemmed wine glasses and held court, instructing us in a lighthearted and entertaining fashion as to how to taste the wine, swilling it one way, then the other, smelling with one nostril, then the other, holding a little in our mouths and inhaling, then swilling and savouring. We want to improve our French, so said that a translation wasn't necessary (English was his 4th language after Alsation, French and German). This did have the disadvantage that we weren't sure how much was tongue in cheek.
Véronique soon came out and presented us with our meals. For Will, the regional speciality of Tarte Flambée (also known as Flammkuchen in Germany), similar to a pizza but with a topping of creme fraiche and thinly sliced onions and lardons. Half was in this traditional style and to the rest, she'd added gruyère cheese and mushrooms and accompanied it with a side of green leaves. For Vicky she had prepared a delicious and beautifully presented salad with asparagus spears, egg, sun dried tomato, radish sprouts and golden linseed, pairing it with a homemade mayonnaise and a cider vinegar dressing. We could see the love, thought and care she'd put in as she explained the ingredients, having made everything from scratch.
The evening continued with stories and jokes from Philippe, who served us a further 3 wines, the local Munster cheese and French Toast laced with schnapps and a dollop of flavourful vanilla ice cream. He wasn't the most PC of storytellers, but he did like to involve those around him, at one point persuading Vicky to ride alongside him in his "2CV" (2 chairs pushed up VERY close together) making rather inappropriate advances as part of his story... However, his enthusiasm carried the night along and nearing 10:30pm we ended a fun evening with wooden puzzle games (one even had Will stumped)!
We'd expected to pay at this point, but it didn't seem to be the done thing. We spent the following day (Easter Sunday) exploring the delights of Colmar, which you can read about in our next post. On Monday morning we rang the restaurant bell and paid Philippe for our meals and a full tank of water (€54) before thanking him and Véronique profusely and saying our goodbyes, leaving with fond memories of our stay. They put a lot of love and effort into what they do and this really shone through, making our time at Au Domaine du Wolfloch a very enjoyable one!Read more