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Update May 2013:
In April we were going to try another restaurant in Maulbronn, a Greek one which we had heard was really good. But despite the fact that we arrived well into their opening hours, they were closed. No sign which may have explained why, so guess what we did: We went back to the Klosterschmiede again. Very good as always, friendly service, good food - what more can you ask.
So when we were back in Maulbronn for Mother's Day, we had booked a table there without trying any other restaurant and it was the same experience: Good Swabian food, a friendly waitress and you get your money's worth.
Update June 2012:
In the meantime we have been there again and again and I always forget to take a picture. The food is very good, the staff is friendly and helpful and though it's a bit more expensive than some other restaurants in Maulbronn it's worth the money.
The last time in Maulbronn we walked to three or four restaurants and checked the menus outside, in the end we decided to go to the Klosterschmiede once more.
Next time I'll try to remember to take a picture.
The Klosterschmiede is one of the two restaurants inside the wall of the monastery. It belongs to the hotel where we stayed and the receptionist advised us to reserve. We did and it turned out to be a very good tip.
Even though it was October it was still warm enough to sit outside in the yard, surrounded by
the medieval buildings.
We were discussing what to eat and I had just decided to try the pumpkin soup, when the waitress said she had overheard that some of us were vegetarians. She said despite its name the pumpkin soup was not vegetarian.
I thought this was very nice of her. Too often waiters don't know or don't care what was used for cooking, no matter if guests ask about meat or because of allergies.
I decided to have the local Maultaschen, a sort of pasta dough with various fillings. Other dishes we tried were the lentils with home-made Spätzle - a sort of tiny noodles - and pork with mushroom sauce. A bottle of the very good wine from Maulbronn and for the beer drinker black beer - we were very happy and spent some nice hours there. Since I hadn't had the soup I was able to eat dessert - apple pancakes with custard - also very good.
This is not a place to go when you are in a rush, and it's also not a very cheap place. The food was freshly made and this takes time. We got our money's worth and I can really recommend this restaurant.
Favorite Dish: The local dish the Maultasche is offered in several varieties, we haven't had them all but those we had were very good.
Updated May 19, 2013
Address: Inside the wall of the monastery
Coming from Stuttgart don't take a train at the station Muhlacker if you have not a connection to the Maulbronn Stadt. Wait for the bus 700. It brings you directly to the monastery. The bus operate evey two hours and it stops close to the gate. Coming by train is very unconvenient.
Written Jan 16, 2005
The Maultasche is a local dish, something like a pasta square filled with a meat and spinache mixture or any other mixture. It is well known in all of south-western Germany.
Maulbronn claims to have been the town where this dish was invented.
The story is that a monk in the cloister had hidden some meat, it was lent and it strictly forbidden to eat meat. But he didn't want to let it go waste, so he decided to hide it underneath pasta dough. He chopped up a lot of spinache and herbs, cut the meat in very small pieces, mixed it all together and then folded the dough around the mixture. The legend says that all the poor from the area were more than happy with this new dish and they expressed their gratitude. The monks also loved it, but they weren't allowed to speak.
The dish became known as the Maulbronner Nudeltaschen - Maulbronner pastabags - too long a word so it got shortened to Maultaschen.
And why the name Maulbronn? Here the story says that a mule - Maultier in German - had discovered a fountain - bronn in old German - and so the cloister was named Maulbronn. There is an old fountain with the picture of the mule engraved in sandstone.
Written Jun 8, 2012
Bretten is a nice, small town , less than half an hour by car from Maulbronn. We stopped there to visit the Schutzengelmuseum, a museum for guardian angels.
This museum is inside an old, half-timbered house, beautiful in itself to look at, but a listed building and as such not much changed inside. This means there are steep stairs and no lift.
On the ground floor and one of the upper floors there was an exhibition about different types of windows used in these old, half-timbered houses. While this was surprisingly interesting - I admit I had never before thought about what type of window you need for an old house - it was not the main reason we had come.
My mother wanted to see the guardian angel exhibition, and this was on the upper floors.
It was very difficult for her to climb the stairs, it took a lot of time and was quite painful. But it was worth it.
There were many pictures of scenes when guardian angels protect children, some not really great art but actually a bit kitschy. What I found very interesting were the additional explanations, how the concept of guardian angels can be seen in many religions all over the world. Apart from the paintings of guardian angels there were painting of their counterparts in other religions.
This museum is well worth a visit, but not if you have any problem walking. We talked to the man at the entrance and he told us they had tried just about anything to get permission for a lift, but as it is a historical building they never got this permission. He said this was especially bad, since most of their visitors interested in guardina angels were elderly people who usually had great trouble with the stairs.
Right now (winter 2012) there is special exhibition about festivities of light in winter around the world, Christmas, Hanukkah, Lucia etc. We would have loved to go there, but my mother's problems have got worse and there is no way she could manage the stairs now.
The entrance is free, you're welcome to give a donation.
It is open on weekends and holidays from 11:00 to 17:00
Written Jan 10, 2012