CONTRIBUTED BY L.Y. TAN
Have you ever noticed a broom hung outside a house or by the road as you walk or drive through areas in the wine region of Baden-Württemberg?
A typical feature of this wine region is its “Besenwirtschaften” or “Broom Taverns”, which are only open for a short period of time each year. The name is derived from the broom, which is “Besen” in German, which hangs at the door to show they are open for business.
The history of the Swabian Besenwirtschaft starts in 812 with a decree of Karl the Great, who permitted the winegrowers to serve their wine in their own private households.
Wine were sometimes served in the winegrowers’ living rooms, in rebuilt stables, or side rooms. The winegrowers placed a broom in front of their doors as a sign that their homes were open for visitors. Usually, they offered German pork dishes to serve to their guests as pigs were often bred by the winegrowers as well.
Under the old law, winegrowers could run a Besenwirtschaft without restaurant permission in their own home for no longer than four months in a year and not for more than two different periods of time.
Over the weekend I visited a Besenwirtschaft in Bietigheim with a unmistakably Swabian name: “Besa em Staedtle”, which literally translates in local dialect to “broom in the city”.
As only the wine grower’s own wine may be served in a Besenwirtschaft”, you should not expect as extensive a list of different wines as you may see on the wine list of a restaurant.
I ordered a “Viertele” of “Weißherbst”. A “Viertele” means a quarter of a liter in the Swabian dialect. “Weißherbst” means white autumn in German (how poetic!) and is more commonly known as Rosé. This portion of beautiful pink wine is served in a classic tiny jug. Instead of the usual long-stemmed wine glasses, the locals drink from traditional flat-bottomed wine glasses with a handle.
The menu of this tavern offers hearty meat dishes such as Ripple mit Kraut (Ribs with pickled cabbages), Schlachteplatte (Boiled Pork and Sausage Platter with pickled cabbages), traditional Swabian fare such as Maultaschen (meat dumplings), Schupfnudeln (thick noodle) and the all time German favourite Schnitzel.
As I have a rather small appetite, I made a request for a reduced portion of Schnitzel with Swabian potato salad which the owner gladly fulfilled. The usual portion of this dish costs EUR 8.50 and the small portion of it costs EUR 5.
This charming rustic tavern offers a warm and comfortable atmosphere with friendly and helpful service and is suitable for families with small children and large groups. Reservations are recommended for dinner.
Besa em Städtle
Opening period in 2015:
Winter season 8.1.2015 – 22.2.2015
Easter season 19.3.2015 – 12.04.2015
Fall season 10.09.2015 – 06.12.2015
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturdays from 4 pm
Friday, Sunday and Bank holidays from 11 am
Phone: 07142 / 43982
Address: Turmstraße 14, 74321 Bietigheim-Bissingen
GPS Coordinates: 48.96068, 9.125940000000014
Check this website for a list of “Besenwirtschaften”: http://www.besenkalender.de/besenkalender/index.php