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Fire destroys famed Black Forest restaurant

January 5, 2020

A fire has destroyed one of Germany's culinary institutions, the Schwarzwaldstube. The Black Forest eatery has held on to its award of three Michelin stars for longer than any other restaurant in Germany.

Firefighters tend to the three-Michelin-star Schwarzwaldstube
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Rosar

A blaze tore through a Black Forest restaurant early on Sunday, wiping out one of Germany's foremost culinary institutions. 

The fire rapidly destroyed the three-Michelin-star Schwarzwaldstube (Black Forest parlor), near the town of Baiersbronn.

Read more: A record 28 French restaurants get Michelin three-star ratings

Fire officials said nobody was badly hurt in the blaze, which had still not been fully extinguished by midday on Sunday. 

However, one hotel guest was understood to have required medical attention for smoke inhalation. The cause of the blaze remained unclear on Sunday.

The restaurant has held on to its three-star reputation with Michelin since 1993, longer than any other restaurant in Germany. 

Michelin describes the restaurant as a "real institution" that remains true to the classic French tradition of cooking while offering "its own modern twist to every dish."

Firefighters tend to the Schwarzwaldstube
There was no immediate indication as to what had been the cause of the fireImage: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Rosar

Proprietors and staff said they would look to the future.

"Of course, it hurts a lot," said Heiner Finkbeiner, whose family owns the restaurant and adjacent Hotel Traube Tonbach. Finkbeiner said he was relieved that no one had been hurt. "Everything else can be rebuilt," he said.

Read more: Michelin lets French chef Sebastien Bras give up 3 stars

Head chef Torsten Michel said the losses were "tragic" but struck a similar note. "In the end, it is only a building," he said.

Former head chef Harald Wohlfahrt, who worked for the hotel's owners for decades, expressed shock. "It feels as though my living room has burned down," Wohlfahrt told the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Only 10 restaurants in Germany are able to boast three Michelin stars, including another one in Baiersbronn – the Restaurant Bareiss.

Torsten Michel and his gourmet paradise.

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Richard Connor Reporting on stories from around the world, with a particular focus on Europe — especially Germany.