This is a first-hand recounting of being Andreas Caminada’s guest, an experience that no fine dining lover will easily forget.
Andreas Caminada is a Swiss 33 year-old chef. His restaurant and hotel, Schloss Schauenstein, have earned him 3 Michelin stars and 19 Gault Millau points, and we can see why.
When we arrive to the 18th century castle he’s chosen as the setting for his cuisine, it's a beautiful day. Mountains surround the valley like mighty guardians, and we wander through apple trees and fields. The castle is nestled within a tiny village called Fürstenau, one of the world’s smallest cities.
Enchanted by the view from the outside, we enter the castle full of expectations – and all of them are not only met, but exceeded: the interiors have been tastefully restored and, to our surprise, rendered perfectly contemporary, which provides an intriguing contrast. The service is wonderful – with a young, expert and truly welcoming staff. Since it's a beautiful day they take us on the terrace for the aperitif, an utterly heavenly spot that looks out onto the Italian rose gardens below.
Guests less lucky than we was with the weather, won’t be unlucky at all, as both the aperitif and the dessert are served in the upstairs liquor room, that looks out onto the garden with the same view, decorated with French 18th-Century landscape paintings, left there from the former owner. Each moment and dish served in Andreas Caminada's restaurant has been well thought-out and created with the intention of providing pleasure and well-being. Imaginative and of the highest possible quality, they are beautifully presented by the staff, each with their own cards describing the dishes and helping diners keep track of what they have eaten and drunk.
We're also given a cute personal icon; and at the end of the Schloss Schauenstein experience, we receive a small paper bag decorated with a sticker of the icon. Inside, a booklet in which collect all the dish cards as well as a selection of candies. The final moment on the terrace, was one of our favourite parts of the meal, when we were served – together with the coffee and liquor – a selection of macarons, gelées and candies.
They would have brought as much joy to a 6 year-old as they did to me, and the lollipops were amazing to look at and eat. Chef Caminada has taken on a risky bet, and won: he took an austere, old-fashioned place and has made it lively, cozy and just as pleasant as your best friend’s home – but most likely much more beautiful (depending on who your friends are, of course). He’s blended the contemporary and the classical and created a holistic experience that goes beyond 3-star dining, satisfying all of your senses and your soul as well.