Together with Les Crayeres in Reims, Auberge de l’ill in Alsace has been one of my favourite three star restaurants in France for many years. On the final day of our 2015 Alsace Wine Tour, we had dinner at the Auberge
Auberge de I”Ill in Illhausern has been a Michelin 3 star restaurant for more than 45 years but started life as Arbre Vert – a simple country inn. it was destroyed in 1940 but was reborn as Auberge de l’ill ten years later under the Haeberlin clan. The auberge gained its first Michelin star in 1952, followed by a second in 1957 and a third in 1967.
Once again, it was David Ling of Hugel et Fils who made all the arrangements for the dinner. He said: “Dinner at 8pm is confirmed. I had my 65th birthday dinner there on 24th July and it was just fabulous. Never been better in my opinion. Only problem is many guests want only to eat the historic signature dishes à la carte which does not give Marc Haeberlin much scope to express himself. Much better to go with a menu… and their wine selection (whether you take the drinks package or ask the sommelier’s advice) is always spot on and never breaks the bank, they are very good in that respect, unlike many Michelin-star restaurants I could mention! Serge Dubs is now semi retired and only works at weekends, but the new young sommeliers are very good as he has trained them so well.”
We were 25 to dinner including David Ling and were accommodated in our own dinning room. The meal was exceptional and service was immaculate. The pigeon stuffed with foie gras was the best pigeon I have ever had. The wines for the evening came with compliments of Hugel et Fils. There were excellent dry muscats, aged Rieslings and Vendanges Tardives and Sélection de Grains Nobles of considerable age. The lady sommelier was very knowledgeable, polite and discreet. I had doubts about the Pinot Noir to be served with the pigeon and she suggested a superb and reasonably priced Rhone in its place.
The dinner at Auberge de l’ill was the final event of our 2015 Alsace Wine Tour. The next morning we drove to Reims in Champagne.