Kate Schandl and her husband Adrian Sigrist have been in the Bed & Breakfast business for about seven years, but they had been avid B&B customers for years before that. ‘We always thought it would be fun to run one, and it is,’ Kate says, ‘We just didn’t realize how much work it would be,’ she adds with a laugh.
In fact, Kate seems to have a happy chuckle in her voice with nearly every sentence she speaks. The B&B innkeeper really does seem to enjoy what she does. She and Adrian run the Alpenhorn Gasthaus in historical Hermann, Mo., in the heart of Missouri wine country. They fell in love with the place the first time they saw it. ‘We liked that it was a few miles outside of town, with some acreage, and had some animals on the property’ (3 sheep, 3 barn cats, and 10 chickens). The chickens provide the fresh eggs Kate uses in her breakfast recipes. ‘And the sheep cut the grass for us,’ she notes.
Adrian grew up in Luscerne, Switzerland, and he and Kate serve food that is true to his Swiss-German heritage. ‘I like to try different things sometimes,’ Kate says, ‘But we have several meals that we rotate regularly—and the plates always come back clean. So we pretty much stick with those.’ (Kate and Adrian were generous enough to share some of their recipes with us. Just click on the red type to see them.)
It’s not just breakfast, it’s an event
People who stay at the Alpenhaus are usually celebrating a birthday or anniversary, so Kate and Adrian say they try to make the morning meal more of an event than just a breakfast.
The Food Channel’s David and Cathy Nehmer were celebrating their 25th anniversary when they stayed at the Alpenhaus, and can confirm that breakfast was indeed a memorable event. ‘The food was gourmet and stylishly served,’ Cathy says. ‘We were treated like and felt like royalty.’
‘We always have both a sweet dish and a savory dish,’ Kate explains. One of the autumn favorites from the sweet side is German Apple-Pecan Pancakes, which Kate says is more like an upside down cake than pancakes. ‘We top it with fresh vanilla whipped cream that we make ourselves,’ she says. ‘I cook and Adrian brings it out and presents it.’ He announces it with a flourish as ‘Apfel-Pekan Pfannenkuchen mit Schlagsahne,’ in his native tongue. ‘When Adrian announces what the meal is going to be, your mouth is already starting to party, anticipating the great flavors to come,’ David says.
On the savory side, the Alpenhorn often serves Creamed Eggs, which Kate says is a modern version of the classic Eggs Goldenrod recipe. It’s served with locally produced beef-and-pork sausage from the Swiss Meat & Sausage Company just 12 miles down the road. ‘They make more than 300 different kinds of sausages,’ Kate says. The Alpenhorn also serves a delectable Egg, Ham, Cheese & Herb Cup that’s pretty incredible.
Fresh-squeezed orange juice is served with an optional splash of champagne, which quickly transforms the drink into a festive Mimosa.
Kate says the economic downturn has not had an adverse effect on their business. ‘I think it has helped, actually,’ she says. ‘People may not want to splurge for the big vacations, but they can afford a weekend in Missouri wine country. And Missouri wines are becoming quite trendy.’
Part of the charm of Alpenhorn Gesthaus is the brick wine cellar, which is more than a century old. During their stay, David and Cathy spent part of an evening in the cellar sampling Kate’s award-winning chocolates paired with port wines. The wine cellar was illuminated only by candle light. ‘Our conversations with Adrian, Kate and the other guests lasted well into the evening. It was magical,’ David says.
To see more of our trip to the Alpenhorn Gasthaus—set to music—scroll down to the video screen below.
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