The Berghotel Rehlegg in the national park community of Ramsau near Berchtesgaden uniquely combines tradition with modernity and sustainability with enjoyment. Electric mobility is one of many elements that document the hotel’s claim to treat nature and its creatures with respect.
Located in the Berchtesgaden National Park community of Ramsau, Berghotel Rehlegg is widely known as the epitome of culinary delights with organic products from the region. Likewise for its wellness offers and a consistent sustainability concept.
For the owner family Lichtmannegger, a central element of environmentally oriented hotel management is the organisation of sustainable mobility offers for guests as well as for employees. And so the „Rehlegg“ has meanwhile also developed into a hotspot for e-mobility.
CLEAN TRACTION CURRENT – HOMEMADE
The green electricity used for this is largely produced by the hotel itself. There are currently three charging points at the hotel, and in 2020 a large carport will cover the outdoor parking spaces with a PV system. This will then cover 50 kWh and a 100 kWh storage system will support the charging management of six new charging stations. Already, 75 per cent of the hotel’s electricity requirements are generated by two combined heat and power plants and photovoltaic systems on the hotel roofs. The remaining electricity comes 100 per cent from hydroelectric power from the Inn River. To compensate for its own residual emissions, the hotel also participates in reforestation in Panama. The Berghotel Rehlegg is a pioneer with its energy concept. It is the first hotel in Upper Bavaria to leave a positive CO₂ footprint and binds more carbon dioxide than it causes. It is climate positive. In this way, both its own e-mobile fleet of rental and company vehicles can be supplied with clean energy, as well as the (partially) electric vehicles of its in-house guests.
E-MOBILITY FOR GUESTS
Those who do not drive to the Rehlegg with their own plug-in hybrid or an electric car can borrow a „REH-mobil“, an electric Smart Fortwo, to explore the beautiful surroundings in the national park area or the biosphere region. Quiet, relaxed and emission-free. And the free offer is gladly used, even by guests who initially tend to be sceptical about the still unfamiliar, modern form of mobility. First of all, because most of them later return from their e-trip in a very positive mood. Even though hotel manager Johannes Lichtmannegger is an enthusiastic e-driver himself – and has recently started driving an Audi e-tron – he doesn’t believe in proselytising. At the Rehlegg, no one is persuaded to experience e-mobility, quite literally. The „REH-mobiles“, clearly visible at the charging station right next to the hotel entrance, arouse the curiosity of the guests all by themselves. „The driving experience is the key to acceptance,“ the clever hotelier knows. „Once people have experienced the silent gliding and rapid acceleration, they are much more open-minded and want to know more about the vehicles and charging options right away.“
Where, if not in the middle of an alpine region, do people come up with the idea of giving themselves a portion of tailwind in the form of e-motor support when biking uphill. And so the Berghotel also provides its guests with high-quality e-mountain bikes. Pure riding fun, even if the muscular effort still required is not to be underestimated. After all, some of the bike trails in the area are quite steep or, as the Bavarians say, „gach“ upwards.
However, it is not only the guests of the hotel who are interested in e-mobility in a relaxed holiday atmosphere, but also the employees of the hotel who have long been convinced „electricians” and thus „e-embassadors“ in the region. They also have „REH-mobiles“ at their disposal for their commute to work. In addition to the Audi e-tron, a Tesla and a Renault Zoe are also part of the hotel’s extensive fleet of electric vehicles.
KONSEQUENT REGIONAL UND NACHHALTIG
„Less, but better“ is a motto of the Berghotel Rehlegg. There is hardly a better way to describe the concept of the hotel, which is characterised by a concentration on the essentials with high quality and the renunciation of resource-consuming frills. The consistently practised claim to regionality and sustainability seems unobtrusive and natural. The four-star destination’s motto is to set an example instead of proselytising. Even though Konsequent Nachhaltig ultimately benefits from this, many of the measures remain hidden from the guests. For example, the Rehlegg uses effective microorganisms for cleaning. These are wastewater-friendly and groundwater-neutral. They break down impurities, odours and deposits and have an antistatic effect.
This means that dust no longer accumulates so quickly on surfaces. In this way, the environment is spared tons of chemical cleaning agents. And a pleasant and healthy living climate is created for the guests.
A JOURNEY INWARDS
The Rehlegg wants to be more than a wellness hotel. It wants to invite guests on a journey inwards. Inspired by a quiet and at the same time powerful place journey inwards. The Almwies’n SPA is the result of careful selection. Stephanie Lichtmannegger has lovingly explored which materials and objects have found their way in. Lots of wood. Earthy colours. Soft lighting. Candlelight.
Nature has given us a rich gift. The Berchtesgaden National Park begins on our doorstep and our house is located in the middle of the Berchtesgadener Land biosphere region. The mountaineering village of Ramsau focuses on sustainable, nature-oriented tourism. Just like us. We are very happy to take on this responsibility.
Only natural cosmetics are used in the Almwies’n SPA. Inspired by the Rehlegger Leit’n, the steep mountain meadow behind the hotel, where almost 70 different medicinal plants and herbs grow, including carnation root and the small Braunelle, primroses, dog roses, St. John’s wort and mint, a certified herbalist has created her own natural cosmetics range for the hotel. The „Rehlegger Kräuterfee“ is produced according to strict ecological guidelines. Those who wish can also purchase the „Rehlegger Kräuterfee“ in the hotel shop.
Yoga has a calming and balancing effect, but also invigorating and strengthening. Franz Lichtmannegger has been practising yoga for over 30 years and cooperates with renowned yoga schools. Yoga retreats are held regularly at the Rehlegg.
For those who want to work up a sweat, there is a complete strength training circuit in the fitness room. Joggers and trail runners set off on an 8 km route, directly from the hotel to Hintersee, along the stream, through the enchanted forest, around the lake and back. And finally, you can swim towards the Watzmann in the 6-star pools, the outdoor pool and even in the indoor pool with its large panoramic windows.
EXPERIENCE PURE NATURE
The Rehlegg is located in the national park municipality and mountaineering village of Ramsau. The villages united in the sustainability initiative Mountaineering Villages are pioneers of alpinism in their regions. Therefore, the mountains and mountaineering have a high value in the cultural self-image of the locals and guests. Here, the awareness of the necessary harmony between nature and man is still alive and people respect natural boundaries.
In 1978, the first and only German Alpine National Park, the Berchtesgaden National Park, was created as a retreat for nature. Today, Berchtesgaden National Park fulfils numerous other tasks related to nature conservation, research, recreation and education. With its trail network of over 250 kilometres of paths and trails, the national park is the perfect place for hiking. The Berchtesgaden Alpine National Park is also part of the Unesco Biosphere Region Berchtesgadener Land. Here you can marvel at the voices of birds, gentian and edelweiss, marmots and golden eagles. The guest programme on offer includes excursions, group outings and experiences for the whole family.
Those who want to acquire additional knowledge beyond the direct encounter with nature should definitely visit the spectacular Berchtesgaden National Park Centre, the „Haus der Berge“. This is far more than just a museum: it combines information centre, education centre and adventure area into a harmonious triad.
CULINARY WITH ADDED VALUE
Food is a means to life. At the Rehlegg, they are held in the highest esteem. Not only in order to be able to serve the guests dishes of the finest quality, but also out of the hoteliers’ innermost conviction. Careful handling of the products is close to the Lichtmanneggers’ hearts – from start to finish, from production to preparation. The hotel’s „true food“ concept is implemented accordingly.
Good ingredients are the basis of every good cuisine, they are the best cook. The Rehlegg’s dining companion is nature on the doorstep. It provides first-class, fresh produce that varies according to the season. Unadulterated, untreated and „unquenched“. If you not only talk about respect for all living creatures – including the farm suppliers – but also practise it, you have to invest accordingly. Thus, the products at Rehlegg not only have an ideal value, they also cost something. For the benefit of the guest, but also of all animal, vegetable and human „partners“. All this happens at the Berghotel out of absolute conviction and as a result of conscious decisions. Not by chance and certainly not for marketing reasons.
QUALITY FROM THE REGION
Regional food has priority and, wherever possible, also those from organic production. And suppliers and partners are not only selected for the quality of their products, they also share the values and commitment of the hospitality business.
Fish, meat and poultry come almost exclusively from species-appropriate, small-scale farming. The brewery covers all its energy needs from renewable energy sources, the wine press house cultivates old, almost forgotten types of fruit and the dairy produces milk products with a guarantee of origin. All natural and without genetic engineering. The private roaster knows his coffee farmers personally, the mineral water comes from the nearby mountains and tasty kitchen herbs thrive in the in-house garden.
EXCLUSIVE REHLEGG SPECIALITIES
Those who understand exclusive products to be of the highest quality are certainly right. Some of the delicacies that guests of the mountain hotel can enjoy are not only particularly tasty, but also exclusive in that they are only available at the Rehlegg. To achieve such a special position, it would take an extraordinary commitment. Like the rescue operation of the Black Alpine Pig.
When Johannes Lichtmannegger once looked around for a source of pork from species-appropriate organic farming, he was aware that it would be difficult to consistently implement his regional concept even in the selection of a suitable, robust breed suitable for free-range farming in the Alpine regions. Although there are still remnants of original pig breeds, they originate from neighbouring (south) eastern countries or from northern climes, such as the Mangalicas, Turopoljes or saddle pigs. But just when it seemed that a compromise would have to be accepted, the hotelier was electrified by the news that small remnants of a pig breed once common in the Alpine region and thought to be extinct had been discovered by chance on remote farms in South Tyrol. High time to bring a former Bavarian “cultural asset” on four legs back to its old home, thought Johannes Lichtmannegger and immediately acquired a few of the animals and had them raised and bred by two partner farmers.
The four-legged rarities could not have had it better, because the Rehlegg Black Alpine Pigs have it good: they are allowed outdoors. They are allowed outside all summer long. On their own wide mountain meadow with lots of lush grass and mud to wallow in. And at the end of their happy existence, like all original breeds, they thank you with plenty of fat – and little meat. Doesn’t sound like a very rewarding reward for the high cost of keeping them in a species-appropriate environment on alpine pastures. Strange, but why then do gourmets make a pilgrimage to the Rehlegg just to catch a morsel of the most delicious lucky pork? Because fat is a wonderful flavour carrier and because the fat of the alpine pig, with its firm consistency, is not to be compared with the pasty, whitish mass of some of its highly bred congeners who were never allowed to see the sun during their lifetime. Connoisseurs are particularly keen on the lardo, the matured fat bacon made according to a traditional Italian recipe. If you’re looking for a drink to go with it, you’ll find it in the Rehlegg’s exclusive collection of rarities.
The ancient grain variety „Laufener Landweizen“ is said to have been cultivated in the Rupertiwinkel for the first time in the 16th century, but was later completely forgotten. Until employees of the Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management discovered remnant seed stocks. Laufen wheat is well adapted to the regional conditions and thrives without chemical pesticides because it is less susceptible to soil moisture and thus more resistant to fungal attack. It also contains significantly less gluten than modern, highly cultivated wheat varieties. True to the motto for the preservation of endangered breeds and varieties „Save by eating and drinking“, the Rehleggers immediately set out to find out what products could be made from this ancient grain. Together with a friendly supplier, the Wieninger brewery in Teisendorf, they finally dared to experiment with brewing beer from 1.3 tonnes of Laufen wheat. This was new territory even for the experienced brewmaster.
Variety rescue or exclusivity – in the end it is only the taste that decides whether it is worth pursuing the project further. In the meantime it is clear that the experiment has been a success, and the contents of 5,000-6,000 bottles of „Rehlegger Rehbock“, a magnificent Weizen Doppelbock beer, are already flowing down the throats of the house guests every year. And only from them. Exclusive.
When you think of caviar, you inevitably associate it with Russia or Iran. Yet the sturgeon was originally also native to Central Europe. Due to overexploitation of stocks, poaching, deterioration of water quality and barriers to migration, most sturgeon species are now severely threatened. This makes it all the more important to breed the primitive bony fish in order to satisfy the demand for precious caviar while preserving the natural stocks. If it were that simple… For a long time, only a few farms devoted themselves to the keeping and propagation of this complicated species. And because the qualities of the farmed caviar usually lagged far behind those of the „wild caviar”, many breeders later distanced themselves from their sturgeon project. Also because breeders need a lot of patience, as the animals grow up extremely slowly. In addition, water of the best quality and a high level of expertise in husbandry and the actual production of caviar are required. These are prerequisites that the two fish masters Nicole and her mother Ulrike Bayrhammer from the National Park municipality of Schönau bring with them. And a lot of passion to go with it. And a stock of 50 to 80 breeding animals inherited from their grandfather, some of which are over 50 years old. The ladies are masters of their craft, after all they supply – exclusively – the Berghotel with caviar of the highest Beluga-Malossol quality. The Beluga variety has the largest grain size among the sturgeon species and is uniquely mild and creamy. The term „malossol“ stands for „lightly salted“. The „Rehluga“ variety is now even officially registered with the German Patent Office.
In line with the sustainable approach of the house, not only the caviar but the whole animal is used in the kitchen. Its white, firm and boneless meat is excellent for smoking or grilling. The chef’s sturgeon tartare is particularly popular.
ARK OF TASTE
The consistent culinary concept of the Rehlegg proves that the preservation of old, regional breeds and varieties is associated with an “added value” that goes far beyond the pride of preserving rarities. The Slow Food Germany association declares traditional, regional foods, livestock species and cultivated plants to be „passengers of the Ark of Taste“. To save and preserve them from oblivion. And to reintroduce consumers to original, handcrafted products of special quality. There is hardly a more pleasant way to combine efforts to preserve biodiversity with special pleasurable experiences, as in the “Save by Eating” offer of the Berghotel Rehlegg.
And if the Lichtmanneggers can’t find a producer in their area who can supply them with products from endangered, originally native local breeds, they simply take matters into their own hands. Like the Alpine pig or the only Bavarian chicken breed, the extremely endangered Augsburg chicken with its characteristic cup comb. After lengthy research, a suitable breeder was finally found, from whom a rooster and 15 chickens were purchased and placed with a partner farm in Bayrisch Gmain. There, of course, the robust, hardy animals are allowed to roam outdoors with plenty of room to run around for almost a year. In contrast to caged turbo-fattened chickens, whose existence as „eating machines“ usually ends after just one month.
Bavarian roast pork – the Rehlegg recipe
Crispy, juicy and traditional
Since 2015, the Berghotel Rehlegg has been breeding its own pigs. With organic farmer partner Sebastian Kettenberger, the animals are kept outdoors in a species-appropriate manner and are fed only with the farm’s own feed. Good meat is the basic prerequisite for a good roast pork. It’s best to buy from the butcher you trust.
What do you need?
• 2.5 kg shoulder with rind of pork
• 1 tsp caraway
• Salt, pepper
• 1 teaspoon mugwort
• Garlic, paprika
• 1 Onion
• 1 Yellow syrup
• 1 Piece of celeriac
• Wielding the wooden spoons
Once you have all the ingredients together, you can start cooking this Bavarian staple! First slice the onion and then place it under the pork in a large pot (make sure that the rind of the meat is facing downwards). Pour boiling water over everything before adding the rest of the vegetables. Then you can let everything simmer on a low heat for an hour. By now, the typical smell of delicious food should be starting to spread, making your mouth water. So far so good. Now preheat the oven – about 130 ° Celsius should be enough – and cut the rind into a diamond shape (similar to the Bavarian flag). Season the meat well with salt and pepper. Caution: Do not pour away the cooking liquid, you will need it later for the sauce. Now put the roast in the oven for a total of 2.5 hours. During the last 15-20 minutes, the most important thing is to take the roast out of the oven and make the sauce, while heating the oven to 220°-230° Celsius. Now put the roast back in the oven and roast it for 15 – 20 minutes at high heat until it has a nice crust. It is important not to baste the roast at this stage! You can serve the natural sauce from the pot directly with your finished roast. If it is too thick or tastes too spicy, simply add a little water. If it is too thin, you can season it with a little soy sauce. In Bavaria, we traditionally serve potato dumplings and warm cabbage with our roast pork.