Spending time in the forest means slowing down, becoming calmer. A walk between trees, moss, ferns, and herbs can revive our spirits.
Claudia Fartek is a busy allrounder and practises sustainability with a passion. The manager of the Landhofmühle has been working in a sustainable manner for thirty years now. Why? Because it is and always has been the sensible and practical thing to do.
Claudia Fartek’s workday begins at 4 a.m. with black coffee in the Landhofmühle dining room, with its antique grain holder. “When everything is quiet, I have time to think about what I will prepare for my guests for breakfast,” says the determined Burgenländer. Her “Naturidyll Hotel Landhofmühle” lies in an iddylic spot in the Raab Nature Park, an extensive meadow landscape with which the hotel’s village pond and hundred-year-old chestnut tree blend in perfectly. The breakfast served at the Landhofmühle is a sight to behold: What is special about it? Wherever possible, Claudia Fartek uses regional and seasonal products from Burgenland.
“I get my vegetables, fruit, and herbs right here from my old farm garden, and the rest is supplied as much as possible by regional farmers,” explains Claudia Fartek. “But if a good recipe calls for a mango, then I will buy that as well.” When the local bakery closed a few years ago, Claudia Fartek promptly acquired her own oven and since then has baked the bread herself. It is important to her to show her guests how to live in the rhythm of nature, and that seasonality doesn’t necessarily mean foregoing culinary pleasures. “For example, if the local lamb farmer will not be slaughtering again until the end of the week then we simply have fish or another option,” says Claudia.
“I don’t need to discuss breakfast with my husband—he eats everything!” laughs the native Burgenländer. “And after all, I am the one who gets up at four in the morning and prepares the food—so I decide what we’re having!”
Sustainability, regionality, and reliability have in recent years played an increasingly important role in the decision-making of holiday-makers. But living these ideals has always come natural to the Fartek family, an attitude that certainly has something to do with the location of the Landhofmühle in the middle of the Burgenland’s Raab Nature Park. “Today, every house is built with a photovoltaic system. But thirty years ago, using renewable energy was not such an easy matter,” explains Claudia Fartek.
But her dedication in this regard has paid off: The Landhofmühle was Burgenland’s first Naturidyll Hotel and thus also the first recipient of the Austrian Ecolabel. “Some people would perhaps be bored by the tranquillity here,” she says with a grin, “but this is precisely what attracts people who want to find more inner balance through yoga or art classes or even detox seminars.
“What I enjoy most is looking after my guests, and not sitting in front of Facebook because of some kind of marketing stuff,” laughs Claudia, who discovered her love of cooking at an early age: Claudia’s mother worked as a trained cook at the restaurant of Claudia Fartek’s grandmother. “So, I more or less grew up in the restaurant’s dining room, and I soon realised that this was the job for me as well.”
It was love that brought Claudia to the Landhofmühle: The old mill had been a favourite childhood playground for Claudia’s husband, Franz, whose father trained as a miller there. They bought the mill in 1989, completing the renovation in 1993. “Even then, during the renovation work we arranged with the carpenter to recycle the wood from the old furniture to use for the new room furnishings,” explains Claudia.
Whether you like it sweet, vegan, or hearty: Claudia Fartek will see to all your needs. Intolerances and allergies are also no problem, especially since Claudia Fartek has remembered her fans’ preferences over the years: “Since many of our guests return regularly to the Landhofmühle, I usually know what I can prepare to please them,” Claudia says proudly. “This can be a casserole that reminds them of their granny’s cooking, or a carpaccio that is ideal for the lactose-intolerant.”
Claudia draws inspiration from various sources, including food magazines and cooking shows. “But I could never just imitate them; it is always important to me to gather new ideas and to see what ingredients harmonise with each other,” Claudia Fartek remarks. “This is the way completely new dishes are born.” And she cares for the environment as well: Everything is arranged in small bowls, responding to the demands of the guests. “The advantage? The buffet never has the ugly look of being plundered, and we have to discard less because we orient ourselves towards what is needed,” the host explains.
In the early evening, Claudia Fartek returns from her trusted vegetable farmer, Hannes Peischl. She stows away her purchases in an organised fashion so that the next morning, she has everything at hand that she needs to begin working her culinary magic. Now she can devote herself to her favourite pastime—which is also in a way part of her job: chatting a bit with her guests over a glass of good wine from Burgenland and enjoying the Pannonian sunset.