Luxury and tranquility in the Cavalier House

The cranes are already here. The arrival of the stork pair, which moves into its nest at the head of the Kavaliershaus year after year, is expected every day. It is quiet in Fincken. And that’s exactly what the word has spread. Silence and nature. That’s why every one of the very individually furnished suites at Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher, the suite hotel on Lake Fincken, is already occupied on this weekend at the beginning of March. The weakness of the region in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is at the same time its greatest strength. In the Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher, silence, the supposed wasteland, is celebrated and turned into a luxurious commodity.

Das langgestreckte Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher bietet 12 Zimmer und Suiten, ein Restaurant sowie Sauna, Garten und Badesteg am See / © Foto: Georg Berg
The elongated Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher offers 12 rooms and suites, a restaurant as well as a sauna, garden and bathing jetty on the lake / © Photo: Georg Berg

Only the birds roar in the suite hotel on Lake Fincken

No car noise, no light pollution at night. At worst, birds roaring in the morning and buzzing insects while swimming at the lake. Plus creative slow-food cuisine and only a stone’s throw to the more than 1000 lakes of the Müritz National Park. Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher is an ideal place to take a deep breath on a long journey from the south on the way to the neighboring Scandinavian countries. The hotel can be reached quickly from Berlin, Hamburg or Lübeck, for example, for a relaxing time-out for two or a creative meeting with colleagues. However, the extensive grounds with an old park, barn, bathing jetty and playhouse also make it a vacation destination for families. Groups even have the option of renting the property in its entirety.

Einer von Tausend: der Finckener See ist der Haussee des Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher. Mit dem Auto oder dem Fahrrad ist man auch schnell im Nationalpark Müritz mit seinen über 1.000 Seen / © Foto: Georg Berg
One in a thousand: the Finckener See is the house lake of the Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher. By car or bike, you can also quickly reach the Müritz National Park with its more than 1,000 lakes / © Photo: Georg Berg

Furnishings in the Kavaliershaus with great attention to detail

The well-known architect Johanne Nalbach acquired the classicist annexe of Blücher Castle, where Count Adolf von Blücher once lived, in 2007 and, together with her daughter Lena, had it restored from top to bottom. It is a house with an eventful history. In the 1930s, it was sold by the count’s family. For over 60 years and during GDR times it was a school. The Nalbachs have deliberately revealed the history of the house.

Redakteurin Angela Berg mitten im Gebälk. In vielen Räumen sind die alten Holzbalken offengelegt, werden in Kontrast zu modernen Möbeln gesetzt / © Foto: Georg Berg
Angela Berg in the middle of the beams. In many rooms, the old wooden beams are exposed and contrast with modern furniture / © Photo: Georg Berg

The patina of the centuries is just as visible in some places in the restaurant as the fact that you are in the former classroom of the partial secondary school Fincken. A small desk chair stands here and there in front of the doors of the suites. The suitcase racks in front of or inside the suites are a real eye-catcher. In school days, students used to take their naps on them.

Einst Kinderpritsche für den verordneten Mittagsschlaf, heute ruhen hier nur noch die Gepäckstücke der Gäste / © Foto: Georg Berg
Once a child’s cot for the prescribed nap, today only the guests’ luggage rests here / © Photo: Georg Berg

We are sitting in the classroom, drinking coffee and, as every day, there is freshly baked cake from Gunnar Müller’s kitchen when the owner Johanne Nalbach comes in. She holds a small box in her hand and heads for the window where we are sitting. The box is quite emblematic of her attention to detail. A small garden gnome on a swing. It is still missing from the group of gnomes standing on the windowsill. She hangs the new addition on the window handle and sits down with us. In conversation, she emphasizes that architecture must be networked with the place, it should speak and act with the place.

Neuzugang: Gartenzwerg auf Schaukel – vielleicht auch eine versteckte Anspielung auf Theodor Fontanes Effie Briest? / © Foto: Georg Berg
Neuzugang: Gartenzwerg auf Schaukel – vielleicht auch eine versteckte Anspielung auf Theodor Fontanes Effie Briest? / © Foto: Georg Berg

New addition: Garden gnome on a swing – perhaps also a hidden allusion to Theodor Fontane’s Effie Briest? / © Photo: Georg Berg

Homage to Uecker, Johnson, Lilienthal and Friedrich

Thus, motifs of four well-known artists of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern can be found in the suites. They are motifs by Günther Uecker, Uwe Johnson, Otto Lilienthal and Caspar David Friedrich, which can be seen as digital prints behind the bed ledges or on the room dividers of the walk-in showers in the bathrooms, or even as originals hanging on the wall. In conversation, however, the architect also draws attention to a very visible relic of architectural history. In GDR times, a prefabricated building was placed in front of the classicist ensemble of the palace and the Kavaliershaus. This was no coincidence, as Johanne Nalbach points out; in addition to garages and sheds, workers’ housing in the form of prefabricated buildings was often erected in the parks of the old estates.

Die Nagelprobe von Günther Uecker hängt im Hotelzimmer als Original an der Wand / © Foto: Georg Berg
The original of Günther Uecker’s nail test hangs on the wall in the hotel room / © Photo: Georg Berg

Casual get-together in the former schoolroom

Gunnar Müller knew at the age of just seven that he wanted to be a chef. At 13, he began to supplement his pocket money by helping out in his father’s restaurant. It was here that he learned what is now being elevated to the new kitchen trend. Nose to Tail and Leaf to Root. In the tight times of the planned economy, everything simply had to be utilized. “The pigs would starve if I had any,” was one such saying from his father, who was not only a chef but also a deep-sea fisherman.

Der Chef in seinem „Klassenzimmer“. Seit 2015 kocht und serviert Gunnar Müller in den ehemaligen Klassenräumen der Teiloberschule Fincke / © Foto: Georg Berg
Chef in his classroom. Since 2015, Gunnar Müller has been cooking and serving in the former classrooms of the Fincke Partial Secondary School / © Photo: Georg Berg

Gunnar Müller is a native of Wismar. He calls the city his home to this day. Even though – or perhaps because – he left Wismar with his entire family shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1988, and moved to Hamburg. Here he finds the apprenticeship that is not available in Wismar. He cooks at the Hafen-Klub Hamburg at the Landungsbrücken, and later goes to Heilbronn as a chef.

Auf der wechselnden Tageskarte finden sich stets auch asiatisch angehauchte Gerichte, wie Glasnudeln mit Sojasoße, Ingwer, Weizen, Feldsalat und Pak Choi / © Foto: Georg Berg
The changing daily menu always includes Asian-inspired dishes, such as glass noodles with soy sauce, ginger, wheat, lamb’s lettuce and pak choi / © Photo: Georg Berg

Müller often cooks Asian, tries things out, gets inspired on long-distance trips. To this day, he raves about an old Indian woman who taught him five curry dishes in the Caribbean. Meeting two chefs from Singapore also continues to have a great inspirational effect on him. What does all this have to do with Gunnar Müller, who has been cooking at the Kavaliershaus in Fincken am See for three years?

Käthes Brathering and Kaiserschmarrn

The classroom is flooded with light, the design of the furniture Scandinavian simple and chic. The decorations on walls and windowsills are entertaining and full of contemporary history. Even the hotel restaurant’s menu is dressed in a school notebook. And Gunnar Müller’s cuisine is also open to out-of-town guests. His creative style of combining local products and regional recipes with the cuisines of other countries has caught on. Gunnar Müller knows his suppliers and only sources ingredients that convince him.

Viel Butter, Mandeln und Rosinen und für jede Portion drei Eier – das ist die Erfolgsgrundlage für den wohl besten Kaiserschmarrn nördlich der Alpen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Lots of butter, almonds and raisins and three eggs for each portion – that’s the basis for the success of what is probably the best Kaiserschmarrn north of the Alps / © Photo: Georg Berg

Fish comes from the surrounding waters whenever possible. Game comes from the immediate neighborhood, and he is on good terms with the hunter. He also uses recipes from his childhood. His grandmother Käthe from Wismar, for example, made it onto the menu with her marinated fried rings. The Mecklenburg potato soup “Tüften und Plüm” is particularly popular in the Klassenzimmer restaurant during the cold season. The Plüm, Low German for plums, in the case of this hearty potato soup are different types of dried fruit.

Zander und Barsch auf Rote-Beete-Risotto / © Foto: Georg Berg
Pike-perch and perch on beetroot risotto / © Photo: Georg Berg

Yes and what is it? Yes-Panish meets Yes-Mecklenburg

Ja-Panisch trifft Ja-Mecklenburgisch – ein Fondue der besonderen Art kann von den Gästen bestellt werden. Dann treffen japanische Zutaten wie Ponzusoße auf zartestes Rindfleisch aus Mecklenburg. In einer leichten Misobrühe wird das Rindfleisch sowie eine große Auswahl an Gemüse gegart. Zum würzen werden Ponzusoße, Soyasoße und Sesamsoße gereicht. Eine schöne Melange aus asiatischer Leichtigkeit und bodenständigen Zutaten aus der Region / © Foto: Georg Berg
Ja-Panisch trifft Ja-Mecklenburgisch – ein Fondue der besonderen Art kann von den Gästen bestellt werden. Dann treffen japanische Zutaten wie Ponzusoße auf zartestes Rindfleisch aus Mecklenburg. In einer leichten Misobrühe wird das Rindfleisch sowie eine große Auswahl an Gemüse gegart. Zum würzen werden Ponzusoße, Soyasoße und Sesamsoße gereicht. Eine schöne Melange aus asiatischer Leichtigkeit und bodenständigen Zutaten aus der Region / © Foto: Georg Berg

A beautiful melange of Asian lightness and down-to-earth ingredients from the region / © Photo: Georg Berg

Ja-Panish meets Ja-Mecklenburgisch – a fondue of a special kind can be ordered by guests. Then Japanese ingredients like ponzu sauce meet tender beef from Mecklenburg. In a light miso broth the beef is cooked as well as a large selection of vegetables. Ponzu sauce, soy sauce and sesame sauce are used for seasoning.

Gunnar Müller und sein Mehrkornbrot. Stets tüfftelt er an der Rezeptur. Den Gästen schmeckt es und gerne wird ein Laib Brot auch mit nach Hause genommen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Gunnar Müller and his multigrain bread. He is always tinkering with the recipe. The guests like it and are happy to take home a loaf of bread / © Photo: Georg Berg

Baking bread is his passion. Delicious cakes are fresh every day, the homemade ice cream is a hit and eyes open when Kaiserschmarrn is on the menu. It could be the best Kaiserschmarrn north of the Alps. An Austrian colleague once taught him the recipe and how to make it.

Blüchers Scheune – Try it with conviviality

Gunnar Müller and his team also offer a variety of culinary experiences. Once a week, they dish up at the long table in the hotel’s barn, which is located in the park. Steaming bowls of all kinds of vegetables, salads and potatoes and a meat dish are passed across the table.

Die Scheune des Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher wird jede Woche zum Treffpunkt für ein Essen an der langen Tafel / © Foto: Georg Berg
The barn of Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher becomes a meeting place every week for a meal at the long table / © Photo: Georg Berg

One gets into conversation with the other guests of the house, merges into a lively company and exchanges about the day trips undertaken. Gunnar Müller also offers bread baking courses or romantic menus by candlelight. For the future, even a barbecue boot camp is planned for all those who want a proper basic training on the Texas grill.

Auch Familien mit Kindern hat das Kavaliershaus viel zu bieten. Beim Frühstücksbuffet im Klassenzimmer kommen alle auf ihre Kosten / © Foto: Georg Berg
The Kavaliershaus also has plenty to offer families with children. Everyone gets their money’s worth at the breakfast buffet in the classroom / © Photo: Georg Berg
Paradies für Kinder. Im Spielhaus können die Kleinen feiern, spielen und entdecken, um am Ende eines erlebnisreichen Tages zur Freude ihrer Eltern tief und fest zu schlafen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Paradise for children. In the playhouse, the little ones can celebrate, play and discover, to sleep soundly at the end of an eventful day to the delight of their parents / © Photo: Georg Berg

Engel’s world – tree giants and grounded people

We actually meet Dierk Engel because he supplies the Kavaliershaus with game meat from his own hunt. He is introduced to us as the hunter. But in the course of our excursion, it turns out that a single job title is not enough to describe his work around Fincken. Dierk Engel picks us up with his all-terrain Lada and just after the first bend in the road we leave the asphalt and drive across his fields.

Im Lada über die Felder. Dierk Engel sammelt an Sonntagen auch mal Müll ein / © Foto: Georg Berg
In the Lada over the fields. Dierk Engel collects garbage on Sundays / © Photo: Georg Berg

Driving through the landscape west of the Müritz, one immediately notices the giant trees that stand in the middle of a field or even form an entire avenue. Dierk Engel stops in front of just such a giant and introduces us to what is probably the oldest oak in the area, with an estimated age of around 700 years and a trunk diameter of 2.15 meters. However, he also deliberately leaves dead trees in his fields. They may no longer look majestic, but they are a paradise for insects and birds. Last summer’s drought and mild winter allowed four generations of bark beetles to thrive. This is giving the trees a hard time. In other years, there are just two generations of the pests growing up, Engel explains.

Die alte Eiche in Fincken, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern ist schätzungsweise 700 Jahre alt mit einem Stammdurchmesser von über zwei Metern / © Foto: Georg Berg
The old oak tree in Fincken, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is estimated to be 700 years old with a trunk diameter of over two meters / © Photo: Georg Berg

Veterinarian, landscaper, hunter or collector?

Dierk Engel manages a farm forest. But he also swaps fields and areas selectively, acting with foresight. Because as many areas as possible that run to Lake Fincken are to be farmed only in ecological agriculture. He wants to get away from decades of intensive fertilization. “As long as we still throw away eleven million tons of food in Germany, we don’t need to fertilize,” says the trained veterinarian. Instead, he creates small biotopes for birds and insects.

Der Finckener See soll nach den Plänen von Dierck Engel bald nur noch von ökologisch behandelten Feldern umgeben sein / © Foto: Georg Berg
According to Dierck Engel’s plans, Lake Fincken will soon be surrounded only by ecologically treated fields / © Photo: Georg Berg

Near Kaeselin, Engel has uncovered an old village pond with the help of villagers. The residents didn’t even know it existed anymore, so overgrown was it with shrubs and trees. Today there is a bench at the pond and the marsh harrier and the green-footed moorhen have reestablished themselves.

Badesee für grünfüßige Teichhühner. Einer von vielen Tümpeln, die Dierk Engel rund um Fincken gestaltet hat / © Foto: Georg Berg
Swimming pond for green-footed moorhens. One of many ponds that Dierk Engel has created around Fincken / © Photo: Georg Berg
Von Einheimischen handgezeichnete Skizze für einen schönen Wanderweg / © Foto: Georg Berg
Sketch for a beautiful hiking trail hand-drawn by locals / © Photo: Georg Berg

If you follow this sketch, you will encounter giant trees and Slavic graves, walk along an old railroad line, through forests and across fields, meet fallow deer and horses, perhaps also the green-footed moorhen at a pond created by Dierk Engel, but rarely people. And that is definitely one of the attractions of Fincken am See and a time out at Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Egal, welche Art Ausflüge man am Tage rund um das Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher unternimmt, am Abend kann man sich wieder auf Kunst am Bett und eine originell eingerichtete Suite freuen. Hier ein Nagelbild von Günther Uecker als Digitaldruck auf dem Bettsims / © Foto: Georg Berg
No matter what kind of excursions you take around Kavaliershaus Schloss Blücher during the day, you can look forward to art by the bedside and an originally furnished suite again in the evening. Here, a nail painting by Günther Uecker as a digital print on the bedside table / © Photo: Georg Berg

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The cost of half board was not charged by the hotel

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