Once upon a time...
It was in 1953 that
Catherine Iltis, aka. "Tante Cath" (Aunt Cath) and her husband
Thiébaut Iltis bought the Salzbach, it was then only a small farm ;
there were just two tables in the huggest room. Beside the breeding
of cows, the farm also had a little piggery...
As soon as the good season was back, Catherine and Thiébaut went back to the mountains to spend the Summer in their farm. But one of them had to go back down to the village, Sondernach, that meant 11 km to go on foot (3 hours walking). It was necessary to get some food as well as to sell the cheese and the butter they made... So usually it was Tante Cath who went down once or twice a week, on foot or with the horse and its light cart. She always had a lot to carry.
In the sixties, the farm was extended so that the main room became a restaurant were almost forty people could take place. One of Tante Cath's nephews, Jean-Martin Spenlé, took the farm over but she stayed as the cook. And as the years passed, many changes happened : at first the rooms were lighted with oil lamps (which can still be seen in the farm) and later, at the beginning of the eighties the whole building got electricity installed !
In 1989, after so many years spend to please her guests, Tante Cath received the Bretzel d'Or (The golden Pretzel) award in the gastronomy category, her "godfather" was Jean-Pierre Haeberlin of the Auberge de l'Ill. Together with her family she went to Strasbourg to get her award at the same time as Germain Muller. Well, one can think that now she could earn some time off.
But life ain't easy, Jean-Martin dies and so his brother Daniel with his wife Françoise took the farm over in 1992, they only kept the business. The building was sold to Yvan Pierrez, who was passionated by breeding. He kept the tradition of the transhumance. So in May his herd goes up in the mountains for the whole Summer. There he'll make the Munster cheese and the butter.
Daniel who at that
time was jobless got a new start in his life and became friend with
Yvan : among others he teached him the secrets of the cheese making ! Françoise, who
was a former secretary overtook the cook job.
The Tante Cath is never far away ; she comes to visit with her family or friends of the town.
Unfortunately death strikes again, Daniel dies too. Even is it was difficult for her, Françoise didn't stop her work, she kept giving her best for the guests... And she was successfull, she gave the farm a new life : the dining-room while still keeping its old oil lamps now also serves as an art gallery. You can admire her paintings as well as the ones from her friends ! What a great mix between art and nature.
In 2011, it was time
for Françoise to retire. So Martine and Yvan Pierrez overtook the
business and since then, they welcome you with delicious meals from the mountains...