Forsthaus Strelitz offers nature and relaxation. In this interview, owner Wenzel Pankratz talks about the appeal of country living
Just a two-hour drive outside of Berlin, Forsthaus Strelitz has become a favorite among city dwellers who, much like owner Wenzel Pankratz, are seeking a different pace of life. He himself was born and raised in the neighboring town of Neustrelitz and was a chef at notable Berlin eateries such as Crackers before taking over the Forsthaus Strelitz property – and its kitchen – from his parents.
1 / 4
Everything that ends up on guests’ plates is grown on the premises, foraged in the woods, or sourced from the local area. Past the vegetable patches and small tomato greenhouse, we find a menagerie of farm dogs, chickens, ducks, beehives, thistly pigs, a donkey family, and the odd cat in a haystack, each of which make their own contribution to the Forsthaus. In tune with the slower pace of the property, the look and feel of the rooms is “less is more.” It begins in the main house. Our contributing editor Jessica-Joyce Sidon sat down with the man behind the perfect getaway:
1 / 8
What’s the history of the house?
It was built in 1912 and, to my knowledge, was a forester’s lodge until my parents took it over in 1998. There were already animals on the grounds back then, stables and so on…
You grew up here. Do you like living in the country better than in the city?
Yes. Life and people are more relaxed than in the city.
What’s changed in the house since you took it over?
We designed the kitchen to be open-plan with a wood-fired cooking range. That was so we can see how the guests are doing in the evening. I made the dining room much more plain and simple than it was before, just like the guest rooms. There’s not much in the rooms, but what’s there was carefully selected – from the cement tiles and the clay walls to the mattresses.
1 / 4
What kind of experience do you want to offer guests?
To be able to spend a nice evening with good food, drink a glass of wine, and then be woken up in the morning by a rooster or donkey.
Can you tell us something about the food? What products do you use? And how important is it to you to use self-grown products?
We almost exclusively use products from our garden or farm, except fish and game – but these animals lived in the forests or lakes around the lodge. I simply know that our own products are good, that a carrot has that typical sweet taste, that the tomatoes really taste like tomatoes.
What do guests say after staying at Forsthaus Strelitz?
There you’ll have to read the reviews. But a lot of people say that it reminded them of going to their grandparents’, with fresh eggs for breakfast or a wooden fence, homemade bread, jams…