The little town of Nörten-Hardenberg is only a ten minute drive from Göttingen and is just as rich in tradition. The town is built around the 1000 year-old castle ruins, owned by the von Hardenberg family since the end of the 13th century. Hardenberg corn schnapps with its boar’s head logo (Hardenberg Korn mit dem Keilerkopf) is known far beyond this little place and is one of the specialities from southern Niedersachsen. The corn distillery, which was founded in 1700, has been extended in recent years to form the modern Hardenberg Distillery, and now also produces whiskey and gin as well as the traditional corn schnapps. I take a tour and get to look at the production behind the scenes, passing old oak casks and the new copper stills, and even have the opportunity to sample the various specialities in a tasting session.
But I have to carry on, so I give the tasting a miss. Instead, I take a walk through the Count’s country estate and the autumnal castle grounds. But for those who’d rather do the tasting and not drive after all the hard liquor: the Hardenberg Burghotel is a five-star venue offering overnight accommodation with a historical ambience.