7 Foods to try in the Alsace Region of France
Border regions seems to have some of the best cuisine and Alsatian Food exemplifies this.
Eating in Alsace, you get a taste of both French and German foods and a third version of the blend of the two cuisines.
What is Alsatian?
The Alsace is a region in France on the west bank of the Rhine River bordering Germany. Throughout history, this area has flip-flopped being under a German and French flag.
The areas inhabitants have their own language, Alsatian, and have developed a unique culture including food with influences from both countries.
Alsatian Region history
History in the Alsatian region dates back to 1500 BC when the Celts settled here due to its rich soil and farmland. Romans settled here in 58 BC recognizing its potential for wine-growing.
With the decline of the Roman empire, the inhabitants were part of the German tribes and then Franks under Charlemagne. Hundreds of years and many border disputes between France and Germany saw Alsace sometimes on one side and other times on the other.
It’s a long history. The gastronomic effect is influences of German products (think sauerkraut and sausages) on country French dishes
Regional Alsace Food Specialties
The “national dish of Alsace” is a version of German sauerkraut. The fermented cabbage cooked in white wine, beer or cider and seasoned with juniper berries and black peppercorns. The choucroûte is served hot with boiled potatoes and a variety of meats including ham, bacon, sausages, smoked meats and also fish on the menus. This used to be the big Sunday meal but is now available all week.
The Alsatian equivalent of the Pizza, though extremely different. It is made of a thin layer of dough, covered with crème fraîche (rich sour cream), cheese, onions, and bacon (lardons in French). It is baked very quickly in an extremely hot oven so that it gets crispy. You will see it on menus as Flammekueche in Alsatian or Flammkuchen in German.
Note: You can also get this at Trader Joe’s Tarte D’Alsace (though it’s frozen… and not France)
A very hearty casserole made with layers of sliced potatoes and leeks with two or three kinds of meats (beef, pork, lamb), cooked together in white wine inside an earthenware casserole. The dish is sealed to keep all the goodness in with a strip of bread dough.
This cake similar, in shape to the American Bundt cake, is baked with almonds and raisins and topped with powdered sugar on top. This is eaten as a Sunday breakfast cake with cafe au lait or an afternoon treat or dessert (add on the sweet sauces and whipped cream).
Tarte aux poires
The Alsace region is especially known for its pastries. This pear tart has an eggy custard filling with baked pears.
Fresh baked and soft pretzels with generous amounts of salt. Sometimes you can find them with melted cheese on top accompanied by smoked salmon or ham.
Wash it all down with some regional wine.
Vins d’Alsace are mostly white dry rieslings and display a strong Germanic influence. One of the most noted is Gewürztraminer.
Travel the wine road and try not to get Alsauced!!!
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