Food and Cuisine in Alsace

 

Alsace food and cuisine is definitely different to other wine regions of France. Over the centuries groups from Poland, Germany, Russia  and Austria, who brought their traditional dishes, plus an abundance of local produce, have influenced Alsatian cooking. In Alsace, expect cuisine that is heavy and rich in style with robust flavours with colourful Germanic names, and the perfect match for the light white wines of the Alsace.

With so many villages along the Route des Vins d'Alsace you are going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to small intimate restaurants. Each has its own speciality with tastes and styles to delight even the most jaded tourist's palate.

About Alsace Food

Alsace is a region of wonderful savoury tarts and pies. Village shop windows are filled with an almost endless array. Popular are ziewelkuche, an onion tart similar to a quiche, raised pies such as a tourte which are filled with ham, bacon, ground pork and eggs. The Alsatians have their own version of the pizza, flammekuche a thin pastry crust topped with cream, onion, bacon, mushrooms and cheese, and cooked in a woodfire oven.

Meat is an important element in the Alsatian diet, with pork a favourite. A signature dish is Choucroute à l'alsacienne, which may contain a range of pork products: sausages, ham hock, trotters, bacon, smoked ham, pork loin, pork spare ribs, etc. all cooked with sauerkraut and white wine! Baeckeoffe is a stew of various meats and vegetables that are marinated for several days then slow baked, traditionally in a baker's oven.

Alsace is also renowned for its patisseries, including the kougelhopf, a sultana and almond ribbed moulded dome-shaped cake (see photo below), or the tarte alsacienne, a custard tart with local fruits such as quetsches (plums). Alsace's patisseries have windows crammed with scrumptious pastries, tarts and cakes.

Alsace white wines, such as Riesling, Sylvaner, and Pinot Blanc, go very well with fish and seafood meals as well as with chicken. For spicy Asian dishes, hot Mexican dishes, anything with curry or chilli, and strong cheeses there is only one wine to drink, Gewurztraminer. Alsace Gewurztraminer has an international reputation as the ideal match with spicy food. 


 

 

Baba au Rum
- take a kugelhopf and soak it, either whole or in slices, in a warm mixture of caramelised sugar, orange juice, vanilla and of course rum. Add cream, a pot of coffee and you have the perfect start to your day.


 

  

Savoury Cheese Tart

- a combination of tasty hard cheese, munster and the soft bibbelskas cream cheese in a pastry case


 

  

Blanc Asperges (white asparagus)

In late May, asparagus (asperges), i available and the white Alsatian variety is particularly sought after all over France.


 
 
 
Dessert - tarte alsacienne (Alsace apple tart)
a special apple tart with delicious pastry, caramelised apple slices with brandy and a creamy baked custard. 

 
 
 
 
Sauerkraurt (French name is Choucroute) with a range of pork cuts. No dish shows off the richly varied charcuterie of Alsace better than this creation.

 
 
 
Kugelhopf
A regional delicacy that can be found in shops across the Alsace. We brought our ribbed kugelhopf mould on our very first visit to the region.
 

Le Sanglier Terrine (Wild Boar Terrine)

Serves 8

 
 
 
 
Ingredients 1 kg—wild boar shoulder, boned 100 gms—streaky bacon 2—apples, peeled and sliced 3—Spring onions, chopped Parsley, chopped finely Thyme, chopped finely Marinade 1 bottle Alsatian Riesling 30 mls brandy 1 tsp all-spice Salt & fresh ground black pepper

 
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Cut half the meat into long 15 mm slices, cube the balance for making forcemeat. Marinate separately for 24 hours.

     

  3. Mince or chop in blender the cubed meat, eggs and herbs. Grease terrine with butter. Line the terrine with the bacon, then put in a layer of forcemeat, spring onions, then apples the forcemeat, then boar slices, continue forcemeat apples, spring onions, with a top layer of forcemeat.
  4. Cover with baking paper and foil. Place in bain-marie and fill 2/3s up with boiling water. Place in pre-heated oven at 180° and cook for 1 hr 30 minute. Test to see that juices run clear.
  5. Remove and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Place a plank on top and a weight to press the terrine. Place in refrigerator and keep to mature for at least 2 days.

To serve: 
Cut into 15 mm slices and serve gherkins, pickled onions, relish, and grapes. Serve with a green salad & fresh bread. And of course, a good Alsatian Riesling!

Chef’s tips

  1. A young boar is required, but farm-raised pork could be used

     

  2. Remove any sinews from meat

     

  3. For the best flavour and texture the 24 hours for marinating and 2 days for pressing is important