Alsace France - Food and Recipes
Alsace France, like most of the country, enjoys a much deserved reputation for fabulous foods and delightful recipes. Everything from beer and pretzels to fine wine and foie gras can be enjoyed here. Here is a tiny peek into the kitchens of the region.
Starting on an exceptionally light note, the region produces much of France's asparagus crop. Look for les asperges d'Alsace to hit the market in mid April and be sure to enjoy immediately, as the season is short.
Baeckeoffe means the baker's oven. In Alsace France, it was once a tradition that women would put marinated meat, potatoes, and vegetables in a large earthenware pot and drop it off at the baker's early in the morning. After a day of washing clothes or working in the fields, they would pick there meal up hot and ready to go.
Along with the northern departments of France, Alsace produces most of the beer that is made in the country. Large breweries, such as Kronenberg and Fischer, dominate the market, but there are many artisanal breweries to be found as well. The history of beer making in the region stretches back many hundreds of years.
You are likely to find all sorts of fruits that have been preserved in brandy (called eau de vie), including cherries, plums, clementines, apricots, raspberries and pears. Many home cooks take great pleasure in producing their own brandied fruits, but you can also easily find them at the market.
If you have the pleasure of being in Alsace France at Christmas time, you will be regaled with a celebration worthy of a fairly tale. Many home cooks make numerous batches of small cookies in an incredible variety of shapes and flavors. These are mixed together to make what is called bredele.
You may say pretzel. The Alsatians say bretzel, but these are nothing like the dry snacks you can buy in a package. A real bretzel is best enjoyed warm from the oven with a slather of mustard and a stein of beer.
This Swiss sausage get its name from the French word for brain - cervelle. They no longer contain brains, but a mixture of beef and pork meats. You are likely to find them sliced in an x on each end, stuffed with cheese, and wrapped in bacon before being fried. Wow, that should hold us over!
You probably know this dish as sauerkraut. In Alsace France you will find it served everywhere, but you better be hungry. The choucroute itself is just pickled cabbage, but the garnie means a load of sausage, ham, potatoes, and bacon, all of which is cooked in white wine.
This is wild rose hip jelly. It is traditionally a homemade speciality but requires quite a bit of work to prepare. These days you can find it commercialized as well.
Also called tarte flambée by "foreigners", this is a sort of Alsatian pizza. No tomato sauce, but a load of cream, bacon, and onions. Eat it piping hot, with a green salad and a cold Alsatian beer.
Minced meat is rolled and cooked in noodles to form a spiral, or snail, pattern. Don't hold your breath for me to make this recipe, which has a reputation for a being a little complicated. You'll just have to visit Alsace where you will find this dish on many restaurant menus.
Foie Gras d'Oie
There are two main regional producers of foie gras in France. One is Gascogne, where mostly duck liver (foie gras de cananrd) is made, and one is Alsace, where mostly goose liver (foie gras d'oie) is made. Learn more about what is foie gras.
Yikes. Yes you can eat carp, but it needs to be prepared carefully. This makes another popular dish on restaurant menus in Alsace France.
Every Alsatian home cook is going to have a fruit tart or two up their sleeve. Popular versions are cherry, mirabelle plums or quetche (another variety of plum). Very easy to make, try this plum tart recipe.
A high, yeast risen cake similar to brioche bread. Every family has their secret recipe and you will find all sorts of variations. The one constant is the form of the cake.
This is honey vinegar that has been very successfully marketed by a local company. Try this on your salads or anywhere you want to add a little sweet and sour taste.
Oh my, this is ever so good. Made in the Vosges mountains, Munster cheese is delicious enjoyed on its own or with a few cumin seeds. It also melts perfectly into quiches, omelets, and gratin dishes. Learn more here:Munster cheese.
This sweet spicy bread or cake might be served in slices to be enjoyed on its own at teatime, but it also finds its way into other French recipes. A popular combination is to top a slice of pain d'épice with foie gras. If you wish to try making it yourself, here is an Alsatian spice cake recipe.
Bet you might be surprised to hear this is a cabbage! Quintal cabbages are popular the world over, but they originated in the region. In Alsace France they are quite likely to end up in a choucroute I imagine!
Soupe à la Bière
Where there is beer, there is bound to be beer soup, right? A very simple concoction of beer, flour and onions. Simmered and served with ample amounts of croutons.
You will often see these thick noodles credited to the Germans, but they are equally popular in Alsace France. Homemade spaetzle is actually a fairly easy endeavor, but is best made with a special tool that fits over a pot of boiling water. Serve these with anything you'd serve with noodles.
Tarte au Fromage Blanc
This is French cheesecake - light and lemony and not too hard on the figure. Fromage blanc is a dairy product similar to yogurt but a little less tangy. Try the recipe for yourself: French cheesecake recipe.
And finally there are the wines, mostly white, of Alsace France. It is the only region in the country where you will find wine categorized and sold by the varietal. The main varietals include Sylvaner, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris (Tokay), and Pinot Noir.
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