Séjour sur mesure Alsace

Discover Alsace's gastronomy

France is renowned for its gastronomy. Each region has its own delicious and varied specialities. And Alsace is no exception: sweet, savoury, meat, fish, sauces, cheeses… there’s something for everyone. Alsatian gastronomy is particularly rich and varied. It is characterised by the use of many local products such as cabbage, potatoes, pork and cheeses. The best-known dishes are sauerkraut, tarte flambée, baeckeoffe, spaetzles and kougelhopf. Alsatian wines are also very popular.

Cooking is a way of life in Alsace, with recipes handed down from generation to generation and sweet moments of sharing and passion. Alsatians love to share a meal around a large, convivial table. It’s the “Stammtisch” spirit! In fact, in Alsace, anything is a pretext for a good meal and a great family reunion!

So we’re going to introduce you to some of Alsace’s specialities, including those you can eat at any time of day, those that reflect the seasons, and savoury and sweet dishes.

Alsatian specialities to enjoy at any time of day

Alsace is greedy.

Here are just a few of the Alsatian specialities you can enjoy at any time of day:

The pretzel is a traditional savoury pastry, although sweet ones are also available. To be more precise, it is a salted and poached brioche in the shape of a knot or crossed heart, covered with coarse salt.

Moricette®, a registered trademark of Poulaillon, also known as Moricette or Malicette, is made from pretzel dough and forms an elongated loaf that can be used to make sandwiches.

Tarte flambée (also known as flammekueche) is a savoury tart made with cream, bacon and onions and cooked over a wood fire.

Kougelhopf is a traditional Alsatian pastry. It is a leavened cake in the shape of a crown, flavoured with rum and sultanas and sprinkled with almonds. It is usually eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, accompanied by a cup of coffee or tea. There is also a savoury version that is very popular as an aperitif. This is one of the region’s most popular culinary specialities.

Dampfnüdle are steamed balls of yeast dough, originally from Alsace and the Black Forest region of Germany. They are often served as a dessert, accompanied by fruit compote or mulled wine. Dampfnüdle are a traditional dish in Alsatian cuisine and can be found in many restaurants and markets in the region.

Some specialities are not found on restaurant menus or in bakery shop windows all year round, but are more seasonal specialities, linked to the local area and traditions.

Alsatian specialities in tune with the seasons

Alsace is a region steeped in tradition, with culinary specialities to be enjoyed with the seasons.

Carnival is all about Schankala. These are typical carnival doughnuts fried and sprinkled with icing sugar. Their name comes from the Alsatian “schenkel”, meaning “thigh”, because of their twisted shape. Schankala are often accompanied by a good cup of coffee or a glass of mulled wine to warm up during the festivities.

Then, at Easter, we find Lammele or Lamala, depending on the region. These are small cakes in the shape of an Easter lamb. They are often given to children and can be eaten for breakfast or dessert. The lamb shape is a reference to the Easter lamb. Lammele are generally made from sweetened leavened dough and flavoured with vanilla or lemon.

The asparagus season in Alsace generally starts in mid-April and lasts until the end of June. Alsatian white asparagus is particularly renowned for its delicate flavour and tender texture. Local farmers work hard to grow these delicious vegetables, and many restaurants in the region offer special dishes featuring Alsatian asparagus.

At the end of September and beginning of October, it’s vin nouveau season in Alsace. It’s a much-anticipated festive moment when we can enjoy new wine accompanied by nuts, good bread and cold meats.

In autumn, the farm inns offer cochonnailles. These are pork-based menus. They generally consist of soup, black pudding, sauerkraut and cheese.

Saint-Nicolas is a popular festival celebrated every year on 6 December in Alsace. It is an opportunity to taste the famous mennele, also known as mannala or mannele (from the German word for “little man”), small Alsatian brioches in the shape of a man. Tradition has it that Saint-Nicolas, accompanied by his donkey and the bogeyman, visits well-behaved children to give them sweets. Mennele are often distributed during this visit. It’s a fine Alsatian tradition that brings young and old together every year.

Finally, Alsace’s Christmas cuisine is rich in culinary traditions. Bredeles are small homemade Christmas biscuits, often flavoured with cinnamon, aniseed or coconut. Berawecka is a dried fruit and spice cake, often with figs, walnuts, sultanas and orange zest. These Alsatian specialities are often shared with the family or given as gifts during the festive season.

Savoury Alsatian specialities

Savoury Alsatian specialities include :

Sauerkraut is a traditional Alsatian dish made from fermented cabbage. It is usually served with meat, potatoes and sausages. It can also be served with fish. It has become popular all over the world and is appreciated for its unique taste and crunchy texture.

Baeckeoffe is an Alsatian family favourite, made with marinated pork, mutton and beef, potatoes, onions and carrots. The whole thing is cooked slowly in an earthenware dish with Alsatian white wine. It’s a convivial, comforting dish to enjoy with family and friends.

Schiffala are small savoury doughnuts typical of the Alsace region of France. They are made from a dough of flour, milk, eggs and yeast, topped with smoked bacon and finely chopped onions. The dough is then fried in hot oil until golden and crispy. Schiffala are often served as an aperitif or starter, accompanied by a green salad or cream sauce. They are much appreciated for their savoury taste and soft texture.

Spätzle are small drop-shaped pastries that are traditionally served with sauces or meat dishes. Spaetzle are often homemade from flour, eggs, salt and water, and can be flavoured with various herbs and spices to suit individual tastes.

Munster is a soft, washed-rind cheese with a registered designation of origin. It is made from cow’s milk and has a smooth, creamy texture with a strong, tangy flavour. It is often served with bread and dried fruit and is a common ingredient in Alsatian cuisine. Its smell can be quite strong, but don’t let that put you off trying it! We also use it for gratins or tarts flambées, for example.

Bibeleskaes (or bibeleskas) is the name given to Alsatian fromage frais enriched with crème fraîche. Its name literally means “chick cheese”, as it was originally a preparation for feeding baby chicks. We often serve it with sautéed or steamed potatoes and/or cold meats and bread.

Presskopf, literally “pressed head”, is an Alsatian culinary speciality made from pieces of pig’s head (cheek, snout, tongue, etc.) that have been salted and then cooked with carrots, tarragon, vinegar and Alsatian white wine. It is then moulded and set in jelly. This charcuterie is often seasoned with spices such as cloves, nutmeg and onion. Served cold in thin slices, often as a starter, presskopf is usually accompanied by potato salad, raw vegetables or condiments such as mustard or gherkins.

Mettwurst is a traditional sausage. It is made from lean meat and fat from pork and beef. Mixed with spices and salt, it is then blended for a long time before being smoked. The result is the distinctive, almost creamy texture of this spreadable sausage, so popular in Alsace, which is best enjoyed with a good loaf of farmhouse bread.

In the same vein, we have fleischwurst. This is a sausage made from minced and seasoned pork. It can be eaten hot or cold, and is often served sliced on bread with mustard, in a salad or with sauerkraut.

Other savoury Alsatian specialities include coq au riesling, salade vigneronne, tarte à l’oignon, tourte, potato salad, venison stew, red cabbage with apples and chestnuts, jugged hare, liver quenelles, potato pancakes, trout with almonds, and many more to discover.

Sweet Alsatian specialities

In Alsace, we also have sweet Alsatian specialities such as streusel and many kinds of tart.

Alsatian streusel (or streussel) is a shortbread cake covered with streusel, a crumbled mixture of sugar, butter and flour. Streusel can be flavoured with cinnamon, vanilla or almonds. Alsatian streusel is often served as a dessert or snack, accompanied by coffee or tea. It’s a tasty, crunchy pastry that delights the taste buds!

The dessert menu also includes quetsch tart, blueberry tart, cottage cheese tart, apple tart and gingerbread.

 

Tarte flambée can also be eaten sweetened with apple and cinnamon, sometimes even flambéed, or with banana and chocolate.

Alsace is also fortunate to be a major wine-growing region. Our proximity to the Route des Vins means we can match these fine dishes with some very good wines. Alsace also has many breweries and distilleries. This is ideal, as it allows you to enjoy a good beer while eating a piece of flammekueche and, to finish the meal, a good schnapps (brandy, a speciality from our German neighbours).

We haven’t told you everything, so you’ll still be surprised when you take a look at the menu of our winstubs (typical Alsatian wine bars and restaurants). The region also boasts several Michelin-starred chefs who are the pride of Alsace.

In future articles, we’ll tell you more about these different specialities, their history, their ingredients and our best recipes. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *