Food in Alsace - French Cuisine

Food in Alsace tends not to be found in any other region of France, with some noteworthy exceptions. As Alsace is the region that invented the brasserie, some Alsatian dishes such as choucroute are served all over France. Wherever you are in France, a dish that is denominated " à l'alsacienne" will invariably be served with choucroute. Food in Alsace can be quite heavy and rich and the region produces some fine light and spicy wines to complement the cuisine.

Pork is an important meat in Alsace and the pig is known as le seigneur cochon (the noble pig). A type of stew called baeckeoffe ("baker's oven") is initially prepared at home with pork, mutton, beef and vegetables being marinated in wine for two days then put between layers of potato and taken to the baker's to be cooked. Choucroute alsacienne is sauerkraut (aromatic pickled cabbage) and is served hot with sausage, pork or ham, and a local beer or glass of wine. Flammeküche, or what is called tarte flambée in French, is pastry filled with cream, onions, cheese, mushrooms and bacon. A vegetarian alternative to this is zweibelküche or tarte à l'oignon, which is an onion tart. Tourte is a pie containing ham, bacon or ground pork with eggs and leeks.

For a couple of weeks in late May, asparagus (asperges), are available and the Alsatian variety are sought after all over France. Another delicacy from Alsace is fois gras, and this kind is heavily in competition with the fois gras from southwest France.

Fish is cooked in a variety of ways, notably with Riesling wine. Such dishes include matelote (river fish stew) and truiteau bleu (trout boiled briefly in Riesling, then served with a dash of vinegar).

Alsace is also renowned for its patisseries, including the kougelhopf, a sultana and almond ribbed moulded dome-shaped cake, or the tarte alsacienne, a custard tart with local fruits such as quetsches (plums). Birewecks are made with dried fruit that has been marinated in kirsch.

Kirsch is to cherries what cognac is to grapes and there are lots of different kinds of fruit brandies available to round off you meal in Alsace.

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