|Food and Drink in Alsace, France|
|Alsatian cuisine relies a lot on pork and has a number of specialties that you won't find in other parts of France.|
Alsatian cuisine shows the influence of nearby Germany, as well as its French roots. Using a great deal of pork in various forms, the food is hearty and filling.
Most restaurants in places like Strasbourg and Colmar will offer Alsatian specialties, as well as more traditional French dishes such as magret de canard (duck breast), chicken, fish, or beef dishes.
The most famous Alsatian regional dish is choucroute, or sauerkraut, garnished with a variety of meats and served with potatoes. You'd better be very hungry when you order Choucroute garni. More...
Tarte à L'Oignan
Alsace is also known for its tartes, particularly tarte à l'oignan. This quiche-like dish is often served with salad. More...
Alsatian tarte flambée, or flammekueche, is a delicious local form of very thin pizza with cheese, onions, and lardons (bacon bits)—a lighter option than some other Alsatian meat-heavy dishes. More...
Pork, Pork & More Pork...
There are lots of other pork and meat dishes, such as Jarret de porc—pork knuckle, served roasted or poached, with potatoes.
Baeckeoffe is a stew of three meats (beef, pork, and lamb) and potatoes, and about 10 spices, usually marinated in .
And of course there are various kinds of sausages—knacks, Strasbourg sausages, boudin (blood sausages), or Montbéliard, to name just a few. There's also one called cervelas; despite its similarity to the world cervelle, or brains, it is actually a sausage.
Be aware that an Alsatian salad will likely include sausage.
You may have thought that Munster cheese comes from Germany, but no—it's Alsatian. The town of Munster is just about 20 kilometers (13 miles) southwest of Colmar. The cheese is used in many Alsatian traditional dishes—I enjoyed a rich dish of Munster cheese, potatoes, and bacon. Fortunately it came with a saladto reduce the nutritional guilt level.
Bibeleskaes is a fromage blanc or cream cheese mixed with garlic, onion, parsley, and Munster, eaten with bread. It may also contain bacon. You may find it listed as an ingredient in other dishes.
Other Alsatian Specialties
And it turns out that Périgord and Sarlat are not the only parts of France known for foie gras. Foie gras d'Alsace is a local delicacy that is often found on menus, sometimes served with lentils.
In the spring, the local white asparagus is a great delicacy. Frequently served with pork, you may also find interesting combinations such as asparagus with lentils and a poached egg.
What about pretzels, or bretzels? You'll find large soft pretzels for sale in bakeries and in special bretzelleries. You can get salted or unsalted, and sometimes find some with cheese or bacon. Some places also make sweet bretzels, dusted with sugar. They're a favorite snack.
And let's not forget the pastries. As in other regions of France, you'll find many patisseries with beautiful éclairs, tartes, etc. In Strasbourg and other towns in Alsace, you'll also find traditional kougelhopf, a sweet brioche-type cake, often made with dried fruits and nuts, and baked in a special round fluted pan.
You can also get savory kougelhopf, which might contain bacon and nuts. Restaurants and bakeries often have large fruit tarts—apple, pear, and other seasonal fruits. These tend to be heartier than the typical French fruit tart.
Alsatian Wines & Beers
And to drink? Of course you'll find plenty of hearty local beer. Alsace is also one of France's great wine regions, producing mostly white wines such as Riesling. You can find out more by following the Route des Vins, or Wine Route, through picturesque villages like Eguisheim and Ribeauvillé. More...