I fancied visiting Alsace for three things – the pork-centric Alsatian cuisine, its most noted dry Riesling wines, and a strong German influence in this side of France.
A road trip to Alsace was indeed an ideal weekend getaway.
Due to its tumultuous past and its location between France and Germany, Alsace’s local culture is quite distinct. Alsatians feel extremely proud to be French, and yet from the local dialect to the traditional meals and iconic architecture, Alsace indeed displays its strong German heritage.
Alsatian Vineyard Route (Route du Vin)
The Alsatian Vineyard Route is absolutely a rite-of-passage, especially for wine fanatics. Stretching from Marlenheim in the north near Strasbourg to Thann in the south and east to Mulhouse, this route goes along wine-producing villages situated on the slope of the Massif des Vosges.
With 67 towns and villages, this route is divided into four regions, from south to north: Thann-Colmar, Colmar-Ribeauville, Ribeauville-Obernai, and Obernai-Marlenheim.
Alsace wines are mostly white with grapes also typically used in Germany. Gewurztraminer and Rieslings are the most notable grape varieties in the Alsace region.
With warm fermented cabbage topped with pork and sausages, choucroute has been my favorite winter dish ever since I moved here to Europe. At first, I thought it was a Swiss traditional dish, but through this warm delight, I came to later know about Alsace. Choucroute (or saukraut) is apparently the gastronomic symbol in the region.
No doubt about it, choucroute wasn’t hard to find in Alsace.
Alsatian dishes are rich and substantial, marked by the use of pork and potatoes in various ways, and served in generous portions. Alsatian cuisine is heavily German-influenced with a distinctive Gallic flavor.
Believe it or not, I was able to enjoy all other traditional Alsatian delights over that weekend – that tarte flambee (an onion, bacon, and creme fraiche pizza), Baekehoffe (oven stew mix of potatoes, onions, mutton, beef and pork), those charcuteries (smoked meats) of all sorts, and that yummy crème brulee… My goodness me, I was able to reach my full carnivorousness potential!
Of course, we didn’t skip sipping some Alsatian wines. White, of course too.
Before I forget – did you know that Alsace is one of the French regions that have the greatest number of restaurants per inhabitant? If you’re interested, feel free to visit one of them – here’s the Michelin list!
One of the prettiest and delightful villages to visit in France, Riquewihr is a little medieval city situated between the Vosges mountains and Alsace vineyards. The village’s layout and structure have not changed much since the Middle Ages, and the people have not changed much either, for they still have the same lifestyle revolving around the industry of winemaking.
A walk through the little streets of Riquewihr is a delight for every traveler as you walk along these cobblestone streets and feast on this colorful German-inspired architecture.
Not so far from Riquewihr, Kaysersberg is another idyllic village that is worth to visit. This village is a bit bigger, yet every bit is as beautiful as Riquewihr. But quieter and more relaxing to go around, I would say.
There are also other villages like Colmar, and not so far from Alsace is its famous city, Strasbourg. Perhaps it’s the lethargic feeling we’re getting from meat overdose that we decided to skip the visit to these equally pretty places.
Indeed, Alsace is the other side of France that is interesting to see.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
Do you want to include Alsace on your travel bucket list? Or have you been to Alsace? If ever you have a chance to visit it again, how will you spend your days in this region?