Friday

Travel France. Culinary Foodie Tour through Strasbourg

“I thought you were a sophisticated European,” that lady said to me. It really made me think. I am and I reckon part of this is not to count calories. It is just who I am. Never in my dreams would I think of counting them. Imagine today would be your last day, and when night falls, you would proudly say “Oh well, well, so happy I only ate under 2,000 calories today.” That would be outright absurd. Life is so very short, let us enjoy every single second.

One of the main attractions of travelling is to hunt for traditional delicacies. In Strasbourg there is a lot to discover, and nothing can hold me back, I try as much as I can, and have the best time ever. Come with me, I created a culinary hunting tour through Strasbourg for you and I’m really happy to share everything I know. I spoke to many locals and looked behind every dish to tell you about its history, and you will be most surprised what I found. After you read this, all the traditions will make sense to you. I will also recommend the places where I tried all the delicacies. 




When in France eat as much cheese as you can

In Strasbourg I travel through France on one platter. Just in case you would like to do this too, I wrote down the names of the cheeses. Saint-Nectaire is a cheese made in the Auvergne region of central France. Comte is made in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France. Rigotte de Condrieu made in the Lyonnaise region. Munster Géromé is made in the Alsace region (and that alone makes it a must try while you are here in town). Fourme d'Ambert is made in the Auvergne region. Morbier is made in Franch-Comté region. Delice des Cremiers is made in Burgundy.

L'Épicier Grand Cru. This is a delicatessen where you can buy a choice of olive oils, unique spices, flavored teas, honeys and jams, 40 different wines and cheeses. The cool room with 100 cheeses from small cheese producers is a delight to look at. People here are passionate about food, and it is lovely to spend time in this little foodie heaven.

Where to eat cheese in Strasbourg

L'Épicier Grand Cru. 64 Grand Rue. Hours: Monday Closed. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 11am to 3pm, 4 to 11pm. Friday 11am to 11pm. Saturday 10am to 11pm. Sunday 12 to 7.30pm.

If you can’t go to France right now try to get any of the mentioned cheeses at your local cheese monger and enjoy them at home. 

At L'Épicier Grand Cru

Bibeleskaes – Fromage blanc - Quark

Bibeleskaes is an Alemannic name for Quark. As with Alemannic in the Alsace region I cannot clearly say whether it is a language or a dialect of the French/German language, it might be more than a dialect since it is also written, I find it on many street signs.

For the quark producers pour pasteurized milk at 20 degrees Celsius in a bowl, cover it with a cloth, and allow it to stand for about two days. After two days they have thick, sour milk by means of lactic acid bacteria. To make the quark particularly creamy, they add cream to the milk. They preheat the oven to 30 degrees Celsius, place the bowl with the curdled milk into it, switch the oven off and leave it for half an hour. The whey rises in the form of a clear to greenish liquid from a white lump. And this is probably the moment when the Bibbeliskaes got its name. Bibbeli is an Alemannic word for lump.

To become the regional culinary specialty, the Bibbeliskaes is prepared with quark, chives, salt and pepper and some milk and cream, finely chopped shallots, and garlic.

Where to eat Bibbeliskaes in Strasbourg

Winstub S'kaechele. 8 rue de l'Argile, 67000, Strasbourg. Please check their website for more information and opening hours. It might be good to book in advance. This is a very homely place, checkered hearts, wooden banks and red table clothes. It is a great background to eat traditional food. I eat the Bibbeliskaes together with potatoes. To me the Bibeleskaes differs from the classic quark due to its firmer texture, it is creamier, and rather smooth on the palate.

Café at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. 1, place Hans Jean Arp. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 18pm.

Since the Bibbeleskaes is also ideal for cooking cheesecake and that is another specialty of Alsatian culinary culture I taste a slice of it too. The cake is made from Quark, sugar, flour, eggs, milk and cream. It tastes as fluffy as can possibly be, imagine massive clouds on a blue sky.

Cheese Cake at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

Kougelhopf - Kouglof is a cousin of brioche

At first I thought it is brioche but it tastes and feels different. The dough is slightly coarse with bigger holes and not as tender as a brioche. To me the Kouglof is the dashing cousin of the brioche. The dough is made from flour, eggs, milk, butter, almonds, raisins and yeast, and to get the best result it is cooked in the authentic Kouglof baking dish. Another secret is that the dough rises for two hours in the baking dish before it will be placed in the oven.

When you are in Strasbourg, you can buy ceramic or terracotta molds from plenty of stores in town, I have seen them in all different colours and sizes. The history of the Kouglof is unproven. There are many legends and experts still discuss whether it was first cooked in Austria, France, Switzerland or Germany. The French are convinced that Kouglof has its origins in the town of Ribeauville and therefore they celebrate the Fête du Kouglof on every second Sunday of June.

Where to eat Kouglof in Strasbourg

Le Kougelhopf. 52 Rue Fosse des Tanneurs, 67000, Strasbourg. Sunday 7:00 am - 11:00 pm. Tuesday 7:00 am - 11:00 pm. Wednesday 7:00 am - 11:00 pm. Thursday 7:00 am - 11:00 pm. Friday 7:00 am - 11:00 pm. Saturday 7:00 am - 11:00 pm. We need to have a word about this one: the Kouglof I had here tasted fresh and fantastic, The coffee was so bad, I briefly wondered whether they were trying to harm me (but discarded this thought quickly). I recommend this place for its excellent Kouglof and the lovely location (but not more).

Boulangerie Woerlé. 10, rue de la division Leclerc, 67000, Strasbourg. I went here on several mornings to buy my Kouglof and took them to the best café in town (where I ate them together with my flat white).

Café Bretelles. 59 rue de Zurich. Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm. Saturday 9am to 7pm. Sunday Closed. And there is another one at 36 Rue du Bain aux Plantes, 67000 Strasbourg. Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 6.30pm. Sunday 10am to 6pm. Monday Closed. After one week of extensive research in Strasbourg I can say this is the best café in town if you are seriously in love with coffee. They work with Mokxa coffee.


Flat White plus Kouglof at Café Bretelles

Sauerkraut - Choucroute

What is Sauerkraut? It is finely cut cabbage, which is fermented with lactic acid. If you refine it with wine it becomes a popular delicacy. It's not that someone has sat down to create a clever recipe to put on the menu of his trendy gastro pub. Most of the dishes we know today were born out of necessity. The lactic fermentation is next to drying and salting the oldest method of food preservation.

Some allege that Chinese craftsmen as early as in the 3rd century BC were well-fed on fermented cabbage and hence able to build the Great Wall. Legend has it that travellers later brought sauerkraut from China to the West. And ever since James Cook supplied his sailors on his sailing expeditions with sauerkraut, in order to protect them from the dreaded scurvy, sauerkraut is labelled a true superfood.

You can try Sauerkraut as a soup or in the form of a casserole; some people drink it as a juice. The other day I even cooked a Sauerkraut Lasagne, and it was delicious. In Strasbourg I find myself in the epicentre of sauerkraut, and I cannot wait to try it.

Where to eat Choucroute in Strasbourg

La Corde à Linge. 2 place Benjamin Zix. Sunday to Thursday 10.30am to 11pm. Friday 10.30am to 1am. Saturday 10.30am to 1am. This place is right in Petite France and a real change to all the traditional Alsatian places. I mean there comes a time, that decoration with handmade clay dolls dressed in red checkered clothes loses its appeal. And even I the hardiest of travellers and most romantic person on the planet, needed a bit of a break from kitsch. I went to this restaurant twice in one week. The service, the food, the location, the interior is all trendy, fresh, warm and fun.

I ask the waitress how they cook Sauerkraut in the Alsace region and she tells me “My dad would always cook it with cloves, peppercorns, onions and bay leaves.” So far so good, I order it and it actually tastes almost as good as the version I got at my parents. It tingles readily on the tongue and it tastes slightly sour, just as it's meant to be.

Choucroute at La Corde à Linge

Al Fresco dining at  La Corde à Linge

Spaetzle - more than pasta

The tradition of the Spaetzle production goes back to the 18th century. They are made from flour, eggs, hot butter, salt and pepper. In the old days people used spelt, what was widespread in the rural Swabian-Alemannic region; it thrived even in barren soil. Moreover it contains gluten (compare these times with today when some might get a shock when reading this word), and made it possible to prepare Spaetzle without eggs (excellent news in times of distress).

Spaetzle are a massive tradition in these parts of the world. They are so popular; it was easy for Spaetzle to make their way from a peasant everyday-fare to a popular gourmet food.

Where to eat Spaetzle in Strasbourg

La Corde à Linge. 2 place Benjamin Zix. Sunday to Thursday 10.30am to 11pm. Friday 10.30am to 1am. Saturday 10.30am to 1am. This is where I had the Choucroute the other night. The Spaetzle are homemade and the combination with herbs and mushrooms is a delight. The portion is of the right size, and I can truly enjoy it to the last bite.

At La Corde à Linge

Spaetzle at La Corde à Linge

Flammekueche – Tarte flambée

Roughly 100 years ago cooks used pieces of dough to test the heat in the oven for bread making. Thus they could find out if the oven has the right temperature for the loaves. They didn’t throw away the crusty thin test-bread but refined it over time to make it more of a culinary delight. They put on sour cream and onions and smoked speck, and ready was the Flammekueche which they ate while waiting for their breads to be ready. Even to this day, no one looks at you when you roll the Tarte portion and eat it without a knife and fork.

The Tarte flambée is according to the rules of the "The Brotherhood of real Alsatian Flammekueche" (fr. "Confrérie du Véritable Flammekueche d'Alsace") genuine only when it was baked in wood fire of beech or vines, and when the dough is made in-house. Yes, there is a brotherhood of Flammekueche. It is unusual, true, but I admire how seriously they protect the tradition. Its members pledged under oath to serve Flammekueche respecting the traditions. I'm sure they will drink the one or other glass of white wine during the process.

Where to eat Flammekueche in Strasbourg

La Binchstub. 6 Rue du Tonnelet Rouge, 67000, Strasbourg. Hours Sunday to Saturday 7pm to 1am. Go early, before 7pm, but go, this place is super busy for a reason. At first I can't decide between the goat cheese, thyme and honey version or the Traditionnelle. But I order the latter, without the smoked speck. All products are 100% fresh and come from local farms. The dough is made fresh every day (the Brotherhood of real Alsatian Flammekueche will rejoice).

Flammekueche

I liked to learn how people created these dishes and how they were launched. These recipes have been handed down from generation to generation. Strasbourg is true foodie city. What would you add to this? Can’t wait to hear from you.

Do you like Italy? I also created a foodie tour in Venice: Prosecco and Cicchetti Crawl. if you would like to see more about food read 10 of the most vibrant food markets in the world. 

Strasburg is a magnificent town, if you are as fascinated as I am please read more about my adventures in Travel France. 19 things you absolutely have to do in Strasbourg and Travel France. Strasbourg off the beaten track. The European Quarter – the spirit of Europe. 

From Berlin with love

No comments:

Post a Comment

Greetings stranger. I always try to be myself and to be a tourist as often as I can. I would love to get in contact with lots of hard travelling tourists who love to be out and about as much as I do. I am looking forward to all your comments. Thanks so much in advance.