Who could say no to some good Spätlze? Well, for those who know how to pronounce it, anyway! Spätlze comes from the word "Spatzen" which means "sparrows". Not that they're made with the songbird, either: spätlze are pasta. But, when are cooked and gathered in a plate, they look like a bird’s nest, which is where the avian name comes from. The etymology is less important than the rich, delicious taste of this Alsatian dish.
Picture yourself, in the middle of winter with snow falling down, by the fireplace. All that's missing is the perfect snack. The Alsatians have the dish you need: a good flammenkueche, also called tarte flambée. It is a very thin bread dough covered with a thick layer of fresh cream with lardons (French pancetta) and uncooked onion rings. All it needs is a good blackening above a flame so that it is lightly grilled. Bon appétit!
Baeckeoffe: a traditional Alsatian dish in with beef, lamb and pork. Some versions add carrots, onions, potatoes, cabbage, but all feature a good white wine from Alsace. Like every French pot, this dish needs to simmer for 24 hours. Afterwards you have a rich, satisfying meal perfect for winter!
It is impossible to talk about Alsatian specialties without mentioning choucroute, this classic dish with an international reputation. But then how to make a good choucroute? Specialists will tell you that above all it depends on the preparation of cabbage. It is a matter of choosing it well and letting it ferment for a week with juniper berries. Then simmer it with bacon and potatoes and add beer or white wine to taste.
A cheese with character! This Alsatian fromage comes from the Munster Valley, south of Colmar. It is a soft cow’s milk cheese that's strong in the flavor, with a fragrance is just as powerful. It's the perfect palate cleanser for Alsatians after snacking on good meat!
After one bite, you'll finish the entire thing. But, what exactly are dampfnüdles? They're a culinary specialty that Alsatian grandmothers have always loved to serve their grandbabies. Etymologically, "dampf" means "steam" and "nüdle", noodles. In reality, they're small balls of pasta that look like buns, a bit like kugel. They can be enjoyed sweet or salty at any time of day!
Ask any Alsatina what they think of when they take a bite of "streusel," and they're guarnteed to say the version made by their mother. This brioche covered with a dough composed of flour, butter and sugar and flavored with cinnamon is the comfort food of the region. It's also one of the tasties delicacies Alsace has to offer!
Just looking at this pastry makes your mouth water. And as we say in French: bien sûr! This brioche, decorated with whole almonds and topped with raisins and flavored with kirsch or rum, is a wonder of Alsace. Usually served at the end of the year or at Easter, it's delicious any time you can get your hands on it. There is also the salty version of kougelhof with lardons or nuts. It's the perfect splurge treat!
Kids love it. Not surprising, considering manele are buns in the shape of a everyone's favorite Christmastime treat: gingerbread men! The original recipe consists simply of flour, butter, sugar, yeast and milk, formed into little men. To taste them is to adore them.
Bretzels (Alsatian pretzels)
If you walk into an Alsatian bakery, you'll find them immediately. It must be said that pretzels (bretzels, in Alsatian) are as pleasant to look at as to taste, instantly transporting you to Bavarian-tinged Alsace. Their shape is just as emblematic as their taste. Yet, for all their powerful associations, they're quite simple: brioche bread with a soft center and an extremely thin and crunchy crust!