Formaggio - Adventures in Alsace
Alsace has a history of turmoil, having at once been a part of the Celtic culture, the Romans, the Alemanni, the Franks, the Holy Roman Empire, Germany, and France. Since ownership of Alsace has passed between France and Germany since 1871, there are many German influences on the food, in addition to the French influences. Alsace is France's dominant bier producing region, and white wines are incredibly popular as well.
Flammekueche, also known as tarte flambée, was the first dish. It was almost like an "Alsatian pizza", with crème fraîche, sautéed onion, and smoked bacon. It was an excellent way to start the evening, and so was the refreshing sparkling wine, Domaine Zussling Crémant d'Alsace.
Soupe à la Bière was next, a beer soup with cream and nutmeg. It was mostly broth, and was warm and comforting, especially since it's been so cold lately. Very neat to imagine this dish being served to hungry travelers to the Alsatian region; it was a dish that was served to visitors in monasteries in the Middle Ages.
Tartiflette was up next, with broiled potatoes, sautéed onions, bacon, crème fraîche, and Jura cheese. With ingredients like that, it's hard to go wrong. This was paired with a very flavorful Riesling, 2010 Bechtold "Sussenberg".
Salade asperges blanches avec sauce Chantilly, or white asparagus salad with Chantilly sauce, was next. Apparently, asparagus is very popular in Alsace, with white asparagus being even more popular than green. This salad was a great mix of flavors.
Choucroute Garni l'Alsatienne, or dressed sauerkraut, is the first dish that's made me really enjoy sauerkraut. The sauerkraut was simmered in Riesling, and was served with charcuterie and mustard. Paired with this delicious dish was 2010 Binner Vin d'Alsace "Hinterberg" Pinot Noir.
Kugelhopf, an Alsatian Bundt cake, was our dessert. It was served with Framboise Eau-de-Vie, a clear liquor that is similar to raspberry brandy; it definitely made for a strong finish!