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Flammekueche & House Riesling

 

This last week, I was in Strasbourg, Alsace, for two days and had the opportunity to eat traditional Alsatian food paired with Alsatian wine. Alsatian cuisine is very much influenced by German cuisine for obvious historical reasons. When in Strasbourg, I usually get a traditional, hearty “Choucroute” (shoe-kroot) like this one …

or even a variation of it that I really dig, the “Choucroute de la mer” (shoe-kroot-de-la-mare), with fish and other ocean creatures that I love :

But on this trip to Alsace, I was taken to a place were they serve another traditional Alsatian meal: The Flammekueche (flam-eh-koosh), which means “blazed pie”, is a very thin oven baked pie crust, traditionally topped with crème fraîche, lardon (very thick cubes of bacon) and onions, but you can also find all others sorts of topping variations, we tried the “Munster” one, and that was my favorite.

Munster is not one of my favorite cheeses by itself, but when baked on the Flammekueche and served with a house Riesling, it is a perfect match for the “Alsatian pizza” as I called it. Funny enough, I almost got thrown out the restaurant by the people I was eating with for calling it that. They also choked when I acted San Antonian and folded my slice of Flammekueche like a taco to eat it …

Flammekueche may be a hard-to-pronounce word, but it a great “family style” dish to serve because you can order several varieties, which are served on trays, and the people at the table can take a piece of each:

The Flammekueche keep coming until you tell the server you can’t have anymore…. but then they decide to tell you that they also have dessert Flammekueche, topped with apples and cinnamon, or with blueberries, etc …

So that is what we did, had a Flammekueche feast, and that feast was made better by the Riesling “Maison” (aka House Riesling) we ordered. House Riesling is usually served in pitchers because it is brought to the restaurant in barrels by the wineries and stored on the premises and can thus be served in sizes from a glass up to a pitcher. Riesling is drunken in traditional Riesling glasses that every family living between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine River owns :

So what makes Riesling such a great pairing for Flammekueche? Well aside from it pairing together because they both come from the same region, Riesling is arguably the most accommodating wine around for food pairings, especially with cuisines that have challenging flavors and spice profiles. So just about any topping that you can find on a Flammekueche ( pork, poultry, shellfish, strong cheeses, etc.) Riesling fits the bill. If you don’t have an Alsatian restaurant near you, have an Alsatian themed evening and make different Flammekueche at home and pair them with Riesling, you can thank me for it later.

I hope you enjoyed what I brought back from my trip to Strasbourg, Alsace (aka the French part of the Blue Banana).

Vinously Français,

Stephane

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