Alsace Colmar Petite Venice 1La Petite Venise district in Colmar

“The pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences, both far and near”… This is what food tourism means, according to the World Food Travel Association, and this is exactly how I feel about gastronomic journeys…

For me, trying local tastes is not only one the greatest pleasures of traveling, but more important, is a great way to deepen into a country’s culture and history… That’s why gourmet tours are part of my wish list

Needless to say, France is a dream destination for most foodies in the world! In particular Alsace, with its true amalgam of french and german flavors,  is one of France’s most interesting areas, with so many traditional dishes… not to mention wines, beers and eau de vie!

Picture-perfect Colmar old town

Other than its food and impressive natural beauty, Alsace boasts fairy-tale cities such as Strasbourg and Colmar, some of The most beautiful villages of France, and many areas of particular historic interest

This region, located on France eastern border, is also a great family destination, with many attractions for kids and close proximity to Europe’s best theme park.

I could spend hours writing about Alsace! I fell in love with this area and its people, its douceur de vivre, its compelling history -Alsace switched between French and German control five times since 1681- and of course with its cuisine!!

In this post we will take a tour to discover Alsace’s traditional gastronomy… Get prepared for a mouth-watering ride!

The Alsatian Cuisine: Tradition meets Haute Gastronomie

The region of Alsace, with its strong Germanic influence, managed to keep intact its culinary tradition. You will find plenty of winstub –Alsace’s cozy wine taverns-, charming brasseries and bistros with the typical checked tablecloths, serving local dishes mainly based on pork -prepared in thousands of different ways- cabbage, cheese and potatoes.

But Alsace can also pride itself on having top-notch restaurants and many Michelin-starred chefs, who were inspired by traditional Alsatian tastes…

Eguisheim, one of the most beautiful villages of France

In here, about 40% of people still speak Alsatian, the local dialect; this means that reading a menu in Alsace may be somewhat complicated! Even if you speak French, most dishes names are written in Alsatian. Moreover, certain bistros don’t have English menus…So keep in mind the following dishes, that you must definitely try!

Street Food


Alsace Colmar Marche Couvert BretzelsThese delicious twisty knotted-breads sparkled with salt, are easily found on the streets of most Alsatian cities and villages. When in Colmar, you will be most likely driven by the irresistible smell of bretzels being baked, particularly when passing by the Marché couvert de Colmar (Colmar’s Market). Try them also with munster cheese and bacon, or with fromage de chèvre (goat cheese) and tomato…


Flammeküche (tarte flambée, or flamed tart)

Alsace Tarte Flambee carree

It’s something like the pizza of Alsace. The classical recipe includes a thin, crusty dough, topped with cream, onions and lardons (or chopped bacon), which is then baked in a wood-fire oven. There are many variations to this “Nature” recipe, the most common being “Munster” (with munster cheese), and “Forestière” (with mushrooms).

Sauerkraut (choucroute garnie)

Alsace choucroute

The quintessential Alsatian dish. It’s white cabbage grated and fermented, which is then cooked in white wine with potatoes, and served with ham, smoked pork shoulder, bacon and sausages… Try it at one of Strasbourg’s atmospheric winstub, paired with Riesling wine or a local beer (see below).


Alsace BaeckeoffeA dish consisting of baked sliced potatoes layers, onions, and different meats cut into pieces (pork loin, lamb shoulder, beef brisket), previously marinated in Riesling wine, all cooked slowly in a traditional ceramic casserole. Baeckeofe is usually served with a green salad and a dry white wine such as Pinot Gris.

Carpe frite (fried carp)

Alsace carpe frite tourisme AlsaceThe equivalent of English fish and chips. Dish of the southern part of Alsace, the Sundgau area, where you can follow “La Route de la Carpe Frite” (The fried carp route) with around 30 restaurants offering this traditional dish. The fried carpe route has been awarded the title of “Remarkable Gourmet Site” by the French National Council of Culinary Arts.

Other must-try delicacies

The magnificent gothic Cathedral of Strasbourg

Munster cheese

Alsace munsterAlmost each French region has its own cheese; Alsace’s is this delicious, strong tasting, soft cheese made from cow’s milk (not to be confused with American Muenster cheese).

 Foie gras

Alsace foie gras

This -somewhat controversial- gourmet treat is made of liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. During the 17th century, Alsace becomes the center of foie gras production in France, a tradition that still continues until nowadays.

Asperges (asparagus)

Alsace asperges resized

If you love asparagus, you should come to Alsace between April and June to taste this nutritious, delicious white variety, plenty of vitamins and antioxidants. To enhance their flavor, try them with a glass of Muscat wine…


Alsace CervelasYou will be tempted to try the great variety of sausages, most of them hand-prepared following ancestral recipes. Some examples include:

  • Knacks: also called Strasbourg sausages, made from pork and beef,
  • Laewwerwurscht: liver sausage pork,
  • Metwurscht: pork sausage spread,
  • Serwela, or cervelas (see picture),
  • Zungewurscht: tongue sausage,
  • Fleischwurscht: meat sausage,
  • Brotwurscht, also called crépinettes,
  • Presskopf: pork brawn in jelly.


The fortified village of Bergheim

Kugelhupf  (or kouglof)

Alsace kouglof 2A cake with a distinctive grooved, high-ring shape. It consists of a soft yeast dough with raisins, almonds and cherry brandy. It can also be savory, with bacon and walnuts. This specialty has long been a celebratory cake, prepared for special occasions: Christmas, weddings, births, village festivals, etc. Nowadays it is mostly served with breakfast.

Käsküeche (or Kaeskueche, or white cheese pie)

Alsace tarte-au-fromage-blanc The french version of a cheesecake. A light, not-too-sweet tart made with fromage blanc, eggs and lemon. This recipe is prepared with a pie crust (instead of cookie crumb used for cheesecake).


Alsace Berawecka resized

It is a cake traditionally made around Christmas, which contains figs, prunes, dates, almonds, apples and candied fruit.


Other delicious sweet treats…

Alsace Sweets collageNougat, pain d’épices (gingerbread), confiture d’églantines (wild rose jam) are other must-try delicacies in Alsace.

Most likely, you have already tried macarons, those little colorful,  meringue-based confections, so trendy the latest years. In fact, macarons are not Alsatian, they come from the neighbour region of Lorraine. Nevertheless,  it would be a shame to leave Alsace without tasting those of Patisserie Gilg...they are just sublime!

Drinking around Alsace: The Wine Route, the Beer’s heritage

Alsace is not only a foodie’s delight: wine and beer lovers won’t leave disappointed… Alsace has an important wine production, and it is France’s main beer-producing region.

Schnapps (or eau-de-vie) is also traditionally made here, although its production is declining due to the reduced consumption of traditional, strong alcoholic beverages.

Alsace Ribeauvillé 3Picturesque Ribeauvillé with its imposing castle


Following Alsace Wine Route is a great way to explore this beautiful area, with its vineyards hanging from the foothills of the Vosges, its picturesque villages -five of which have been selected as The most beautiful villages of France– the imposing castles, the cozy Winstubs, -and you’ve got the perfect excuse to degustate, in the meantime, the exquisite Alsatian wines…

Alsace Vines WherleA degustation at Domaine Wehrle, my favourite Alsace wines (yes, I tried them all…)

These are Alsace’s most recognised wine varieties, with  Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC, controlled designation of origin); all of them are white, with the exception of Pinot Noir:

  • Sylvaner: light and delicate, it pairs perfectly with shellfish (oysters, scallops, clams), fish and charcuterie; you can also drink it as aperitif.
  • Pinot Blanc: ideal to accompany starters or main courses. It pairs well with fish, white meats, poultry, egg-based dishes such as omelettes or quiches, and soft cheeses.
  • Riesling: considered one of the best white grape varieties in the world. The best choice to accompany traditional Alsatian dishes such as Choucroute and pork-based dishes; it’s also great with fish, shellfish, poultry, white meats and goat cheese.
  • Muscat: less sweet and dryer that the Muscats of the south of France, often served as an aperitif. Alsace Muscat is an excellent pairing for asparagus.
  • Pinot Gris (formerly known as Tokay Pinot Gris): Alsace’s white wine that best accompanies dishes intended for red wines: game, veal, pork and poultry, particularly when served with rich sauces. It is the perfect match to Baeckeoffe, delicious as well with sweet and sour flavor combinations.
  • Gewurtzraminer: rich, aromatic, golden yellow, this superb wine pairs beautifully with foie gras, strong cheeses such as Munster, and spicy dishes.
  • Pinot Noir: the only red grape variety authorized in Alsace. Rosé Pinot Noir is ideal for rustic buffets or picnics featuring charcuterie, grilled meats and salads; Red Pinot Noir, more complex and balanced, pairs red meats, game, and certain cheeses. An excellent match for desserts based on red fruits or berries, or not-so-sweet chocolate desserts.

Another must-try is Crémant d’Alsace: this AOC sparking wine -a lighter version of Champagne- is delicate, refined and fresh, and you can pair it with… just anything!

For more detailed information on Alsace wines, read here.


Alsace Bieres CollageA stop at a brasserie for a glass of beer and a tarte flambée is a must…

Alsace has been producing beer since the Middle Age; this long-dating heritage is still evident in many Alsatian villages. During the ninth century, monks became expert brewers and started trading their production; monastic breweries were then progressively replaced by independent companies. By 1803 there were about 250 breweries operating in Strasbourg, but over the years many small companies merged, and nowadays Alsace counts with only five major breweries: Licorne (Karlsbräu), Kronenbourg, l’Espérance (Heineken International, which also owns Fischer), Meteor and Schutzenberger.

There are several micro-breweries in the area which produce small amounts of beer in a more artisanal way.

The beers of Alsace are traditionally blonde, however, the recent years there has been increased production of amber (Fischer reserve Amber), flavored beers (Desperados or K by Kronenbourg), white (White Meteor and 1664 White) and brown (Black Unicorn).

Every August a major beer festival is organized in Schiltigheim, the city of brewers. Since 2014, the Union of Brewers in Alsace also organizes a cultural event around beer, “Au Gré des Bières” in Strasbourg.


Want to learn more about Alsace? Read here:

Photo credits

All the photos belong to woman2womenblog.com, except the following:

Flammekuche: tourisme-guebwiller.fr; sauerkraut: Vinicius Pinheiro, Flickr.com; baeckeoffe: francois schnell, Flickr.com; carpe frite: tourisme-alsace.com; munster cheese: autoeurope.com; foie gras: Kate Hopkins, Flickr.com; asperges: asperges.alsace; sausages: recettessimples.fr; kupelhupf: flauntyourfrenchness.ca; kaskueche: amourdecuisine.fr; beraweka: lesmarchesduterroir.fr; macarons: patisserie-gilg.com; logo biere L’Alsacienne: bar-a-biere-Lyon.fr







You have decided to get pregnant, that’s great! Before you start trying, here are some tips you may find useful….

  1. Schedule a visit to your gynecologist
  2. Start taking folic acid
  3. Give up drinking, smoking, drugs…
  4. Eat healthy
  5. Reduce caffeine intake
  6. Watch your weight
  7. Exercise, but not too much
  8. Don’t forget your oral health
  9. Reduce your stress levels
  10. Avoid certain infections
  11. Reduce exposure to environmental hazards
  12. Figure out your fertile days

1. Schedule a visit to your gynecologist

Embed from Getty ImagesIt is a good idea, before trying to get pregnant to consult your gynecologist. At that visit, you may want  to discuss:

-any medical problem you may have. Some diseases may get better or worse while you are pregnant, some others may affect your baby.

-any medication you are taking. Certain medications are dangerous during pregnancy, and some have to be switched before you even try to conceive.

-your family history. There are diseases that run in families, and you may be able to do some tests to understand if you are at risk. Be sure to mention whether someone in your family has any health problem (e.g. Down syndrome, thalassemia or sickle-cell disease, cystic fibrosis, mental retardation), or if someone was born with a cardiac, neurological or other defect.

-your habits: diet, weight, exercise, any unhealthy habit (such as smoking, drinking, or taking drugs).

If it’s been a year since you had a checkup, you can also expect to have a pelvic exam, eventually an ultrasound and a Pap smear. You may also get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and other bacteria that can reduce your chances of getting pregnant.

Some couples may decide to undergo some prenatal blood exams, including genetic testing for specific conditions, such as hemoglobinopathies (e.g. thalassemia) or cystic fibrosis, based on their ethnic background or family history.

A folic acid supplement may be prescribed at that point.

2. Start taking folic acid


Taking a folic acid supplement is very important. By taking 400 mcg of folic acid a day for at least one month before you conceive and during your first trimester, you reduce your chances of having a baby with some births defects (such as spina bifida) by 50 to 70 percent.

You may also consider some multivitamin supplements that may help you get pregnant. Make sure though, not to exceed the recommended doses of vitamin A (unless it’s in a form called beta-carotene). Getting too much vitamin A can cause birth defects.

3. Give up drinking, smoking, drugs…

4322475363_b7d6a1c20d_qIf you smoke, drink or take drugs, now’s the time to stop!

Tobacco use can affect fertility both in women and men, and this seems to be true even for secondhand smoking. Smoking or taking drugs while you are pregnant can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, low-birthweight babies and (according to recent studies)  congenital malformations.

Alcohol can also reduce fertility, therefore it’s a good idea to cut back when you start trying to get pregnant. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects and other severe problems to you baby.

4. Eat healthy

9577668909_02670b3797_qIt is now a good time to start eating healthy: plenty of fruits and vegetables every day, as well as whole grains and foods that are high in calcium – like milk and yogurt. Eat a variety of protein sources, such as beans, nuts, seeds, and meats.

While fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (which are very important for your baby’s brain and eye development), as well as proteins, vitamin D and other nutrients, it also contains mercury, which can be harmful. It is usually recommended that pregnant women eat up to 2 servings a week of fish that are not high in mercury (such as herring, trout, salmon, and sardines), and avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish. The consumption of white canned tuna should be limited to 1 serving per week.

5. Reduce caffeine intake

3155462396_d7f6b94586_qThere seems to be an association between high caffeine consumption and reduced fertility. Too much caffeine has also been linked to a risk of miscarriage in some studies, but not in others. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to limit coffee consumption to 1 cup a day.



6. Watch your weight

belly-2354_1280You may have an easier time conceiving if you’re at a healthy weight. Being over or under the ideal weight makes it harder for some women to become pregnant.


7. Exercise, but not too much

8552318056_f938f51ff2_qA fitness program will result in a healthy body, fit for pregnancy. In addition, exercising is a great way to relieve the stress that can be both the cause and consequence of not getting pregnant…

You may consider walking or cycling or swimming, on most days of the week, for about 30 minutes. To increase flexibility, you may try stretching, Pilates or yoga.

But be careful not to overdo it. Very intense exercise seems to have the opposite effect, as it has been related to infertility in some studies.

8. Don’t forget your oral health

Woman with toothbrush

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make women more susceptible to gum disease, causing the gums to bleed easily while flossing or brushing. But if you take care of your oral health before trying to conceive you have less chances of experiencing problems while pregnant.



9. Reduce your stress levels

7676579466_42b4fd82d1_qIt is becoming clearer that stress is responsible for infertility; indeed, several studies reveal that relaxation techniques increase the chances of getting pregnant. Furthermore, a recent study confirms something we see in everyday practice: pregnancy is much more likely to occur during months when couples report feeling happy and relaxed and is less likely to happen during the months they report feeling tense or anxious. The influence of stress on infertility, though is not straightforward, and it may vary in different women.

10. Avoid certain infections


You’ll want to stay away from certain foods such as raw and undercooked red meat, fish and poultry, raw eggs, unpasteurised milk and soft cheeses. These foods can cause dangerous infections, such as listeriosis, salmonella and toxoplasmosis.

In order to avoid toxoplasmosis it’s also a good idea to wear gloves when digging in the garden or the cat’s litter box, if you have one.

11.Reduce exposure to environmental hazards

2575598759_f2109d9152_qThere is some evidence to support that routine exposure to certain chemicals or radiation may be harmful for pregnant women. If you work in such an environment, you’ll need to make some changes before you conceive. In addition, some cleaning products, pesticides, solvents, etc, can be dangerous during pregnancy.


12. Figure out your fertile days

2827062969_951d6cf19b_qInitially, you may prefer to let fate decide when you will conceive. But if you want to be more precise in calculating your fertile days:

First, you should understand when your ovulation occurs. For that, you may use an ovulation calculator, that is, a web tool or application where you write down your period days for some months and you learn when you are fertile; you will find several online, many are designed for smart phones. With these calculators, you get a rough estimate of your fertile days.

If you want to be even more exact, you may start recording your basal body temperature (BBT) and your cervical mucus changes. If you chart them over several months, you may more easily understand when you’re ovulating each month.

Ovulation predictor kits can also help you figure out when you’re ovulating by detecting a hormone (LH) in your urine.

Once you have a clear picture of your cycle, there’s only one thing left to do — get to work! It is advised to have sex every day or every other day beginning about five days before ovulation, and continuing through the day after ovulation. This is because, though sperm can live as long as five days inside a woman’s body, an egg’s life span is only about 12 to 24 hours. By having intercourse before you ovulate, as well as on the day of and the day after ovulation, you maximize your chances of getting pregnant.


Good luck! And hopefully soon with good news!

More info at gofertile.eu

Photo credits
1. Getty images; 2. @Doug88888 Flickr.com; 3. Paul Heskes Flickr.com; 4. PeterFranz Flickr.com; 5. Adam Selwood Flickr.com; 6. pixabay.com; 7. Richard foster Flickr.com; 8. Wagner Cesar Munhoz Flickr.com; 9. MeditationMusic.net Flickr.com; 10. Joost Nelissen Flickr.com; 11. tk-link Flickr.com; 12..craig Flickr.com