Alsace. The beautiful yet troubled little region where I am now a resident, wedged between the Vosges mountains to the west and the Rhine River to the east. Passed between Germany and France as a spoil of war four times in the last century, Alsace is a beguiling mix of both cultures. Influenced by the best of both nations, it has carved out a singular identity for itself- cuisine, customs and even a language all its curious own.
Alsace is famous for many regional dishes- among those a pizza-type dish called flammküchen if you’re German, tarte flambée if you’re French, choucroute- a sauerkraut dish and a pungent Munster cheese unlike any Munster there is in the US. But what reigns supreme in these parts is wine. White wine that is. Since I’ve moved here I’ve become a white wine drinker- though I used to despise it! It’s so good here- not nearly as sweet as in the US. If you don’t like wine- it’s also France’s largest beer producer. No wonder there were so many fights over this land!
There is a 170km road that winds between the wine-producing villages called the Route des Vin d’Alsace. Take this road and stop at any town and guaranteed it will take your breath away from the charm of the half-timbered houses and the beauty of the vineyards nestled up against the mountains, stretching as far as the eye can see. You can stop in for a sample of the wines anywhere that says degustation (which is just about everywhere). Or simply stroll through the town, pick up a traditional Alsatian pretzel covered in Munster, and enjoy the quaint flower-decorated houses that despite looking sleepy are actually quite bustling.
First stop on our Alsatian adventure day (three villages in about half a day that’s how close and tiny they are!) is the smallest and my favorite, Eguisheim. Voted France’s most beautiful city and, like all the towns we went to, recipient of a Ville Fleurie label indicating basically that it just has flowers spewing out of everywhere.
Pictures by Carson. (except the one of him- that was me 🙂 )