The Christmas market in Strasbourg is the oldest and most famous market in the world; it’s been around since 1570! 300 wooden chalets are spread out all over the old city, mainly around the magnificent cathedral selling all kinds of Christmas decorations, drinks, and food.
The layout of the market is very well thought out. Even though 2 million people are expected here every year during the Christmas holidays, you never feel the crowd. It’s organized by theme and grouped by little villages throughout the city. The main ones are Place Kleber, Place de la Cathédrale, Place d’Austerlitz, and Place du Temple Neuf in the Carré d’Or. Place Broglie is for food to consume directly (such as crepes, red and white mulled wine, hot orange juice with honey and gingerbread, Mannele, etc.) Place Gutenberg is for the invited country. Each year the market hosts a different country to sell their products and this year Luxembourg is the guest.
Mannele Plain, with chocolate chips, or raisins.
Stollen, is a bread with dried fruits, nuts, and spices. Often covered with powdered sugar. Sometimes they put marzipan in it which adds a very nice flavor.
Kouglof or Gugelhupf consists of a soft dough with raisins, almonds, gingerbread paste, and Kirschwasser cherry brandy. Some also have candied fruits and nuts.
Strasbourg is definitely the capital of Christmas with all the beautiful decorations on the buildings, in the sky, and all over the old city. The market follows 445 years of tradition, and everything you can find in the wooden little kiosks are local products for Christmas and the holidays. An incredible choice of Christmas decorations and food from the region can be bought at this market. I challenge you to find one single item made in China!
The red and white mulled wine are made in very large copper cooking pot. The vendor told me that they use copper because it gives a better taste. They have another speciality; The hot orange juice with honey and gingerbread spices. I personally prefer the white mulled wine, very tasty and lemony.
Foie gras are all over the places. I bought form Lucien Doriath, I was able to taste it and it was delicious. They also sell figs stuffed with foie gras, it’s excellent. There is an incredible choice of products made of duck such as sausages, Presskoft, rillettes, mousse…you name it.
A night in Strasbourg without the famous sauerkraut (choucroute) and its sausages and bacons is simply not conceivable.
We went to Rutsch, a very nice restaurant in the center of Strasbourg – very friendly service and excellent food. It’s a contemporary-style restaurant but with authentic sauerkraut.
A nice bottle of Riesling goes very well with the meal. Pinot Gris and Gewurtztraminer are also products of the region and go very well with the sauerkraut.
Another specialty of the region is the “Tarte flambée” or “Flammekueche”. It’s an Alsatian dish composed of bread dough rolled out very thinly, commonly in the shape of a rectangle, covered with cheese or fresh cream, thinly sliced onions and bacon. Now they make all kind of toppings: prosciutto, smoked salmon, and even scallops. My favorite is still the original one.
If you come back from this weekend without any excess pounds, please leave me a comment, I want to know your secret!
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!