Traditional Alsatian Gastronomy in Strasbourg and Mulhouse

Gastronomy always occupies an important place in my travels, and I try never to leave a place without having tasted the most popular local dishes and products. The food of Alsace is fairly similar to that of Germany, so people say, and it combines the abundance characteristic of German portions with the quality and delicacy of French cuisine. That is a very tempting mix! On my last visit to Alsace, I had the chance to try the famous sauerkraut, probably the most typical dish of the region, as well as Alsatian tapas-type snacks, featuring cooked meats and local cheeses and, of course, gingerbread. Naturally, it was all washed down with the famous white wines of Alsace, made from grapes such as Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Gewurztraminer that give these wines their characteristic exuberance.

Maison des Tanneurs, the most traditional cuisine

To start getting acquainted with the gastronomy of Alsace during my visit to Strasbourg, I wanted to try one of the most typical dishes of the region: sauerkraut. And what better way to do this than in one of the city’s most traditional restaurants, the Maison des Tanneurs, located in a classic Alsatian building from 1572, with splendid views of the canal. On this occasion, I opted for the home-made sauerkraut, made with pork, sausages, boiled potatoes and the famous fermented cabbage that gives the dish its name. There are also other versions, such as sauerkraut with fish, sauerkraut with guinea-fowl, fillet of perch with sauerkraut and even ham hock with sauerkraut. I would advise accompanying this robust dish with the aforementioned local white wine, which is dry and very delicious.

Restaurant Maison de Tanneurs (External link)
42 Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes, Strasbourg

Gingerbread at Mireille Oster

I love sweets and cinnamon, so when people started telling me about the gingerbread, I knew straightaway I would become a great fan. This tasty product, made from flour, cinnamon, ginger, aniseed, cardamom and pepper, halfway between a loaf of bread and a cake, is also called spice bread. They told me all this at Mireille Oster, one of the best-known Strasbourg establishments for gingerbread. At Mireille Oster, they make up to 44 different variations of this bread, whose history goes back to the 16th century and which features prominently in the Christmases of Alsace and other countries of northern Europe. At Mireille Oster, they recommend eating it with chocolate, although it is now also enjoyed with pâté on top or in meat or fish dishes.

Pain d'épices Mireille Oster (External link)
14 rue des Dentelles, Strasbourg

Typical tapas-style snacks from Alsace at the Les Chauvins restaurant

Living in Spain, where tapas are a classic part of our gastronomy, I was surprised to discover that tapas are also used as a way of presenting typical dishes in this region of France. I found this out at the Les Chauvins restaurant in Strasbourg, where I was able to try the local cuisine in an original and contemporary way, with recipes such as sushi made with local fish. Another advantage of eating at Les Chauvins is that, because the dishes are presented as tapas, you can try several different Alsatian specialities in a single meal. What a treat.

Restaurant Les Chauvins (External link)
3 rue du Faisan, Strasbourg

Dining on tapas at the La Quille wine bar

At the La Quille wine bar, in the city of Mulhouse, I was also surprised, this time by the wide variety of typical Alsace tapas, which I had already experienced in Strasbourg. The La Quille wine bar is a place where you can have an informal lunch or dinner based on these little mouthfuls, with cooked meats and cheeses playing a prominent role. And all accompanied by the ever-present Alsatian wines I liked so much and that left me with such lovely memories.

Restaurant La Quille (External link)
10 rue de la Moselle, Mulhouse

Covered Canal Market in Mulhouse

As usual on my travels, markets are an essential place to visit, because they provide the most authentic and accurate way of taking the pulse of both the gastronomy and the local lifestyle. So in Mulhouse, I of course visited its Covered Canal Market, open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 7 am to 5 pm. It is the third-largest market in France, with some 350 stalls, mostly selling food and offering products from all over the world. The stalls for fresh, chilled foods are in the covered part of the market and the fruit and vegetable stands are around the outside. I was struck by the wide variety of organic products for sale and I was told that, on Saturdays, there is a special area dedicated to small local producers.

Mulhouse Market (External link)
26 Quai de la Cloche, Mulhouse

Alsatian Fine Dining at Maison Kieny

You can also enjoy fine dining in Mulhouse, and we should not forget that Alsace has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants in all of France. During my visit to Mulhouse, I discovered that the region’s traditional cuisine is at its most refined and creative at Maison Kieny, a restaurant dating back to 1850, located on the outskirts, in the nearby district of Riedisheim, and very proud of its Michelin star. The award is richly deserved for the excellent balance of classical know-how and avant-garde cooking techniques. I was delighted by the delicacy of the dishes as well as the originality of their presentation.

Maison Kieny (External link)
7 Rue du Général de Gaulle, Riedisheim

Typical Alsace tavern, Le Cellier

I can assure you that you can’t come to Alsace without having something to eat in a traditional Winstub, the welcoming little taverns where you can enjoy the typical dishes of Alsace in an informal atmosphere. That’s exactly what I did at the Le Cellier tavern, one of the most popular in Mulhouse, where they offer a varied menu. When I was there I tried Bibalakase, a type of white cheese eaten with herbs, onion and garlic, served with potatoes and Munster cheese, and I also ate the famous Fleischnacka, a pasta dish that can be made with three different meats.

Restaurant Le Cellier (External link)
4 Rue Trois Rois, Mulhouse