I love traveling to the Alsace region of France, especially in the fall when the leaves are turning gold and the grapes are being harvested in the vineyards. As much as I love Paris and I try to stop for a few days when visiting the country, I think the Alsace region of France is one of my favorites for a vacation. After a day spent visiting winemakers and tasting their excellent wines, you can spend the evening in a cozy winstub with a glass of Riesling or Gewürztraminer and a slice of flammekueche. It is a cream fraiche, bacon and onion tart that is one of the region’s most famous dishes. Called tarte flambée in other regions of France and flammkuchen in Germany, this much loved thin crust, pizza like dish is usually baked in a wood oven and eaten as a snack or first course. It is so good that you might order a second one and call it a meal.
Many of you have noticed my new header and have asked where the photograph was taken. I took the photo you see at the top of my posts in the Alsace region of France. Because of the interest in the photo, I thought I would share some information about Alsace and its famous wine road that I love visiting.
The Alsace Wine Road is a wonderful route that runs south from Strasbourg with the Rhine river that borders Germany to the east and the Vosges mountains to the west down towards Colmar and beyond. It is probably one of the most picturesque places that you could ever visit. Picture 16th century villages, some with medieval walls still surrounding them, with narrow cobbled streets lined with colorful half-timbered homes laden with flowers. Vineyards run from the edge of the villages and continue up the hillsides.
Perched high above the villages, you see remnants of medieval castles, one that has been restored is the spectacular Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg on the top of a mountain that can be seen from miles away.
Spend some time in Strasbourg, head down the wine road and visit some of my favorite villages…Obernai, Ottrot, Ribeauville, Riquewihr and Kayserberg to name a few before reaching with wonderful town of Colmar. Colmar looks like it is straight out of a fairytale with its historic half-timbered homes lining the canals of its Petite Venise.
There are wonderful hotels and bed and breakfasts all over the Alsace. While staying in the town of Ottrot, we walked to a small restaurant called L’Etoile D’Or for the very best flammekueche I have ever had. When I want to bring back the memories of our visits to the Alsace, I make my own flammekueche and thought I would share the recipe with you.
Flammekueche also known as Tarte Flambée
Recipe serves 2, adjust according.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- 3 slices of thick cut meaty bacon diced into small pieces
- 1 onion, sliced thin
- 4 Tbsp. ricotta
- 4 Tbsp. crème fraîche
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz. pizza or bread dough
Cook the bacon until it just starts to brown. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel, reserving a tablespoon of the bacon drippings in the pan. Add the onion slices and cook until soft and translucent. Remove and set aside.
Mix the ricotta, crème fraîche, salt and pepper together until smooth.
Flatten and stretch the dough into a rectangle and place on a sheet of parchment paper then roll the dough as thin as possible into a rectangle approximately 12 x 16 inches.
Place the dough still on the paper onto a baking sheet. Spread the cheese mixture almost to the edge and then top with the onions and bacon.
Bake until the dough is crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into large squares and serve.
Once you have tasted this Alsatian tart, you will be dreaming of visiting the Alsace region of France. Hopefully you will get a chance to explore its wonderful wine road where you can tour the quaint villages, taste excellent wines and have a slice of this traditional dish straight from a wood fired oven at a local winstub. I hope every time you visit Back Road Journal and see the header photo, you will think of this picturesque region of France and its famous flammekueche.