The Alsace region of France may be familiar to you if you are a foodie or wine lover but to many it remains unexplored when planning a French getaway. Alsace is unique in several ways. Its geographical position on the French-German border has at times throughout history made it the object of dispute, and this conflict has defined Alsatian culture. The borders of European countries have shifted and morphed as empires have risen and fallen and Alsace was at one time a German possession. This would explain the distinctly Germanic sounding name of its capital, Strasbourg.
The blending of Germanic and French cultures is more than just the sum of its parts. Alsatian cuisine seamlessly blends German staples like bratwurst and sauerkraut with the more refined French style of preparation and presentation. German food is notoriously heavy but tempered with French subtlety and attention to detail it truly shines. The Alsatian spin on sauerkraut is called choucroute and is synonymous with the region. It is the base for several of the region’s dishes. Alsace is also famous for its foie gras, or goose liver pate, and is one of France’s top producers of this delicacy.
Alsace’s geographical features also set it apart. It is sheltered by the Vosges mountains to the west and flanked by the Rhine to the east. The mountains stave off inclement weather and the river allows for a rich and fertile soil. These two elements create a unique micro climate maximized for the growing of grapes, making Alsace a prolific wine producer. Although Riesling and Gewurtztraminer are German wines to many, Alsace also produces some of the finest examples of these wines.
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