27 August 2009

It's All About the Flammekueche

LAST EVENING WE finally tried a Alsatian specialty: flammekueche. Or, if you prefer the French way of saying it: tarte flambée.

We went to dinner with the family that owns the house that we stayed in this summer. We ate at a wonderful restaurant called Lauth-et-Fils in the beautiful village of -- and I'm not making this up -- Scharrachbergheim. The village is just outside Strasbourg near the top of the Alsace Wine Route. Lauth-et-Fils specializes in tarte flambée and they do their specialty very, very well. I can't remember the names of all the flambées we tried, but suffice it to say they were loaded with creme fraiche, various French cheeses (the meunster was my favorite) and lots of onions. The Edel was good as well (good luck finding that in the US, people tell us).

So what is tarte flambée/flammenkueche? Here's Wikipedia:
It is an Alsatian dish composed of thin bread dough rolled out in a circle or a rectangle, which is covered by crème fraîche, onions and meat. It is one of the most famous gastronomical specialties of the region. Depending on the region, this dish can be called in Alsatian flammekueche, in German Flammkuchen, or in French tarte flambée. The name itself comes from this method of baking, the English translation of the original Alsatian name being "baked in the flames."

One of the best parts of the meal was the sweet apple flammekueche that came out for dessert. But the added bonus was that out waitress added the apple liquor at the table and then lit it so that the entire tarte was in flames for about 5 or 6 seconds. I took a photo right at this moment, but as you can see it is poor quality and the flames don't really show up. You may be able to barely see evidence of fire in the top-left corner.
It was a great night of Alsatian dining with our new friends Leif and Keira (and Dina, of course). In typical French fashion, the meal lasted most of the night. Our reservations were for 7:00 and we left at about 11:00.

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