Road Trip to Strasbourg
Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last weekend, 7 of us packed into a van and headed off to Strasbourg. It’s a city in the Alsace region of northeastern France which borders Germany. The Alsace region has quite a bite of German influence not only due to it’s geography but also because it’s been under German rule.

Heading to Strasbourg from Paris, we decided to drive on toll roads to save some time since it was quite a distance. We were surprised at how expensive it turned out to be, about €30 for saving an hour and a half.

Our main destination was the Christmas markets near the Strasbourg Cathedral. It’s a long-standing tradition that has been taking place annually since the 16th century. But first, we drove into Germany where we booked our hotel.

The Alsace region is home to many hills.

Hidden in the valleys of many of these hills are homes and small towns.

Schmieder's Ochsen, the hotel we stayed at which is located in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.

The view from our window at the hotel. It's basically a 5 story house that has been converted into a hotel. It was inexpensive, comfortable, clean and quiet. Unfortunately, the heaters weren't working well and it was almost freezing inside the room. However, they did have the warmest blankets I've ever slept it.

Christmas markets at night in Strasbourg, the 'capital of Christmas'. I have to say, they do deserve that title as almost the entire town was beautifully lit with Christmas lights and decorations.

LN's first purchase, roasted chestnuts.

Piles of pain d'épices (spice bread) were being sold at the markets. They are the French version of gingerbread. It's a much more sweeter and heavier version that is sold in loaves.

Giant marshmallows of different flavours covered in chocolate.

Lots of pretzels, sauerkraut, and sausages sold at the markets. Part of the German influence.

I got some of these creamy, cheesy, scalloped potatoes. They were alright, a bit too cheesy for me.

Strasbourg Cathedral at night.

For dinner, we made reservations at Chut, a hotel-restaurant inside Strasbourg. Depending on your selection, you can get a 3-course meal for €34-42.

LN's lobster and mango appetizer. A very generous portion, almost too much lobster to be called an appetizer.

Weebite's fois gras which was very good. It was floral, sweet and very smooth. I can only ever eat a bite of foie gras, it's just so rich. I can't imagine eating a whole slice of it, I'd be stuffed before my main arrived.

Here's IL's roasted bone marrow, my favourite appetizer of the evening. This is the only way you can have me eat chunks of pure meat fat.

My main, a nicely seared white fish on a bed of vegetables. The fish was very good but the accompanying vegetables were too bland in my opinion. This dish needed some kind of sauce or starch to bind the two elements (fish and vegetables) together.

Weebite's main dish, wild boar on potato fritters.

LN's main, seared fish fillets on asparagus, and black rice.

Chocolate tart with creme anglaise.

Chocolate and pear mousse, my favourite dessert of the evening.

And finally, the flaming creme brulee that almost every table ordered. It had a bit of orange essence, very good.

Some more Christmas market shopping the next day. Just more hot wine, pretzels, and ornaments.

Alphorn performers.

The biggest dog I've ever met in my life, a giant St. Bernard. When I tried to take a picture with him, he kept sniffing at my cake box so the cameraman had to hold the cake while snapping the picture to get his attention. He was so loveable!

Our last stop before heading back to Paris was a pâtisserie opened by Theirry Mulhaupt.

A look at his small cakes offered that day.

This was one of the cakes I chose, a mousse duo of burnt salted caramel and chocolate praline. This was my favourite of all his cakes.

The lemon tart with a very good buttery crisp tart crust.

Some gingerbread for the road trip back. I think I prefer gingerbread cookies back in Canada. Maybe I'll make some over the holidays.

Chestnut mousse cake. I didn't like the texture of the mousse too much, a bit too jello-like.

Dark chocolate mousse cake, nothing too special about this one.

And of course, we had to try one of the specialties of the region, sauerkraut and sausages. 3 of us could not finish this plate. I love sauerkraut. If it came with hot dogs all the time, I'd actually eat them.





Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!