Enjoying the Christmas markets in Alsace
" This was an opportunity to enjoy regional dishes and beautiful landscapes, permeated with the nostalgia of Christmas "
Geneviève Groslière, Chancelier Provincial, Bailliage Provincial of Nouvelle-Aquitaine wrote:
Chaîne members from a number of different regions of France, as well as Belgium, Switzerland and even Singapore, received a warm welcome from the Alsace Bailliage.
A big thank you to the Chargé de Missions Jules Julien, acting Bailli, Vice-Chancelier Dima Bou-Obeid, Vice-Argentier Anita Mehl and Vice-Chargé de Missions Benoît Ghestem.
This was an opportunity to enjoy regional dishes and beautiful landscapes, permeated with the nostalgia of Christmas and cheerful New Year decorations.
The programme - organised by Benoît - took us to some unusual venues, including the Villa René Lalique, as well as very typical cellars.
Françoise Lemaître (FL), Dame de la Chaîne in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, and Toy Bruck (TB), Dame de la Chaîne in the Bailliage of Geneva in Switzerland, shared their memories of the event.
TB: Enchanted by Obernai’s illuminations and its welcoming Christmas market dedicated to gastronomy and crafts, we settled in to the À la cour d’Alsace hotel, in a former imperial estate, with its terrace nestled in the town’s fortifications.
FL: On Thursday 9 December, we started with the Gala Dinner at the Villa René Lalique in Vingen-sur-Moder. Built by the renowned glass designer, it is a magical place where you can’t help but marvel at the glasswork. The chefs treated us to some delicately inventive food to tantalise our tastebuds.
TB: On Friday we headed to Strasbourg for a fairy-tale adventure. After making our way through the medieval district, with its stunning squares, we arrived at the Christmas market, dating back to 1570, with more than 300 wooden stalls and a majestic Christmas tree in the Place Kléber.
FL: Lunch at the Bouclier d’Or - a magnificently restored old Alsatian house, whose owners proudly told us about the extensive renovation work carried out. Chef Stéphane Humbert prepared a wonderful regional menu for us.
TB: One last glimpse at the magical décor of the half-timbered houses and we headed to see Mireille Oster and her delicious gingerbread, which she makes with “gold, honey, the song of spiced caresses, mist, flour and love.”
FL: In the evening we made our way to Mitterlbergheim and the wine cellar of Albert Seltz - a particularly colourful winemaker - who gave us the memorable opportunity to try some of the best wines from his estate, served with delicious “tartes flambées”.
TB: On Saturday it was time to travel south to Colmar, also known as little Venice, Alsace’s wine capital. On our way we saw the ruins of a string of châteaux built in the Vosges to protect the area, including the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg which was restored by the Germans.
FL: A lunch of cheese and wine from the Domaine Martin Jund and Jacky Quesnot, traditional cheesemaker. Inventive flavour combinations demonstrated how well-chosen white wines from Alsace go incredibly well with cheese.
TB: After lunch we were offered the chance to see the famous Isenheim Altarpiece (1512-1516), one of the great European masterpieces of the Middle Ages.
FL: In the evening we were back in Obernai where we dined at the Jardin des Remparts, the fine-dining restaurant at the À la cour d’Alsace hotel. The menu was highly festive and delicious. Members were able to share the pleasure of spending time together in this beautiful, unique region of Alsace.