November 12, 2023

The French triangle day 3: choucroute in Alsace

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My time at Château d'Yquem is coming to an end, and after another sumptuous breakfast where I decided to have some scrambled eggs in addition to the usual viennoiserie, I went out for a quick walk on the grounds. It's been a wonderful stay and I wanted to have one last chance to enjoy the open landscape.

I bid farewell to Hairy Legs and Victor, thanking them for having me on this trip. I had one last glass of Yquem "for the road", then saw the last of these doors to the château as I headed to the airport in a hired car.

I knew I wouldn't have a proper lunch due to the awkward timing of my flight, and as I was chatting to the driver, he very kindly agreed to make a detour to take me to a local McDo. I always make it a point to try McDonald's when I travel - especially in France - as there are always interesting items not available at home. So I ordered something to takeaway and eat at the airport.

I took one of the Burgers Signature by McDonald's with blue cheese and bacon, and picked the option with two beef patties. Blue cheese on a McDonald's burger? Only in France!

I arrived at Bordeaux Airport way, waaay early so I had plenty of time to look around. I noticed that there was a small vineyard plot right in front of Hall B. Is there another airport in the world with its own vineyard?

Mr. Christmas was kind enough to pick me up from the Strasbourg Airport and brought me to the AirBnB I had booked. The place was just as I had seen online - one street away from the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg, and I can actually see it from the apartment.

After resting up a little, we walked over to Restaurant Au Pont Corbeau. I had asked to immerse myself in Alsatian cuisine, and this was about as good a place to start as any.

Presskopf à l'ancienne, vinaigrette salade de choucroute - the minute I saw the word "headcheese" I was sold. I don't eat this nearly enough, and here it came with a salad of shredded cabbage, which was pretty refreshing and retained the crunch while being neither too sour or too salty.

I can't tell you how happy I was to eat this, with everything encased in aspic. That bouncy texture, which resisted the pressure from my teeth a little but ultimately yielded. The only problem was, the portion was so big that I felt about 2/3 full after my starter!

Jambonneau grillé, pommes sautées - I hadn't realize what this was when I saw it on the menu, but I absolutely pork knuckle, especially when it's grilled/roasted. I was told that not many places in the area serve it grilled.

So I took a little piece that was offered to me. Soooo happy.

Choucroute garnie à l'Alsacienne - I knew that the first thing I had to eat when I'm in town would be choucroute. It's a dish I've had numerous times elsewhere, but never in the region where it originated... until now. But DAMN! These Alsatian portions are HUGE! I knew I didn't have a prayer of finishing the whole thing, even if I didn't have an entrée.

Saucisse fumée - this was smoky and salty, but very flavorful.

Knack de Strasbourg - the texture was more bouncy than the others.

Saucisse paysanne

Lard fumé - I love that they don't bother with lardon or even petit salé and went straight to the big slice of pork belly that is lard. I totally loved this smoky and flavorful piece of heaven.

Lard salé - the salé was, of course, also delicious... but with limited stomach capacity I'd have to choose the fumé over this.

This was an incredible amount of food. I'm seeing for the first time what "Alsatian portions" look like, and it's staggering. Even the baba au rhum at a neighboring table looked huge, and that comes after a big entrée and a huge main course! I don't think I'll be eating many desserts while I'm in town...

Mr. Christmas had warned me that he chose a place with lots of bongwater, so I let him pick out the wine.

2022 Josmeyer Sylvaner Peau Rouge - nose of Anjou pear with that sweet yet metallic combo. Kinda sweetish on the palate but tapers off. Also a little fizzy on the palate, pretty rounded and easy to drink. After more than half an hour, this became a little bitter on the finish.

I was totally defeated. I had help with finishing the salade choucroute from my entrée, and did get some help with the meats with my main course, but that pile of cooked choucroute and potatoes were just too much. Thankfully I could walk back to the apartment, and if it weren't for the jetlag catching up to me, I would have wanted to walk around town a little more. Until tomorrow, then...

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