Award-winning producers and coveted Michelin-star chefs know Alsace as the region for great food and wine.
Alsace, borders countries, Switzerland and Germany but it is 100% French with its well-known restaurants by leading local chefs and of course hard-working wine producers who make up the Alsatian Wine Route.
Michelle Tchea of Chefs Collective takes a long-time traveller’s dream tour of Alsace – a place where historical charm can be found in surrounding towns like Kayersberg, Colmar and big city Strasbourg, but looks to more intimate guide in lesser known towns like Ottrott and Barr.
A food-lovers guide to Alsace for those who have the appetite for great gourmet experiences without breaking the bank – can life get better than this? I think not.
Starting from Switzerland and moving up towards Strasbourg, the perfect foodies weekend escape moves towards Mulhouse.
Yet, before you do that – stop in a little town known as Vieux-Ferrette.
Definitely not in any guide-book, this is where a true-foodie hopes to stumble on when driving past a small village in France.
First stop: Antony Fromagerie.
Unassuming cheese shop where locals all come in for the best cheese in the region (cheese you find in 3-Michelin star restaurants and even served to Presidents), you can taste rare cheeses which have been carefully and craft-fully matured by a father and son duo which started in 1969.
TOP TIP – Come for the 5-course cheese degustation – amazing and one of a kind where you can taste cheeses even locals do not know about.
Second Stop: Restaurant / Hotel Collin, Vieux – Ferrette
If you have room for lunch … and you really must save room for it – go to yet another unassuming place, Restaurant Collin. Perched on a hill, overlooking the very small and modest town of Ferrette, this restaurant is your destination for a nice French experience without all the foo-foo. The chef knows what he is doing, you can order foie-gras or simply get local favourites like the Alsatian choucroute garnie and a really great blueberry tarte.
Top TIP – The Menu of the day is only 10 Euro for a four course meal !
Third-STOP – Cattin Winery
If you need to work off what you ate for lunch, start the Alsatian Wine Tour at Cattin Winery. Owned by the same family, the winery is one of the larger and more well-known wineries. The Wines available include Riesling, Muscat, Gewurztraminer and of course Grand Cru’s which are very unique and specific to Alsace for the elevation and excellent terroir.
Top Tip – Experience a great wine tasting, segway tour of the winery and also a nice lunch of the winery
Fourth-STOP – 5 Terres Hotel and Spa, Barr
The ultimate destination to rest your weary feet and expanded stomach can be found in BARR.
The town is small but full of life with humble bakeries and nearby walking routes which lead up and around the vineyards. The 5 Terres Hotel, although part of the Sofitel M Gallery brand is 100% a great experience without the large chain feel.
The Suite is the best experience – giving guests the Alsatian high-beam living which are found in the unique and historical architecture unique to the region. The hotel as a swimming pool and hamman in a cave – need I say more?
The restaurant, Table Du 5, is fabulous – the signature chicken dish is indulgent when served with foie-gras and the menu boasts other great local ingredients which should all be tried. The sommelier knows what he is doing and offers a great introduction on where you should go visit when you awake in the morning
Fifth STOP – Hostellerie Chateaux, Ottrott
The Hostellerie Chateaux comes with a great reputation to locals as a gastronomic’s dream destination. The Hotel amazingly started out with just a couple of bedrooms and now has turned into a luxury hotel with 66 rooms and excellent restaurants which are lead by Chef Ernest Schaetzel, who’s father started it all.
Now with Chef Ernest and his wife Sabine, as well as the two children, this family-run hotel offers everything you look for in a luxury experience. The hotel rooms come with Jacuzzi and in-house sauna, but if you feel the need to mingle – there are saunas, spas, swimming pools and the entire surrounding Mont Saint Odile to explore.
The restaurant uses local ingredients where possible, Alsace salmon, local cheese, house-made bread ( excellent bread!) and a fabulous pastry chef who really should be enjoyed by ordering dessert first!
Obernai – visit a more bustling town outside of Strasbourg and Colmar and venture to Obernai which is only 8km from Barr.
Restaurant La Cour Alsace is a good recommendation from locals for great local dishes
Bakeries like Thierry Schwartz is also a good stop, as recommended by 5-Terres Hotel in Barr
IMAGES – All images from websites of destinations mentioned or Tourism Alsace Official page
Michelle Tchea is a 4-time bestselling author. Her books include, Building a Perfect Meal, My Little SoHo Kitchen, Signature Dishes (Australia's Best) and Chefs Collective. Her work can be found in other leading luxury travel and food magazines including Travel+Leisure Asia, SMILE, NUVO Magazine and The Telegraph