Monday, December 15, 2014

L'Alsace Fete Noel à la Gare de l'Est

If you love Alsacien food the Marche de Noel a la Gare de L'Est is a must do in Paris during the holiday season.

Hop on the 47 bus and you're there.

All the trains go off to points east like Nancy and Strasbourg so this part of Paris has names like Hotel Lorraine, boulevard de Strasbourg.

*One warning. Unlike most Christmas markets in Paris (usually loaded with holiday snack foods like spiced wine, crepes, hot chestnuts) you will find none of that here. Fortunately the 47 bus drops you just in front of traiteur Schmid, one of the best Alsacien epiceries in town. I went in and browsed.

Perfect kugelhopfs. Every kind of sausage, choucroute, you name it.
They have the very traditional 'Le Mannele Alsacien' made during the holidays of milk bread and served to French children since the 13th century with bowls of hot chocolate.

Naturally I bought nothing at delicious Schmid, saving myself for the Noel Market. Ha!

Forewarned is forearmed. DRESS WARMLY! No heating inside the tent of authentic Alsacien purveyors. Of course Saturday was the day I decided to not wear so many layers. Ha again.

Pain d'epice in great heaping loaves. My favorite French cookie is the Alsacien Etoiles a la Cannelle. Cinnamon is a rarity in French cuisine but not in Alsace. These are loaded with it and almond flour but not gluten free.

Massive hunks of smoked country bacon. Very tempting since I grew up on daily BLTs as a kid.

I fell hard for the sets of Choucroute Garni. I just need a dash of Riesling wine to throw in. The perfect warming winter dinner.

Once you start it's hard to stop. I got some of these potato roesti. Gone, gone gone.

I'm a big fan of Alsacian 'Pizza' / Flammkuchen also called tarte Flambee. Thin, brittle, fromage blanc with lardon and onions.

There may have been no snack food but there was plenty of excellent wine to taste freely. All the wines Alsace is noted for: Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinots, eau de vies.

Adorable wine carriers create an Alsacien village.

If you've ever visited Alsace you'll know many of those villages are toy towns.

There's a folksy, cutsey look to the life in Alsace.

The graphic artist, Hansi (1873-1951) captured the iconic folksy Alsatian style to perfection.It's not just for the kiddies. This drape was on a very fine purveyor of foie gras. His logo bore a Hansi little kid. Hansi was active politically during the wars against the Germans and still revered.

I visited the Hansi museum in Riquewihr a while back and loved it. Altogether this is a wonderful Christmas market. But get some hearty snacks at Schmid before visiting.

You could bring a snack from home. Do you know the easy hack for Mandarins/Clemintines? A simple slice on both ends and one cut in the middle = a lovely 'caterpillar' effect with no messy peels.
You can still give yourself or another Paris Sketch letters in time to arrive before the Holidays by the way :)


365 Dresses said...

I love the wine boxes like houses! Too cute!!

Parisbreakfasts said...

I know...I wondered if you could just buy the boxes.

Geri said...

Paris has so many layers! I love Reisling, BLTs and can't wait to try the clementine hack! Those wine carriers are to die for!

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh how amazing! I would definitely schlep a box of the 3 wines to Canada and one of those stuffed dough boy/gingerbread men also. I can just picture the little guy sitting on my couch. thanks for sharing this create photos Carol!

Parisbreakfasts said...

Should I get the little guy as a friend for Bear?

annechung said...

God, I love this. I've been to the Alsatian area and I loved that too. Kugelhopf to you too.

Barbara Lilian in France said...

Loved seeing the Alsace traditional food for the festive season. I'm off to Denmark in a few days. so really looking forward to their traditional festive food and decorations. Have a wonderful Christmas.

La Table De Nana said...

I would like shopping ..there.
It would be a little Christmas dream expédition.
Your watercolors..make the whole gtrip more charming!

Giulia said...

Oh you've made me homesick for Alsace! But thank you, Carol. xoxoxo Susan

Joyfulartist said...

Thanks for the clementine tip! You are always teaching us something! Your photos and paintings are beautiful and make me hungry.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Did you live there for a while?
What a treat! Like living in a dollhouse.
I must go back..

Angelina B said...

Mandarin hack is a life saver!
I don't eat enough fruit in Winter.

Nikon said...

Beautiful photos as always Carol, and a great opening watercolor.
My favorite shot was the bacon photo :) That's a lot of food!

Madonna/aka/Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

This was so much fun. I recently had some Gewürztraminer. I was not unhappy. And, I have some clementines I need to give your little technique a try.


Parisbreakfasts said...

Maybe it works with lemons too?

Jill@MadAboutMacarons said...

Ooh, perfect timing, Carol. I adore everything from Alsace at this time of year when it's cold outside. Good tip for the woollies! Now I'm hungry for flammekuechen - love them at lunchtime since they're so light and then can enjoy an Ispahan pastry with some Gewurtraminer (rose, lychee flavours, yum) later. These diary entry watercolours are lovely!

MaggieC said...

Wish I could get my hands on the carriers. I really want to go to France, it's been way too long.

Cara Black said...

Potato roesti and pain d'epice make my mouth water. thanks for a lovely post and tip on Schmid!

Anne said...

Thanks for the post about the market at Gare de l est... I ll go tomorrow after the school to buy thinks for my father!

Sally said...

This will be a Christmas special for my sister and me! Our grandfather was from Ville, Alsace. We have walked the cemetery, read about his family in old records, etc. Isn't it a beautiful area? We have sent Hansi holiday cards. Thanks, Carol!

sukicart said...

Would love the potato roesti & thought Alsace was adorable

Carolyn said...

I have never been to the Alsace part of France but am thinking I need to! Love the watercolors....the bacon looks amazing....and I think you need to buy one of those little girl dolls in red as a companion to Bear!!!!

Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

Those little cinnamon stars (if they are cinnamon) look exactly like the tea cookies made by our own Swiss bakery emigre....which sent me to the map to see where Alsace and Switzerland are and to see if they might share some! I hope yours were as good as ours. I hope you didn't let them sit around too long getting stale while you painted. I hope you don't need gluten free. I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Jeanie said...

So very far behind in wishing you a merry Christmas but still reveling in the holiday with your wonderful posts!

I hope it was very merry -- and that your new year will be divinely happy!