Above: Mignardises from L’Atelier du Peintre in Colmar, France

Eating Well Along Alsace’s Route des Vins

One could forgive the average Francophile for quailing at the sight of a traditional Alsatian menu, which might include items like Baeckeoffe (wood-fired meat stew casserole), Fleischschnacka (minced meat stuffing rolled in pasta dough) and Guglhupf (a yeasted bundt cake studded with raisins). For centuries, Alsace bounced back and forth between Germany, which regarded the border as the Vosges Mountains, and France, which was partial to the more easterly Rhine River. The Teutonic influence on the region is still evident, most obviously in Alsace’s half-timbered architecture, Germanic wines and hearty cuisine.

I love the soulful cooking of Alsace, which draws from French and German culinary styles. You’re just as likely to find silky local foie gras as sauerkraut-based choucroute garnie, and baguettes jostle for space with seedy rolls that bear a striking resemblance to the Vollkornbrötchen baked on the other side of the Rhine. Michelin stars twinkle all up and down the Route des Vins, the picturesque road linking a series of well-preserved wine towns, but the numerous cozy and tradition-rooted winstubs (wine taverns) also deserve attention.

In addition to the restaurants below, listed in north-to-south order, I had memorable meals at two of the hotels at which I stayed: Le Chambard in Kaysersberg and La Maison des Têtes in Colmar. Their gourmet restaurants have stylish atmospheres, attentive service and sumptuous cuisine meriting the Michelin recognition they’ve garnered.

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