You've come for the food, right? Alsace dishes up a unique blend of Franco-German cuisine, which goes down a treat with locally produced vins (notably pinots and rieslings) in its wood-panelled winstubs (wine taverns). Gourmets are also in their element: the region has one of France’s highest per capita concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants. Food markets, bistros serving good-value menus du jour and indulgent patisseries are plentiful.
Whether you’re planning to get behind the wheel for a morning or pedal leisurely through the vineyards for a week, the Route des Vins d’Alsace (Alsace Wine Route) beckons. Swinging 170km from Marlenheim to Thann, the road is like a ‘greatest hits’ of Alsace, with its pastoral views, welcoming caves (wine cellars) and half-timbered villages. Go to www.route-des-vins-alsace.com to start planning.
Fancy some cheese to go with that wine? Head to Munster to taste the pungent, creamy fromage first made by Benedictine monks. The Munster tourist office can arrange farmstays and dairy tours.
Having polished off the cheese and wine, it would be rude not to visit the chocolates, not to mention the gingerbread and macarons, on the Route du Chocolat et des Douceurs d’Alsace (www.routeduchocolat.fr), 200km of mmm…
Glorious Food & Wine
It's got ridiculously cute villages and luscious vineyards, but Alsace doesn’t just look good enough to eat. The Alsatians dine with French finesse and drink with German gusto, with every corner leading to scrumptious surprises: shops doing a brisk trade in homemade gingerbread and macarons; entire regions devoted to cheese; mile upon glorious mile of country lanes given over to the life-sweetening pleasures of wine and chocolate. So take the lead of locals: go forth and indulge!
Kick-start your gourmet adventure by visiting www.tourisme-alsace.com and www.route-des-vins-alsace.com. Local tourist boards can help you fine-tune your visit, be it a stay on a working dairy farm, a chocolate-tasting road trip or a dégustation (tasting) of grands crus (the official designation for superior or highest-grade French wines).