Culinary and gastronomic specialities
Alsatian crafts & Christmas treats
Some Christmas specialties :
Alsatian’s Christmas spices
- Anise perfumes two varieties of typically Alsatian biscuits and flavours the hot wine.
- Cinnamon, one of the oldest spices, is used grounded in gingerbread. It also flavours the hot wine.
- Cloves are usually used in gingerbread and hot wine. Formerly, people fixed cloves on oranges and hung them to the Christmas tree.
As winter approaches, Alsace mulled wine is an essential "ritual". White wine or Pinot noir is warmed without coming to boiling point, and flavoured with spices (clove, cinnamon, star anise), lemon and orange and finished with a spoonful of honey before drinking.
The Colmar Christmas markets will have several non-alcoholic "variants" on offer: mulled apple juice, orange juice and strawberry juice.
Gingerbread (Pain d'épices)
A large variety of gingerbreads exist in Alsace; these are manufactured according to the traditional recipes of yesteryear: gingerbread tongues glazed with icing sugar or chocolate and decorated with a traditional Christmas image, tender gingerbread with local honey or gingerbread filled with chocolate, or almond cream.
It is a tradition in Alsace to decorate Christmas trees with gingerbread.
Antique moulds are currently very sought after by collectors ...
A veritable rite for the Alsatian identity, the confection of these little, variously shaped Christmas biscuits is specific to the Festive Season.
There are several dozen varieties in various flavours: cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, almond, hazelnut, anise, coconut, and walnut: Vanilla and chocolate draughtsboards and spirals, anise-flavoured biscuits, vanilla crescents, almond biscuits, spicy hearts, cinnamon stars, Linz biscuits, macaroons, shortbreads… just to name a few.
Fine, all butter Brioche, in the shape of a little man, which you can find from the beginning of December and which is often eaten accompanied with tasty hot chocolate…
Traditionally, these manalas were the delight of the family celebration of the feast of St Nicholas (on 6 December).
Bread with dried fruits (apples, figs, apricots, prunes, pears, raisins…) macerated in kirsch.
Christmas Brioche with candied fruits and cinnamon, filled with almond cream, in form a bread and covered with icing sugar.