Choucroute Garni: Fancy French Kielbasa & Sauerkraut #Winophiles
French Winophiles (Virtually) Invade Alsace
Alsace is in the far eastern part of France, right on the border with Germany. The region sits between two possible natural borders, the Vosges mountains and the Rhine river. As such, this little region has flip-flopped several times between being claimed by France and by Germany. As you can see, the town names also appear to flip-flop between French and German.
As we saw in Champagne, when you move north, the foods start to look similar to those found in Germany, and less like what one might eat in Provence. Choucroute Garni is a staple food historically liked to Alsace, perfect for our Alsace exploration.
Growing up in an Ohio household with German and Polish roots, kielbasa and sauerkraut was one of the dishes in our normal weekly rotation. I don’t remember Mother Burrows putting juniper berries or cloves in our supper, but what did I know, I was a kid! Anyway, I love the dish and am especially fond of the upgrade using a few more spices and a bit of wine in the meal!
If you forget about national borders, you can see Alsace as the southern extension of the Rhine related wine growing areas in modern day Germany. Warmer and drier climate due to the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, Alsace wines are a bit fuller bodied than their German counterparts, and very often they are bone dry. Like Germany, the region is almost exclusively dedicated to white wines. The classic grapes in Alsace include Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat d’Alsace.
One lucky bonus for Americans is that the varietal wines are labeled with the grape name. Hallelujah! If you like Pinot Blanc, you can look for Pinot Blanc, not some village name you can’t remember. Woo Hoo! But wait a minute, be warned: there are blends made in Alsace, so you may see names such as “Gentil” or “Edelzwicker”, so they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Trimbach Pinot Blanc Alsace AOC 2013 ($19 at South Lyndale Liquors)
Eye: Clear, pale gold color
Nose: Very aromatic, comes out of the glass to meet you. Aromas of ripe pears, white peach. There is something in the nose reminiscent of Riesling, but I can’t quite place it.
Mouth: Dry, good acidity but not tart, full body, nice long finish. Pear & stone fruit flavors carry over from the nose to the taste.
We love kielbasa and sauerkraut even in its simplest form. The French version adds herbs and spices which definitely up the flavor game. Add some spicy mustard, or even a variety of mustards, and wow, you have a lot going on! The Pinot Blanc was very nice with Choucroute Garni. It had the body to balance the rich sausages and sufficient acidity to pair nicely with all that sauerkraut. Perfect.
See What My Fellow French #Winophiles Have Cooked Up
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla is sharing “Pinot Blanc-Braised Duck Over Caramelized Fennel and Mushrooms”
- David of Cooking Chat shares “Chipotle Chicken and Black Beans with a Gewürtz”
- Jill of L’Occasion shares “Wine for a Spring Meal: Camille Braun Auxerrois 2013”
- Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog is sharing “Cross-Cultural Food and Alscace Wine Pairings with Trimbach Riesling”
- Michelle from Rockin Red Blog shares “Rockin Alsace Riesling with #Winophiles”
- Wendy from A Day 0n the Life of a Farm tempts us with “Gewurztraminer with Fried Chicken”
- Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva is sharing “The Versatile Wines of Alsace”
Join us Saturday, February 18th for a live Twitter Chat at 10 am CST using #Winophiles.
Upcoming #Winophiles events: Loire Valley Tour
- March 19th – Pays/Nantes
- April 16th – Anjou/Saumer
- May 21st – Touraine/Vouvray
- June 18th – Upper Loire – Cheverny, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume/Pouilly-Sur-Loire
Adapted from a Williams-Sonoma recipe. You can use a wide variety of sausages, depending on your preference. If the sausage is uncooked, add it to the pot earlier. If it’s cooked as the kielbasa, you can just add it in the last 30 minutes. Ingredients Instructions
Adapted from a Williams-Sonoma recipe. You can use a wide variety of sausages, depending on your preference. If the sausage is uncooked, add it to the pot earlier. If it’s cooked as the kielbasa, you can just add it in the last 30 minutes.