A beer by the riverside in the peace of Strasbourg
Strasbourg is considered the “capital of Europe”, as it is the official site of the European Parliament and, therefore, is always full of European deputies.
But, in the breaks between sessions, the deputies like relaxing, strolling the streets of the old town, and enjoy stopping at one of the many pubs overlooking the squares, savouring, probably, a Fischer beer.
In Alsace, whose principal city is Strasbourg, the most renowned beers of all France are produced and there are the most famous pubs. It is not by chance, actually, that the first association of city brewers dates back to 1268.
Strasbourg is a city with a very ancient history. Its origins date back to the military campaigns by Julius Caesar in Gallia. The city was long contended by two different cultures, the French and the German, but also influenced by them and today is an excellent destination from many points of view: cultural richness, artistic and gastronomic fusion, above all.
The old town, dominated by the spectacular cathedral of Notre Dame, and full of houses built in the most pure Alsatian style, was declared a UNESCO Human Heritage site in 1988.
Overlooking one of the channels that flow slowly in Strasbourg, is the renowned restaurant Au Pont Saint Martin, one of the most famous cuisines of Strasbourg. There you must try the bäeckeoffe, a very traditional dish prepared with mixed meats let to marinade for one day in white wine with onion, garlic and various spices. Meats are then put in an earthenware pan with potatoes and onions, and finally covered by dough made of wheat flour and water. An intense and voluptuous dish to pair with the Fischer Tradition. The brasserie Fischer is another of the “monuments” of the town. It was opened for the first time in 1821 by Jean Fischer, in the very heart of the city, but then, in 1854, moved to the near village of Schiltigheim, with a larger pub. Its specialities have always been paired with Alsatian food and it’s easy to find almost everywhere its famous symbol: a child seated on a barrel, drinking enthusiastically from a beer mug. A very good alternative to savour a beer is the “Académie de la bière”, a little “temple of beer” where, besides the Fischer Tradition, it is possible to find also the quite as famous Adelscott, the whisky malt beer very appreciated also in Italy.
But, if the Fischer is the “liquid” symbol of the city, the “solid one” is the foie gras, born in Strasburgo in 1762 where the military governor of Alsace ordered to his cook, Jean-Pierre Clause, a special dish to amaze his guests. The “foie gras à l’alsacienne” soon became one of the favourite dishes of the court of Versailles and then reached global diffusion. This and thousands more are the perfumes and tastes of Strasbourg: think, for example, of gingerbreads, flambé tart (another fantastic pairing with beer), choucroute, more known by Italians as sauerkraut; and paté, charcuterie, cheeses and a lot more delicacies. As almost to faint away...
A boat tour, a visit to the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, a stroll in the Orangerie Park and a hedonistic indulgence at the Chocolate Museum, should all be considered a must-see for a weekend in Strasbourg. But it seems that the real fascination of the city consists in its peace, which makes it possible the reappropriation of our time which is flowing at the right velocity. And that’s saying a lot…