Discover Benelux, Issue 73, January 2020

Page 31

Discover Benelux  |  France  |  The Best Winter Destinations in 2020

Gastronomy All that activity merits some epicurean reward, and the Alsace region has a wealth of gastronomic delights to tempt you, not least traditional baked goods, where the influence of its Germanic neighbours blends deliciously with French culinary genius. On the sweet side, there are things like pain d’épices, filling but subtle, or kouglof, brioche-like, dotted with raisins and often laced with brandy; and the savoury tarte flambée – a sort of pastry pizza loaded with bacon, onions and cream: you won’t be able to stop at one slice. “As far as food goes, this area is probably most famous for choucroute,” William advises. “Maybe because there are lots of artisan pork products available to chefs and cooks. But I’d tell anyone

coming here to look out for the many different things made with locally grown bilberries and Mirabelle plums – cakes, pastries and the deceptively strong ‘eaux de vie’ that make the perfect end to a meal.” For cheese lovers there’s the famously forthright Munster to experience, among a very long list of others. You can try many such regional specialities in restaurants and cafes in and around Gérardmer, of course, but it’s tempting too, to buy them in local traiteurs, delicatessens and bakeries, and either put together a picnic to be sampled in the fabulous countryside, or enjoyed back in your home-from-home – and decidedly well-equipped – chalet, sitting at ease around the dining table with your comfy bed just ready to fall into when the day’s exertions take their toll.

Colmar and wine “It’s very easy to fill a week, two weeks, or more, within just a few miles of this place,” William enthuses, “but if guests feel the need to venture further, we have Colmar about 90 minutes away by road, famous for its untouched old buildings and beautiful canals; and for wine lovers, the vineyards of Alsace are a must-see. Turckheim is the nearest to us, but there are innumerable producers along a 170-kilometre trail for the true enthusiast!”

Culture too As if that wasn’t enough, William points out that Gérardmer has many cultural cards up its sleeve: “29 January to 2 February will see the 27th Gérardmer International Fantasy Film Festival, and through the year we have events for motorcycle enthusiasts, a Christmas market, big fireworks displays, culinary happenings… and every two years – the next is April 2021 – there’s the Fête des Jonquilles, the daffodil festival, a major thing here in the Vosges.” This is somewhere that’s good for the body, the mind, and the soul – with some great cakes to treat yourself with, too. Chalets de la Trinité is the perfect place at which to rest your head and prepare for another day’s exploration (and indulgence). Web: www.chaletstrinite.com

Issue 73  |  January 2020  |  31