Soup Up My Soup

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Choucroute Garnie (Sauerkraut a l’alsacienne)

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Choucroute Garnie1

Last night I had the pleasure of going for dinner at Le Paradis on Bedford Ave. (one of the best values in the city for French food) and ordered Choucroute Garnie, a dish from Alsace Province in France consisting of various assortments of pork nestled in sauerkraut and cooked in wine.

I learned a bit about Alsace from a wine class I took a few years ago. As for wine, their two most notable grape varietals are Riesling and Gewurztraminer, the latter being German for “spice” or something to that effect. That’s it, that’s all I got.

Through war and conflict the region has bounced back and forth between Germany and France four times in the last hundred years or so, presumably finding a permanent home now in the latter. Although, with the way they have been getting along lately at the ECB, you sometimes wonder.

With the use of sauerkraut and various pork products such as sausages, I guess it comes as no surprise, then, that Alsace is so close to Frankfurt. Choucroute Garnie is a staple in Alsace during the wintertime, and given the horrible weather here in Toronto these past few weeks I thought I’d give it a shot tonight and it turned out pretty good. If you decide to make it, ensure you have at least a few delicious mustards on hand; mix and match for best effect. Nothing better than good mustard.

You can find reliable instructions for Choucroute Garnie in Larousse Gastronomique (I found a copy from the 1960s at the Trinity College Annual Book Fair for 5 bucks (!) that has served me quite well), or if you want a quicker version, here. Enjoy with a nice Reisling, or in our case tonight, a good Italian Chianti.


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