Farm-inns: A Gourmet Journey into the heart of Alsatian Traditions


Last Updated on 02/09/2022 by Alfred

Discover the world of farm-ins for a gourmet journey in the middle of nature on the heights of the Munster Valley!

Experience the magic of Christmas through the famous Alsatian markets. Stroll through the flowery streets of Riquewihr. Climb to the castle of Haut-Kœnigsbourg.

Discover the famous wine route or stroll between the bridges and canals of Little Venice in Colmar. So many experiences that will make a stay spent in Alsace unique.

But above all, Alsace is famous for its gastronomy. Taste its famous sauerkraut and flambé pies. Also, discover the world of farm-ins!

Let yourself go away to a gourmet paradise in the middle of nature. But beware, you will certainly not get by without a few extra pounds…

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Farm-inns: a gourmet and traditional journey

Imagine an exceptional view, accompanied by a delicious meal based on local products… A unique and gourmet experience offered by the famous Alsatian farm-inns.

Alsace has a history of traditions and customs dating back more than ten centuries.

A tradition rooted in Alsatian history.

In the past, the peasants of the valleys mounted their herds on small summer farms. Planted on the Vosges ridges’ high stubble to make the animals enjoy the fragrant pastures.

These mountain farmers are called the marcaires, the word is taken from the Alsatian dialect “Malker“: the one that milks cows.

The Vosgienne is the emblematic breed of the region. The milk from this area is perfect for the manufacture of the famous Munster cheese.

Visitors finally venture to the heights after the creation of Vosges Club in 1872. Nowadays, hiking trails have been developed a lot.

Therefore, the marcaires took the habit of receiving these hikers by offering them drinks and products of the farm (bacon, cheese, etc.).

This is how hospitality and the beginnings of the farm-inn concept developed.

Today, the Alsatian marcaires perpetuate this tradition of mounting their herd in the mountains. In summer through the famous transhumance.

The cows and their beautiful bells are cleaned, brushed, and trimmed for this decisive moment.

Nowadays, farm inns have grown, developed, and modernized. Sometimes even offering to live a complete experience, spending the night there. So, let yourself loose on this gourmet and authentic journey!

And what’s on the menu?

All farm-ins have their specialties. But the one that you will find almost everywhere which puts everyone in agreement is the famous marcaire meal.

Your taste buds are not likely to forget the unique and melting taste of Roïgabrageldis. It is the flagship element of the menu. This specialty is only made by the Alsatians. The recipe: potatoes cooked for several hours in the pot to the smothered.

But be careful; you have more interest in being very greedy. These potatoes, with smoked collar and salad, are only the menu’s main course.

Before that, they will give you an excellent homemade soup followed by the traditional salad pie. It’s a dish of cooked meat served in an envelope of pie dough.

And before dessert, it’s time to taste cheeses from the farm. Bargkass or Tomme des Vosges will delight cheese lovers.

Finally, do not miss the Siaskass! This traditional dessert consists of the fresh cheese of the day. Drizzled with Kirsch brandy, cream, and sugar. Or, have a taste of cottage cheese pie, blueberry pie, or other seasonal fruits.

The ridge route: breathtaking panoramas

But to be able to find these famous farm-ins, you will have to take a little height … Direction the road of the ridges! Prepare your lungs for a breath of fresh air.

An exceptional natural area…

Along its 73 km, the Ridge Road is accessible from the Munster Valley. You gently leave the valley from pin to pin, which gives way to a parade of breathtaking panoramas.

Welcome to the heart of the Vosges Massif, the boundary between the Alsace plain and the Lorraine plateau.

This natural paradise is full of wonders: lawns of high stubble, forests, peat bogs, high-altitude lakes… A precious heritage that is protected and is part of the Ballons des Vosges Regional, Natural Park.

… possible to explore in all seasons

Outdoor enthusiasts won’t know where to start. In summer and winter, the massif does not lack charms and activities. Hiking, climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, skiing, snowshoeing… so many ways to discover these beautiful mountains.

If you are lucky enough to come in autumn, you can discover a landscape covered with shimmering colors.

The most impressive thing is when the mist takes possession of the valleys. While the towns and villages are buried under the fog, the sun shines with a thousand lights at the top of the mountains.

It is then an ocean of clouds before your eyes, a magical spectacle. If the sky is clear enough, you will even have the chance to see the curve of the Alps in the distance.

See the chamois in freedom on the Massif des Vosges. This place attracts many passionate hikers searching for the most beautiful shot. Today very present on the massif, the chamois is easy to observe around the summit of the Hohneck.

Our advice is to put all the chances on your side and go there early in the morning or at sunset!

After a nice hike on the ridges, what could be better than a good traditional meal in a farm inn? No matter which path you choose, you won’t be able to miss them! Yet, some of them are sometimes well hidden.

Even if the farm inns are numerous and all equal, we have concocted a beautiful selection to discover. So, tie your stomachs and let yourself loose into this gourmet universe!

Le Kahlenwasen

From Munster, head to the Petit Ballon to discover the Farm-Inn of Kahlenwasen. The Lochert family welcomes you all summer in an idyllic setting in the middle of the mountain. Here you can enjoy the marcaire meal and other delicacies such as fondue with broth.

You can even buy products from the farm (cheese, cold cuts) to make delicious dishes at home.

And if you want to push the experience to its peak, get ready to spend the night at Kahlenwasen. In the unusual and authentic style, difficult to do better. Imagine instead: waking up with a breathtaking panorama.

Nothing will come against the tranquility of the mountain except the sweet melody of the bells hanging from the necks of the cows.

The Auberge du Schantzwasen and the reindeer farm

The Auberge du Schantzwasen welcomes you in the heart of the Massif du Tanet, summer and winter! The hostel is located in the middle of the Tanet resort: a relatively small ski area, which makes it all its charm.

Relax and enjoy on the terrace of the Schantzwasen. Also, witness the breathtaking panorama of the Munster Valley, the Black Forest, and the Swiss Alps.

Besides, you can spend the night at the hostel in mountain-style accommodation for an authentic stay!

The typical dishes are revisited on the kitchen side to offer you refined, precise, and regional dishes.

For example, you can enjoy the crispy Strudel in Munster. It’s a delight composed of Roïgabrageldi, bacon, caraway, grated apple, and Munster, wrapped in a brick leaf.

Also, traditional dishes are served, such as Fleischschnaka or Spaetzle accompanied by meat.

To make your experience in Schantzwasen unforgettable, head to the reindeer farm! Located near the hostel, it invites you on an educational journey against these mythical animals. Depending on the season, the breeding amounts to 30 to 40 reindeer that evolve in a natural area dedicated to them. Are we in Alsace or Lapland?

The Schupferen Hostel

The Auberge du Schupferen is a treasure that we would almost like to hide… should we already find it! Like the Schantzwasen, it is nestled in the heart of the Tanet Massif. Accessible only by skiing or snowshoeing in winter, a forest path leads you there in summer.

Unlike other farm inns that have chosen to expand and modernize. The Schupferen family is careful to preserve its tranquility in an exceptional setting that has not moved for decades. A small hostel where it is better to book in advance, to have the chance to enjoy simply delicious food.

On the menu are two dishes to choose from. The traditional Fleischschnakas are often offered. Like coarse beef salt, other meats are served on a vast platter accompanied by vegetables and potatoes.

The quality of the products turns out to be grandiose. For a more than reasonable price (no more than 13 € for a very hearty dish).

But above all, our heart is racing for the “hot goat” entry. And for a good reason, the cheese used is that of the house. We can not make more excellent and more local. If you come at the right time, you can even meet these goats that roam freely to return to the hostel at the end of the day.

The Steinwasen

To find the Farm-Inn of Steinwasen, you will have to take a small stony path from the ridge road. The ideal is to get there on foot after a beautiful hike that will give you the appetite to devour.

In a warm and authentic setting, the Matter family welcomes you all summer in their farm-inn and its breathtaking view of the great valley of Munster. Marcaire meal, peasant omelet, charcuterie plate, Munster and Bargkass from the farm, Siaskass… enough to leave with a full stomach!

A little desire for something unusual? Book your night in the accommodation offered by the farm: a trailer overlooking the valley. Wake up quietly in this exceptional setting, taking the time to breathe the pure mountain air.

To finish this unique experience, a farm breakfast will be copiously served. You can even enjoy it in the sun on the terrace and its panoramic view with a bit of luck!

So, have all these traditions made your mouth water? Know a little more about the Alsatian specialties. It is possible to taste in the middle of the mountain in the farm inns. A step not to be missed during a stay in Alsace!

Alfred

Alfred is the author behind the Travelvibe travel blog and is always searching for the quieter, less-visited corners of the world.

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