Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flammekeuche and Christmas

Ever since we've been living in Germany we've been told that we needed to try Flammekueche. Since it's all about the food, well, sign me up! :) From Wikipedia:

"Tarte flambée is an Alsatian dish composed of thin bread dough rolled out in a circle or a rectangle, which is covered by crème fraîche, onions and bacon. It is one of the most famous gastronomical specialties of the region.

Depending on the area of the region, this dish can be called in Alsatian flammekueche, in German Flammkuchen, or, in French, tarte flambée.

Legend says that the creators of this dish were those Alsatian farmers who used to bake bread once a week. A tarte flambée would be used to test the heat of their wood-fired ovens. At the peak of its temperature, the oven would also have the ideal conditions in which to bake a tarte flambée. The embers would be pushed aside to make room for the tarte in the middle of the oven, and the intense heat would be able to bake it in 1 or 2 minutes. The crust that forms the border of the tarte flambée would be nearly burned by the flames.

The name itself comes from this method of baking, the English translation of the original Alsatian name meaning 'baked in the flames'."

There is a recipe here::

Back in August we went to the Kaiserslautern Medieval Fest. It was okay. But the great thing was finally getting to try Flammekueche. Here are a couple of pics:



And, yes, this is leading somewhere. ;) Yesterday, my neighbor Jen and I went to a couple of German stores that I hadn't been to yet. The second store is Kaufland. It's sort of like a Super K-Mart b/c it has groceries. As we were perusing the chocolate I glanced at the refrigerated section and saw Flammekueche. I decided to buy one and try it. And it had nothing to do w/ an easy dinner....nothing at all. ;)


It turned out really good! Not as good as the one at the festival, but the vendors there were cooking them up fresh! Can't beat that. But I will definitely buy more of these. ;)

Now, for our Christmas plans. The last few years everytime I would talk about planning a trip the plans would fall through for some reason or another. My husband's job has to take precedence and I'm okay with that...I'm army wife, it's what I do. :) But I didn't want to live in Germany for 3 years and not see Europe. So, this time I didn't really talk about our plans. But now I feel safe b/c we booked our trip last night and got the confirmation email this morning!!!! The only thing that could happen now would be if there weren't enough people booked for the tour. So, cross your fingers for me. Our itinerary:

Early morning departure - around noon we reach the Swiss Alps and enjoy the splendid alpine scenery. Entering the Lake district we will view Lake Lugano on the Swiss side, then as we enter Italy we pass the majestic Lake Como. Early evening we will arrive in Pisa, check into our comfortable hotel and stay the night.

After breakfast we will visit the “Field of Miracles,” site of the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa. Time to shop for souvenirs before we head south to Rome along the coastal highway. Upon arrival in the Eternal City, we will first visit the Catacombs, early evidence of Christianity. After hotel check-in, there will be time to relax until we depart for our festive Christmas Eve Dinner (€35).

Merry Christmas! After breakfast, we are off to St Peter’s Basilica for the Christmas Mass, followed by the official Papal Blessing out on St Peter’s Square. It is broadcast around the world - and being there is a memory to cherish forever! In the afternoon, our city sightseeing tour will include magnificent sights: the Coliseum, where gladiators fought for their lives; the Forum, once the center of the Roman Empire; the Pantheon, a temple to all gods; and of course the Trevi Fountain (don’t forget to toss a coin).

Today join our full day excursion (€69)) to the Gulf of Naples where we first visit Pompeii, which was buried by erupting Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD. The secrets of ancient Roman life are revealed by our local guide as we tour the excavations. We then drive to Sorrento (great for shopping), a famed resort town located on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Return to Rome in the evening.

In the morning, join our tour of the Vatican (€39). Together with a local art expert you will see the treasures of the Vatican Museum. Admire Michelangelo's frescos in the Sistine Chapel and marvel at his “Pieta” during our tour of St Peter’s Basilica. After lunch - “Arriverderci Roma” we drive north into the hills of Tuscany to Florence. Tonight, savour “la dolce vita” at our festive Tuscan dinner with music and wine (€35).

First, we view Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia Museum. Our walking tour of Florence features the impressive Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Gates of Paradise, Piazza Signoria and the Santa Croce church (tomb of Michelangelo). Explore and shop for leather and gold. Early afternoon, we depart for Germany where we arrive at midnight.

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