Alsace Sauerkraut (Choucroute d’Alsace in French) is a traditional sauerkraut dish and a staple of Alsace cuisine, made using a natural cabbage fermentation process. It is often paired with red meat, fish, beer or white wine from its native Alsace region, in eastern France along the border with Germany.
Alsace Sauerkraut is a very well-known dish that is emblematic of Alsace culture. In France, the first references to this dish date all the way back to the 15th century. Today it is deeply connected to Alsace regional identity, and many local villages organize fall festivals dedicated to their favorite dish.
Alsace Sauerkraut is characterized by having long, thin strips of fermented cabbage that range from white to light yellow in color. The texture is slightly crunchy for raw varieties and more firm for cooked types, with a slightly tangy taste. It can be served in many different forms, whether raw as a salad or cooked as a side dish. Regardless, it is mainly known in a particular dish where it is served alongside sausages or various other salty meats and, often, potatoes. There are no specific rules for the ingredients in this dish, but overall tradition is respected.
Today, Alsace Sauerkraut is protected by a geographic indication which forbids sauerkraut produced elsewhere from using the name Alsace, thus protecting the ancestral savoir-faire developed over generations. This dish has benefited from protection across France since 2012, and received European Union wide protection earlier this year. In order to benefit from the protection, the sauerkraut must respect strict rules about its production, including a requirement that the cabbages used must be grown and processed in Alsace and must weigh at least 3 kg each, as well as using a natural fermentation process.