Sunday, June 5, 2016

La ferme auberge du Felsach in Fellering, France

What a view, right?!? Another plan I had for my vacation was to eat at fermes auberges with simple, but excellent local dishes.

My aunt recommended the auberge Felsach, and we couldn't have had a more fun evening.

It started with the fact that we were almost out of gaz and as we climbed the tiny serpentines to the ferme, the range of kilometers predicted by our car dropped by ten kilometers every 2 minutes ... ... At least we knew that the way home would almost be entirely downhill!

The ferme really is in the middle of nowhere, but when we got there, it was full of people! It happened to be the day of the transhumance, and two big groups of people where there to celebrate! 
Etienne Valentin, one of the owners of the ferme however made sure that even our party of four felt welcome and had a great time! It was a pleasure listening to him explain to us the panorama (on a day with good visibility, you can see the peeks of the Swiss Alps!!). And the food was absolutely amazing!

The menu started with a slice of tourte, a meat pie typical for the region which was served with carrot and radish salad. Already last time, I wanted to eat tourte, but we couldn't seem to find the place where I had had it as a child.

Between courses, I had to get up to take some more photos. Unfortunately, it was not warm enough to sit on the balcony-like terrace this time, but you always have to have a reason to return to a place, right?

Fermes auberges are definitely not a place for vegetarians, as all dishes are heavy on meat, but being a meat lover, that ain't a problem for me! The main course was smoked pork chop with farmer's bread, a huge bowl of green salad for everyone to share and a really good potato gratin (the traditional roïgabrageldi where not availabale that day).

Next came the cheese plate: A young Munster, goat cheese and Bergkäse (a more matured type of cheese). They were all made from the milk that is procuded on the ferme! And together with a hearty slice of farmer's bread, made a delicious meal. 

If you look closely, you can see the cattle on the upper left corner, thank you, dear animals, for the milk that was turned into this lovely cheese!

But that wasn't all, non, there was still dessert to be had! We had absolutely delicous vanilla, raspberry and rhum raisin ice cream which is produced by a friend of the auberge-owners down in the valley. It is quite typical that they do not just serve any kind of (industrial) ice cream, but chose just the best dessert to match the quality of the entire menu! 
What you also should try though is the fromage blanc (cottage cheese or Quark) that comes with a layer of sugar and is then drenched in heavy cream and Kirsch! I'm not sure you are allowed to drive after two bites of it though... If we hadn't been in an excellent mood already, we would definitely now have been! The fromage blanc is made fresh every morning and the cream also comes from the ferme! It doesn't get more local than that I guess...

By now, a storm had come up and the visibilty changed within minutes. From inside, it was actually quite cozy to watch how it was raining cats and dogs! That also gave us the chance to start a conversation with some of the people who were also there. We talked both in French, German and Älsässisch, and one of the men said how important it is especially in a region like Alsace, to cherish the European Union! It made me feel really sorry for the Brits because I don't think they will ever understand the European Union. With no actual border regions where people are thankful that after centuries of ongoing wars, peace is there to stay, they never really know what it means to do and live Europe, I guess. 
As an eternal sign of égalité and fraternité, one Monsieur even offered to personally drive us the 200 meters to our car, so that we wouldn't get wet, even though that meant that he had to walk through the rain to first get his car, which meant that he ended up being soaking wet! In the meantime, one of his buddies took out his clarinette and played a little tune for us! I know, by now you think I'm making half of this story up, but it's all true! What a fun evening!

So if you are looking for an absolutely authentic ferme auberge, where the hosts live and breathe hospitality, where you can fraternize with the locals, where the food is simple, but absolutely impeccable, then Felsach is your choice! And if you for some reason are still not convinced, then let me remind you of that view!

copyright of all photos j.