Top 6 Souvenirs To Buy In Strasbourg

Strasbourg, the capital of France’s Alsace region, is situated along the Rhine River in France.

 

The oldest part of Strasbourg is a protected UNESCO World Heritage site and very enchanting!

 

Strasbourg changed hands several times between France and Germany throughout centuries, so the Alsatian cuisine incorporates the best of French and German culinary tradition. This also gave the city a unique bicultural feel.

 

It’s quaint and charming, but since it’s also the formal seat of the European Parliament, it’s quite cosmopolitan.

 

Food, history, wine, charm, European hub, Christmas paradise… Who could resist visiting? Below are some mementos we suggest you get when you visit Strasbourg.

 

1. Stork Plush Toy

Photo by Pavlo Petrenko on Foter.com

Photo by Pavlo Petrenko on Foter.com

 

For many centuries, these white birds have been a yearly presence in Strasbourg (and the rest of Alsace). They are prominent in the Alsatian folklore and are thought to be symbols of happiness and faithfulness and bring fertility and good luck.

 

During summer they are perched atop of rooftops, and during winter they migrate to warmer countries – sometimes as far away as South Africa! In the early spring, the male stork returns to reclaim and repair the nest.

 

In the 1970s, the stork population in Alsace was seriously threatened, but in 1983 France started a program to repopulate the storks in Alsace, and it has been very successful.

 

In Strasbourg, the Parc de l’Orangerie has a center for reproduction, repopulation, and wintering where you can see storks up close.

 

You can find stork plush/soft toys all around Strasbourg.  The stork is also featured on posters, postcards, art, tableware, textiles etc…

 

Click here to buy

 

2. Kugelhopf Cake

Photo by A. Strakey on Foter.com

Photo by A. Strakey on Foter.com

 

Undoubtedly Alsace’s most famous cake, Kugelhopf is also baked in neighboring Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

 

A lot of recipes feature a ‘soft’ variant of the cake: spongy and moist. The Alsatian tradition is to eat a much ‘dryer’ Kugelhopf, which some locals then dip in their morning coffee.

 

The traditional Kugelhopf mould is ceramic, but you can also use a silicon one or a plastic one. The ceramic Kugelhopf mould is also a great souvenir/gift idea!

 

Click here to buy

 

3. Miniature Alsatian House

Photo by Alessandro Caproni on Flickr.com

Photo by Alessandro Caproni on Flickr.com

 

Alsace boasts a remarkable architectural legacy and one that is instantly recognizable. The houses are timber-framed and generally characterized by flat clay tiles.

 

This type of construction is also seen in adjacent parts of Germany. It can also be found in other parts of France, but it’s especially abundant in Alsace due to its proximity to Vosges (where wood can be found).

 

Find miniature Alsatian houses at Artal Souvenirs. You can also find wooden and ceramic miniatures at markets around the city.

 

Click here to buy

 

4. Alsatian Pottery

By Arnaud 25 (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

By Arnaud 25 (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

 

Alsace has a thousand year long tradition in pottery. In 1850, thirty villages in the Lower-Rhein area were in the business of making pottery. Nowadays, only two most important villages remain: Betschdorf and Soufflenheim.

 

If you can’t make time to visit them, go to Poterie d’Alsace – Alsatian Pottery, a shop right in the center of the Old Town, at 3 rue des Frères, right behind the big cathedral.

 

Traditional Alsatian pottery is both stoneware (le grès au sel, sometimes also called sandstone pottery) and earthenware (la terre cuite or terracotta). Stoneware is usually used for cookware and earthenware for preserving food.

 

The earthenware items in Alsatian tradition can be plain-painted or have patterns such as polka dots, flowers or circles. The two most well-known products are the oval terrine (or Baeckehof) and the Kugelhopf cake mould (mentioned above).

 

Make sure the pottery you get is actually from the region, as there are many cheap knock-offs being sold.

 

5. Alsatian Wine

By Andreea , via Wikimedia Commons

By Andreea, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Alsace is known for its vineyards. Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris… If you’re a white wine drinker, you’re in the right place.

 

Since Alsace used to be Elsass and part of Germany, the local surnames and village names reflect this. However, unlike in Germany, traditional winemaking philosophy was to ferment all of the grape sugar into alcohol, resulting in dry, full-bodied wines.

 

The wines of Alsace are varietals, named after the grapes. And the wines taste like nothing made anywhere else in France. This is both due to the specific climate and the cultural and historical influences throughout the years.

 

No region in France has a higher percentage of organic or biodynamic growers than Alsace. Yet, Alsatian wine is heavily underestimated.

 

Buy a bottle of Alsatian wine and bring home to pop open for a special occasion. Here are some suggestions.

 

Click here to buy

 

6. Pain d’Epices

By Frédérique Voisin-Demery on Flickr.com

By Frédérique Voisin-Demery on Flickr.com

 

Although the commercial production of pain d’épices is a specialty of another French town (Reims), this spice bread (literal translation) is very famous in Alsace.

 

Strasbourg is famous for its Christmas market, with streets festively decorated and illuminated. If you have the chance, visit Strasbourg in December, despite the tourists, and if not – pain d’épices is your next best bet!

 

This bread was very popular at the French court in the XVth century. Agnès Sorel, a favorite of Charles VII, was crazy about it, as well as Margaret, the sister of Frances 1st.

 

It is usually made of flour, honey, water, eggs, cinnamon, clove. nutmeg, orange peel. Some recipes use brown sugar.

 

In Alsace, there is even a Museum on Pain d’épices in Alsace, called Musée du Pain d’épice et de l’art populaire Alsacien.

 

In Strasbourg, visit Mireille Oster and get some pain d’épices to take home.

 

Click here to buy

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