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Chroucroute D’Alsace – Sauerkraut from Alsace- or from China?

November 15, 2011

Sauerkraut is a dish that is traditionally consumed in Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Switzerland. Chile sauerkraut is part of the traditional completo Chileno. In France it is a regional specialty of Alsace.

It is composed of a finely cut cabbage and subjected to lactofermentation in brine. The origin of the word to refer to Sauerkraut in German, literally “cabbage acid” altered “cabbage” and “crust.” In France it is derived from the Alsatian dialect. By extension, the term also refers to the dish of sauerkraut cooked with its accompaniment.

History : from the Great Wall of China to the ramparts of Strasbourg

In some ways, history is a geography of time. No wonder that the story of a dish, a recipe for a dive in history. Sauerkraut is no exception.
It all starts with building the Great Wall of China in the third century BC. Remote and isolated towns, the workers feed then a cabbage fermented in brine and preserved. Central food, they give workers strength and toughness, which is not surprising when one knows the vitamin C content of the vegetable.
Green cabbage Huns, Tartars and Mongols

Along the wall, kept in its wooden barrels, it became sour cabbage contributes to the construction of the building. He lends so many virtues such as fighting disease.
The arrival and transmission of the recipe are then in Europe due to invading Huns, Tartars and Mongols. After leading the battle to the foot of the wall, they set out to conquer Europe. The plant and the food with them. Via Austria, Bavaria, they arrive in Alsace and we accept the year 451 as marking the acclimatization of the vegetable in Alsace. Brine, the salt conservation, there is only one step, before adopting, as the turnip, the principles of lacto-fermentation.

You will have to wait until the fifteenth century and texts of the sixteenth century that the presence of sauerkraut on the table monasteries and congregations be certified. In the seventeenth century, sauerkraut also appears under the name “Kompostkrut” (cabbage compost). Literally ‘cabbage acid “in Alsace (Sauerkraut German), the vegetable becomes” crust and cabbage “in French and sauerkraut.

Accompanied by meat and potatoes, sauerkraut and takes the name of the dish and made in the nineteenth century.

In France, the first references to cooking cabbage prepared and date from the fifteenth century, the texts of the sixteenth century attest to the presence at the table of the monasteries. In the seventeenth century, it is found under the name of fun “Kompostkrut” (cabbage compost) 2 and the following century it became widespread in Alsace and part of Lorraine.

Sauerkraut, easy to maintain and rich in vitamin C, is a landmark in the evolution of food, as it improves nutrition and population health in winter. It helped, but not least, improving economic development, weapon of choice against scurvy, the situation of seafarers during long sea voyages.

Without his supporting dishes and taking account of its salt content, sauerkraut is particularly dietary and facilitates digestion.

Where to buy fresh Choucroute in Hong Kong:

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    • Hi, Thanks for your nice comments on French Gourmet’s blog: Food dishes and cuisine all have an History…
      For the moment I contribute to the blog on my own but welcome suggestions. Being a Food importer in Hong Kong, we enjoy to share some information and knowledge about French fine foods.

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