Behind the French Menu gives a tasty background to French cuisine, French dishes, how they are made and how they should be served.
Where there is a story behind a dish's creation and
that story may aid the diner's enjoyment then that will also be included. Bon appétit!
tarte flambée is a rolled out, very thin, pâte à pain, bread
dough, covered with crème fraîcheand a soft white cheese, usually this is a local cheese called bibeleskaes, to this are
added thinly sliced onions and lardons, smoked or fried bacon bits. All baked
in an oven for about ten minutes and served.
flambée, often offered in large and small sizes, makes an excellent entrée,
the French first course, when shared between two, or a plat, the French
main course. The dessert versions of tarte
flambée come with fruit, often with a taste of a strong eau-de vie, a
fruit brandy, and some may have ice cream added just before serving. Tarte flambée remains the name used in
English as there is no other accepted English name.
A sign for “all you can eat” tarte flambée menu.
Photograph courtesy of picnic
Tarte flambée on the menu.
outside restaurants offering tarte flambée may offer Tarte Flambée
Salée ou Sucrée, that indicates that both savory and sweet versions are available.
The options are endless, but the favorites are noted below:
Tarte Flambée Classic,
Nature, Traditionnelle or à l’Ancienne -
All these names represent a tarte flambée made with the traditional
recipe noted at the beginning of this
Tarte Flambée au Magret
de Canard Fumé - A traditional tarteflambée
with added slices of smoked duck breast.
Tartes Flambées au
Feu de Bois -
Tarte flambées cooked
in a traditional wood burning oven.
Tarte Flambée aux Bananes Flambée au Rhum – A banana dessert tarteflambéed with rum. Dessert versions of tarte flambée were
created much later than the traditional versions; they came with the increase in
tourism and the tourists also brought
with them a taste for restaurant theatre.
The tarte flambée dessert versions now often include a brandy or an
eau-de-vie, which will be, flambéed, set alight in front of the diner; shades of Crepe
For the citizens of
the regions of Alsace and Lorraine, this plum is a native son.
The quetche is a mauve to almost black plum has fragrant and sweet
yellow flesh; it is oval shaped often with a almost pointed ends; its nearest
UK relation is the damson plum which is not as sweet. In season, these plums are on sale all over France,
and out of season you may request, for a digestif, the 40% alcohol quetsche
A quetsche eau-de-vie
Photograph courtesy ofsashafatcat
Like all other plums
this plumb’s origin is Asian, and this one, again like many other fruits, reached
France, Germany, Spain and the UK with the Romans. The quetsche plum is, in fact,a German cross and in Germany is called a zwetsche.
For more about eau, water, and eau-de-vies
in France see the post:
Tarte Flambée : Formule à partir de 6 personnes par table: Tartes Flambées à Volonté Salée,
Sucrée et Salade à Volonté.This is an all you can eat serving made for a
group of six or more, with all the optional extras included; who can ask for anything more! The offer is accompanied
by an all you can eat salad. NB..The salads served with tarte flambées
are usually mixed green salads so, unless noted on the menu, do not expect anything
Sign advertising tarte flambée
Photograph courtesy of notfrancoise
Tarte Flambée Gratinée à l'Emmental/ Gruyère/Munster. Salade Verte Mélangée
(supplément par personne) – A traditional tarte flambée baked with
added French Emmental, Gruyere or Munster cheese. A green salad is offered with
a per person surcharge.
Tarte Flambée Moitié/Moitié ... C'est vous qui composez- Moitié-moitié means half and half; and no, this tarte flambé is not made with
that American coffee cream! Here, moitié-moitié is on the
menu for a tarte flambée made to your order with two different
additions. Moitié-moitié is also what you say, in French, when you ask
for two different dishes to be split between two diners; each diner having one
half of the other's dish.
The wine to accompany your tarte flambée.
semi-dry Alsatian white wine with your tarte flambée and you may enjoy
the perfect light Alsatian lunch or dinner. Choose a white, semi-dry Alsatian Gewürztraminer
or a white semi-dry Alsatian Pinot Gris and you will not regret it.
Pinot Gris Louis Sipp
Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauville 2007
Photograph courtesy of Jayson_Bryant
The origin of the tarte flambée.
books call a tarte flambée an Alsatian pizza; however, those who wrote
that obviously know zero about pizza and zero about tarte flambé. Tarte
flambée and pizza are quite different dishes and have different histories,
different doughs, and the tarte flambée has no tomatoes and no
mozzarella in its history.
together with région of the Lorraine were, over hundreds of
years, ruled by France and or Germany in turn.
The result today is while the Alsace and the Lorraine are indisputably
French a large percentage of the locals also speak German dialects along with their
perfect French. Flammen kuechen is
one of the names for a tarte flambée in the Alsatian-German dialect
called Allemand Alsacien or Elsässerditsch; the wordsmean
cooked in flames in English. Cooked in flames relates to the original method of
cooking in the traditional wood burning stoves that some restaurants still use.
The French name tarte flambée is derived from that original name and
essentially means a pie cooked in the flames.