Like every CBYXer, one of the things which I was most looking forward to about my year abroad was trying new foods. So far, Germany has not dissapointed. I’ve gotten to sample a myriad of pastries, as well as eat a number of savory entrees. While I have been very lucky to have been exposed to many foods which are not so easy to come by in America, I think the most memorable dish I’ve tried has been Flammkuchen.
Over the fall break, my host sister rallied my extended host family together to visit a Flammkuchen restaurant, specifically so that our group could order All-You-Can-Eat Flammkuchen together. I went in blind, only with the information that “it’s kind of like a pizza” (according to my host mom).
Flammkuchen, in my adoration-drenched opinion, is that and everything more. It is essentially a crispy, thin piece of dough topped with crème fraîche. But this isn’t even where the joy of Flammkuchen starts-there are endless possibilities for the toppings which can go on Flammkuchen, which was part of the fun of All-You-Can-Eat Flammkuchen. My table ordered about fifteen different Flammkuchens in total (albeit, not all at once), which we shared and sampled amongst ourselves. My favorite Flammkuchen that I tried was called “Shrimps-Provence”, and consisted of tomatoes, onions, shrimps, herbs, and garlic-so basically all of my favorite foods together. To complete the meal, we had dessert Flammkuchens, which were also delicious.
Not only does Flammkuchen taste divine, but it also has a fascinating history behind it! This delightful dish originates from the region which was formerly Alsace-Lorraine, and has become both a specialty of German and French cuisine, representing a synthesis of the two cultures. I also learned while writing this post that Flammkuchen was birthed as a method for bakers to test the heat of their ovens: if your oven was able to cook Flammkuchen, your oven was good to go for baking bread.
While eating Flammkuchen was great fun, this dinnner was a great experience because I was with my extended host family. My host sister was very adamant about having as many people as possible meet up for All-You-Can-Eat-Flammkuchen, and I’m very thankful she was. While an important part of cultural exchange is discussing “deep” topics like politics and current events with your peers and, there’s something to be said for bonding with your host family over how ludicrously “scharf” jalapeño Flammkuchen is.
I firmly believe that there is a perfect Flammkuchen for everyone, and if you ever get the chance, you absolutely should try Flammkuchen.