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Christmas market in Square Louise Weiss: a family affairPublished on 7 December 2023
In the area around Petite France, there's a green space that's well known to the people of Strasbourg: Square Louise Weiss. Usually a meeting place and playground for local families, the Square is transformed at the end of the year into a pretty Christmas market. With its chalets run by passionate producers, one thing is certain: the family atmosphere remains.
Just cross Petite France and head towards the covered bridges to find yourself in a small park called Square Louise Weiss. This little green lung in the heart of the city is the setting for a very special Christmas market during the festive season: that of the irreducible small producers of Alsace!
If there's one snack that's like a Proust madeleine, it's the slice of jam from our childhood. A simple, regressive pleasure, the memory of which leads us straight to the Confitures du Climont chalet! Run by Perrine Hilberer, the company's co-manager, the chalet is bursting with jams of all kinds, as well as jellies, syrups and compotes. "Our jams have been made by hand for 30 years, in the heart of the Bruche valley", explains the manager. Renowned for its quality products and expertise, the establishment was even awarded the Living Heritage Company label in 2015.
For the end of the year, Confitures du Climont are bringing out their Christmas jam, which combines clementine, fir tree liqueur and candied angelica stems. But the real favourite of Perrine and her team is their candied apple jam! The recipe combines apples and the spices usually found in gingerbread. "We add star anise, vanilla, coriander and cinnamon, as well as ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and mace" says Perrine.
These delights inspire Perrine and her father Fabrice every day, and in 2023 they decided to publish a book of jam recipes. "The book also explains how to use jam in other ways, in both sweet and savoury dishes", adds Perrine. Not a bad gift idea, is it?
The millers of Hurtigheim
On the same square, just a few steps from Confitures du Climont, you'll find another family of local producers. It's the Becker millers from the "Moulin de Hurtigheim". "We represent the 5th generation of millers" says Raoul Becker, the current head of the company, with pride.
His flour is made mainly from cereals grown in the Kochersberg and Ackerland regions. "We get our supplies from no more than 80 kilometres away" he adds. What makes his flours so special is that the production process remains very traditional. "We heat the product very little, which is a guarantee of quality", he adds. The "Moulin de Hurtigheim" also stands out for its wide range of products, available even in small packs. In his chalet (winner of one of the most beautiful chalets at the 2015 Christmas market), you'll find a wide variety of flours, from pastry flours to gluten-free, cereal and organic flours.
The Lehmann Distillery in Obernai was also founded by a family. Considered to be the oldest distillery in Alsace, its expertise has been handed down from generation to generation since 1850! Today, the distillery has earned the Living Heritage Company label, which recognises exceptional expertise.
In his chalet, you'll find eaux-de-vie, liqueurs, Gewurtzraminer ratafia and his whiskies, three of which are IGP-labelled! We've fallen in love with 'Gold', aged for six years in dry white Bordeaux and Sauternes casks. On the nose, it develops aromas of candied citrus fruit, while on the palate it is characterised by notes of fresh tobacco and vanilla. The long, lingering finish develops into vanilla and stewed fruits of pear and quince: "This is a gourmet, silky whisky" adds master distiller and director Yves Lehmann.
The only thing missing was a selection of cheeses to round off this gourmet Christmas market! The Ferme de Truttenhausen has done just that, offering its creamy Munster cheese, as well as different variations of its tomme, from coriander to fenugreek to wild garlic. "Our farm has an organic label and we produce biodynamically" explains Sébastien Fernex, co-manager of the farm. As well as dairy products, the farm also sells fresh basil and garlic pestos, pepper preserves and herbal teas. Carefully crafted from wild plants by co-manager Anémone Fernex, her herbal teas are a true gift from nature. By respecting their environment and taking care of living things, the Fernex siblings are living up to their values.
After all these discussions, meetings and tastings, it's clear that all these exhibitors share much more than just a place. It's undoubtedly the love of a job well done, the love of products, the love of our terroir.