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The Temple Neuf Christmas Market: intimate and traditionalPublished on 11 December 2023
Just a few minutes' walk from Strasbourg Cathedral, the Temple Neuf Christmas Market offers visitors a warm and intimate setting. The arts, gastronomy and sweet treats will make you want to linger a while...
Walk up the narrow rue des Dominicains and you'll come to the Place du Temple Neuf, named after the church that overlooks it. This is a somewhat hidden Christmas market. Traditionally known as the Marché du Carré d'Or, it refers to Strasbourg's traditional and historic shopping district, where you'll find numerous shops, most of them upmarket. In this little cocoon sheltered from the wind, you can indulge in the sweets, chocolates, brandies and other specialties that are so popular during the festive season.
A confectionery from the Vosges
As you walk past the Confiserie des Hautes Vosges chalet, you can't resist grabbing one of the multi-colored sweets on offer. Vosges fir buds, honey, eucalyptus... Depending on the sweet you choose, the essential oils and natural aromas gently envelop your palate. It leaves us with a comforting, slightly sweet taste reminiscent of the sweets our grandparents used to give us when we were young.
These deliciously regressive sweets are made in the purest tradition, in the heart of the Vosges, in Plainfaing. "Our beet sugar comes from Erstein and our corn glucose syrup from Marckolsheim" explains Fabienne Picard, CEO of Confiserie des Hautes Vosges, for whom working locally makes perfect sense.
The Confiserie offers 35 different kinds of sweets, and is keen to maintain its traditional recipes. "The sweets are cooked over an open fire in copper cauldrons" adds the manager. As well as its sweets, the chalet also sells roasted peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds, as well as its famous crushed almonds for infusions. "We collect the broken sweets when we break the plates. They are then crushed so that they can be easily dissolved in hot water", explains Fabienne Picard. Confiserie des Hautes Vosges is also famous for its Bergamotes de Nancy, the only ones in the Vosges to hold the PGI! This is a source of great pride for this family-run business, which is committed to protecting regional know-how.
The essential Maison Klein
Just a stone's throw from this chalet, another sweet treat awaits us. These are marrons glacés from Sabaton. The chalet is run by the team of Olivier Klein, CEO of Maison Klein and Alsacienne de Gastronomie, holder of the "Artisan d'Alsace" label. "Our two companies share the same vision of gastronomy, based on quality products", he tells us. Typical emblems of the Christmas season, these marrons glacés are the fruit of a complex production process, requiring rigour and delicacy.
Opposite, we enter a completely different world, this time devoted to foies gras from Alsace and truffles. Also run by Maison Klein, this chalet showcases its goose or duck foie gras, made with a blend of 15 spices according to a traditional recipe. "What sets us apart is the quality of our products, combined with the consistency of a metronome," says Olivier Klein.
Whether served as a salad, with confit or on gingerbread, there are many different ways to enjoy foie gras. But for Olivier Klein, there's nothing better than eating it plain, on a spoon, with a simple slice of white baguette!
When night falls and the cold begins to take hold of us, it's almost natural to head for something that will warm us up... Like the creations of Distillerie Meyer! Eaux-de-vie, crèmes, liqueurs, pastis, gin... and whiskies 100% made in Alsace can all be found in their chalet. A gold medallist at the Concours Général Agricole in Paris in 2018 and 2019, its pure malt whisky is well worth a visit. Produced by double distillation, it is aged for 8 years in oak casks, giving it a smooth, vanilla flavor with a hint of smokiness on the palate.
This eau-de-vie is the result of years of experience at Maison Meyer, which began marketing its products in the Val-de-Villé 65 years ago. Based in the small village of Hohwarth, the Meyer family has never ceased to develop the expertise, handed down from father to son. "It's a job you learn on the job! The best training is to taste, smell, and observe. That's how you gradually educate your taste buds", explains Arnaud Meyer, grandson of founder Fridolin and current sales manager of the distillery. Its exceptional expertise has even been recognized by the Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living Heritage Company) label.
All the shades of wood
The Christmas market is also a great opportunity to meet local artists. When you arrive at the chalet of Dominique Ciamarone, an art marker, you can't take your eyes off his unique works. Combining different types of wood, his meticulous and delicate work commands respect. Passionate about art marquetry since 1979, he loves the infinite nuances offered by this living, noble material. In 1990, his talent was finally recognized: he was awarded the title of "Meilleur ouvrier de France"!
His paintings are inspired by a variety of subjects: nature, landscapes, animals, etc. His works "Regard de félin", "Cheval fougueux" and "Allégorie d'une hirondelle" illustrate the richness of his work.
The church above us is already ringing at 9pm, waking us from our enchanted interlude. Time to get back to the warmth! Between the whisky, foie gras, Nancy bergamots and marrons glacés, we find ourselves with our arms full of gourmet gifts! Made locally with passion, they somehow convey all the authenticity of our beloved region.