What to bring back from Alsace? This is a question you will ask yourself when visiting Alsace. Not that I think you have to bring back a souvenir at all costs, even if it means buying anything, but rather because there are many beautiful (and good!) things in our region. You will be spoilt for choice, and the art will be to find your way around so as not to fall into the tourist trap but to return with quality souvenirs and gifts that truly represent the region. As I am nice, I will help you to sort out the good plans… And you avoid the bad ones! 😉
Gourmet Alsatian products to bring back
You will quickly understand during your stay, gastronomy holds an important place in Alsace and there is no lack of Alsatian specialties to taste. For some like kougelhopf, pretzels or mannele, I advise you to taste them on the spot rather than bringing them back because they dry quickly and will be less good. Or bring back a kugel, but enjoy it the next day!
To begin, here is a list of good local producers and craftsmen that the team of My weekend in Alsace particularly appreciates and where you will find plenty of quality products.
Wines of Alsace
Bottles of Alsace wines are certainly the most brought back souvenirs from the region, of course! One often does not come to a wine region without leaving with a few bottles, especially if one has enjoyed the wine tasting done at a wine grower of the Wine Route. If you wish to make a gift, you can also offer the glasses in which Alsatian wines were traditionally served (this is not always the case anymore), recognizable by their green stem.
Alsatian craft beers
There is not only wine in Alsace! The region has a strong brewing tradition (it is one of the few areas in France where hops are still grown, in the region of Wingersheim) and there are many craft breweries. Impossible to name them all but you will find them quite easily in stores, including supermarkets. Check this article for some good addresses of stores in Strasbourg.
If I tell you Alsace, you must think of gingerbread, right? You are right, it is in the region that Gertwiller is located, the capital of gingerbread. Be careful though, there is more bad gingerbread than good in the stores. Even if they are Alsatian, I find those of Fortwenger that you will find everywhere extremely dry for example. I would recommend the Lips ones, softer and better in my opinion. Those of Mireille Oster, nicknamed the gingerbread queen, are also to be tasted: they are not cheap but of excellent quality and really delicious.
Impossible to talk about a gourmet souvenir to bring back from Alsace without evoking the munster, no? This strong tasting cheese will easily find its place in your suitcase because the cheese makers are used to vacuum packing it for travelling. So no smell of munster on your clothes: better, right? You can buy them directly from the producer at the Ferme du Versant du Soleil, for example. Otherwise, go to the producers’ stores or to the best cheese makers in Alsace: the Saint-Nicolas cheese factory in Colmar, the Maison Lorho in Strasbourg or the Fromagerie Anthony in Ferrette.
We are lucky in Alsace to have Christine Ferber, the Queen of Jams, known throughout the world! Her jams are a real treat. You can buy them directly in his store in Niedermorschwihr on the Wine Route but also in many stores in Alsace. The price is high but they are really excellent! Les Confitures du Climont are also very good jams that you can buy on site (and visit!) or buy in many stores.
Spirits, liqueurs, gin or Alsatian whisky
It is sometimes ignored, but there are several artisanal distilleries still existing in Alsace: it must be said that there were at the time many distillers, particularly in the Val de Villé region. You should easily find the bottles of the Lehman distillery, or Nusbaumer distillery or Meyer distillery. You can even buy Alsatian whiskey or gin!
Bredele, the little Christmas cookies in Alsace
Bredele (or bredalas) are the small cookies that are traditionally eaten at the time of the end of the year in Alsace. So it’s definitely a gift to bring back at Christmas time, but I don’t think anyone will mind if you buy it at another time of the year. You will easily find them at the Maison alsacienne de biscuiterie, present in several cities in Alsace and whose bredalas are delicious. Enjoy!
Tea, coffee and chocolate
Coffee and chocolate tea from Alsace? Yes and no, we agree that there are no tea, coffee or cocoa plantations in Alsace. But we still have our local companies whose products I can recommend. The organic teas of Le Jardins de Gaia are really known for their high quality. As for coffee, you can go to Sati or Henri’s coffee shops (I like both!).
For chocolate, I have a big weakness for the chocolate maker Cabosse in Mulhouse and Henner Frères in Strasbourg. More industrial but also very good, I can recommend Jacques Bockel, whose stores you will find everywhere in Alsace. You can even bring back Nut’Alsace, the Alsatian nutella!
Gifts to offer… or to offer yourself!
Enough about the gourmet side, let’s see now the decorative objects, textiles and other Alsatian souvenirs that you can ‘t eat (yes, it is possible!). First of all, I must recommend you to avoid the storks in stuffed animals or bad quality aprons that you will find in all souvenir stores… Well, do what you want, but be aware: these objects are usually made in China, you could have found the same ones everywhere (except that a stork looks Alsatian, I know!). Favour objects from craftsmen: they are the ones who make the real made in Alsace!
It is impossible to mention the souvenirs to bring back from Alsace without mentioning the famous Soufflenheim potteries. Again, be careful: many of the potteries sold in the stores do not come from Soufflenheim at all. the best is to buy them directly from the potters if you are going to visit the potteries, but you can also find real ones everywhere in Alsace. Just be careful!
You can find kougelhopf moulds, dishes for baeckeoffemussels to the lamalasbut also plates, cups, etc… Depending on the potters, the designs can be very classical or more modern and original, there is really something for everyone! In Colmar, you will find them for example at Douceurs et plaisirs d’Alsace. In Strasbourg, at the Poterie d’Alsace store.
Christmas markets in Alsace are sacred! And the Christmas decorations too. In fact, you can buy them all year long in some stores. My favorites? Christmas Fairy in Riquewihr, The Magic of Christmas in Colmar, The House of Hanssen and Gretel and A Christmas in Alsace in Strasbourg.
Don’t forget to bring back a Christmas bauble from Meisenthal. These balls are handmade in the neighboring department of Moselle and a new one comes out every year. One of the great traditions for some families in the region is to buy the new creation every year!
It is often ignored but Alsace has a strong textile tradition, particularly in the Mulhouse region. In addition to Linge des Vosges, which is well known for its quality and which you will find on the Lorraine side in the Gerardmer region, you can also obtain high quality textiles in Alsace. Have a look at the factory store in Beauvillé, but also at the store of the Musée de l’Impression sur Etoffe in Mulhouse and the textile eco-museum in the Parc de Wesserling.
At Christmas time, don’t miss the Christmas fabric, different every year and which is the queen of the Mulhouse Christmas market. It is available for purchase, along with fabrics from previous years, in the beautiful store on the first floor of City Hall, which is open during the market. This is one of my favorite stores of the month of December in Alsace!
It is obviously impossible to list all the artisans doing great work in the area, but here are some ideas of designer stores where you can shop locally and find great quality items:
- Our favorite designer stores in Strasbourg
- Alsatrucs art and craft store in Strasbourg
- Régine’s workshop in Fessenheim-le-Bas, west of Strasbourg
Otherwise, in bulk, I can mention some artisans and creators that I love:
- Julia Tisserant‘s fabrics
- Avenue d’Alsace fabrics
- Christiane Koch‘s fabric hearts
- Muriel’s Christmas decorations fromAu P’tit Bonheur
- Marc’s organic soaps from the Scala Soapery
- the candles of Lady Candle
- the ceramics of Carole K Céramiste
- the ceramics ofElodie Lesigne
I think you should already have something to do with all this! So, what will you bring back from Alsace? 😉