What are the best farm inns in Alsace? This is a difficult question to answer, firstly because there are many, but also because it depends on your taste! We didn’t test them all, but each member of the My Weekend in Alsace team has his or her own favorites. By discussing this with our friends, we ended up putting together a small list of our favorite farmhouses in Alsace, to guide you if you’re looking for a good marcaire meal during/after a nice hike!
The farmhouses in the Vosges Massif
What is a farmhouse?
The farmhouse inns are restaurants arranged on a farm. These are warm restaurants, where you can taste a good local mountain cuisine and which are very appreciated by the Alsatians. We come there on weekends with friends or family, often at the end (or in the middle) of a hike in the Vosges.
A tradition from the end of the 19th century
The tradition of farmhouses in the Vosges dates back to the end of the 19th century. With the creation of the Club Vosgien and the first hiking trails in the Vosges Massif, the marcaires began to welcome hikers by offering them drinks and farm products (cheese, pork, etc.).
But who were these marcaires, you may ask? This name comes from the word “malker” which in Alsatian dialect means “the one who milks the cows”. It designated the peasants of the valleys taking their herds to the mountain pastures and occupying the summer farms.
Combining mountain agriculture and tourism, the farm inns were born! It is still today what characterizes a true farm inn: the fact that the farmer innkeeper offers dishes prepared from the products of his farm.
Farm inns in Alsace: Upper Rhine or Lower Rhine?
Farmhouses are a tradition in the Haut-Rhin. This is where the highest mountains in the Vosges are located and where farms have always been more present. The Fermes auberges association is in fact the association of the Fermes auberges of the Hautes Vosges. Don’t worry if you are looking for farmhouses in the Bas-Rhin, you will find some!
What is a marcaire meal?
The marcaire meal is the meal traditionally served in the farmhouses of the Massif des Vosges and which is composed of:
- a valley pie or a soup
- of smoked pork meat accompanied by “roïgabrageldi” (potatoes in strips slowly cooked in farm butter with onions and bacon),
- Munster, Barkass or Tomme des Vosges (local cheeses)
- a siaskas (white cheese sprinkled with kirsch) or a homemade pie for dessert
Yes, I can confirm that it is huge and heavy! I advise you to plan most of your hike before lunch, otherwise you may find the after-meal walk really difficult…
I reassure you, the farm inns do not only offer this meal: you will also find other dishes, often based on pork and cheese anyway… Not forgetting, in general, blueberry pie, perfect for a nice snack break 😉
Where to eat a good meal?
Here are our 10 favorite addresses. Make sure you always make a reservation, the opening days can be variable and they are always full in season! If you really want to eat the marcaire meal exclusively, consider asking if they serve it on that day: some offer it every day, others don’t.
Be careful, the farmhouses are open during the summer season, few of them are open in winter.
Here are 10 addresses in the Haut-Rhin:
- Molkenrain farmhouse on the Route des Crêtes in Wattwiller, above the historic site of Vieil Armand
- Freundstein Farm Inn, located on the Route des Crêtes in Willer sur Thur
- Farmhouse of the Wassmatt at the Petit Ballon in Wasserbourg
- Uff Rain farm in Metzeral, in the Valley of Munster(we talked about it here)
- Farm-inn of Glashutte in Rimbach near Guebwiller
- Les Buissonnets farm-inn in Bourbach-le-Haut(we talked about it here)
- The Christelsgut farmhouse in Breitenbach in the Munster Valley (possibility to sleep there)
- Ferme-auberge du Gresson in Oberbruck (possibility to sleep there)
- Farm inn of the Grand Langenberg below the balloon of Alsace in Sewen
- The Kahlenwasen farmhouse in the Petit Ballon in Luttenbach-près-Munster (possibility to sleep there)
And 2 addresses in the Bas-Rhin:
- Ferme-auberge du Promont in Ranrupt (open almost all year long)
- Lindenhof farmhouse, at the foot of the Hohwald waterfall (possibility to sleep there)