The sauerkraut: German princess and scurvy
Well, this choucroute ("sauerkraut") is the most famous specialities, in Alsace! Yummy! Just smell the fermented white cabbages cooked in white wine, full of little juniper berries... Do you see these mellow potatoes, those nice charcuteries (Strasbourg and Montbéliard sausages, smoked pork bacon)?
The little history
A princess ogress fond of choucroute!
The name choucroute comes from German sauer kraut, which means "salted cabbages" or "sour herb". And in Germany as in neighbouring countries, people ate choucroute! Since a long time... Do you know Palatine princess? She was regent Philip of Orléans’ wife, born in Austria. In Versailles castle, where she lived, people liked fine and delicate food. But not her! The princess would sell her soul to stuff herself with a pint of beer or a sauer kraut and fat sausages... Her French cook didn’t know the recipe of the sauer kraut, so she bought it abroad... There was a nice stinky smell of cabbages in Versailles, at that time!
To make the sauer kraut, the recipe was pretty simple: they put white cabbages in a cask with wine, salt and juniper. The vegetable fermented several months, creating a water they had to remove. They added instead a fresh brine.
Sauer kraut VS scurvy!
The sauer kraut has a little secret... it's full of vitamin C! Writer Alexandre Dumas said in his book Grand dictionnaire de cuisine that captain Cook gave sauer kraut to his sailors when they went several months at sea. Well, the sauer kraut was the best medicine against the scurvy!