22 Mar Fun & frolicking at Jour de Fête: Strasbourg
I could eat at Jour de Fête Restaurant & Wine Bar every day, every week. It’s my kind of food, my kind of (natural) wine and my kind of atmosphere. The only problem is that I live in London, and it’s in Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region of France.
The Romans used the word ‘festa‘, which became ‘feste‘ in Old French and then ‘fête‘ in Modern French… it’s all about festivals & feasts, fun & frolics, albeit not too much frolicking at Jour de Fête, all activity was above board.
Wine producer Catherine Riss tipped me off about this place… as well as about Au Pont Corbeau. The latter was closed for holiday. At Jour de Fête, together with Catherine’s wines, I found wines by fellow natural producer Kumpf et Meyer, and by two names from my visit last year to Champagne with Clos Driver Wine Tours – David Léclapart and Vincent Laval.
What is natural wine?
I liked Jour de Fête’s definition of natural wine, or vin nature: “A living wine that respects the terroir”… “Un vin vivant qui respecte le terroir“.
This is Strasbourg, so the decor was colourful and individualistic, just like my Hotel Graffalgar on the other side of town, near the station. Jour de Fête meanwhile is in Krutenau, on the other side of the Cathedral, and a district that I kept on going back to again and again.
What I ate & drank at Jour de Fête
My aperitif wine was Outsider, a naturally sparkling Brut Rosé by Brendan Tracey. Brendan was born in New Jersey, to a French mother, moved to France in 1977 and started producing wine in the Loire in 2010. At €5 a glass, even if the pound has devalued, that is still a lot less than the €8 or so that you would pay in London.
I sat at the bar, as the restaurant was full that night and I’d only booked that afternoon. The gentleman sitting next to me, having a drink, as that was what the bar was about, had designed a table in the restaurant. And a very nice table it was. He was based in Mittelbergheim, across the Alsace Wine Route from Andlau, where we had been that morning to visit Marc Kreydenweiss. It made me feel that Alsace was small, cosy & familiar.
For my starter, I went for octopus. Having lived in Spain, and knowing my pulpo gallego, I was reluctant, but it really was good… spiced up with green olives, orange zest & sun-dried tomatoes, if my memory serves me well.
A new fish on me – sabre
Then I chose a fish dish with seaweed. The fish was sabre, a Mediterranean fish that grows up to 5ft long, with sharp rows of teeth & flesh with the firmness of sole but with a taste slightly more towards sardines.
It was excellent, especially when served with a glass of Mâcon Cruzille ‘Aragonite’, a Chardonnay by Clos des Vignes du Maynes. Hey, I thought I’d come to Alsace to taste Alsace wines, but then it’s a bad idea to be purist… and this wine, for me, was a real find.
Lemon tart with a Vendange Tardive
I accompanied the tarte au citron with a glass of the late-harvested (the later the harvest the sweeter the wine) Vendange Tardive – Grand Cru Hengst from Domaine Josmeyer, a Pinot Gris. For all those of you who turn your nose up at sweet wine, you shouldn’t. This went perfectly with the food as well as the name … Hengst means stallion in English.
In the meantime, the restaurant had filled up, and people were coming and going, to eat, to buy wine, with music, with laughter, they knew each other and even if they didn’t they welcomed each other like friends.
These people, I thought, know how to live.
Blogwise, I have only one more post on Alsace… on Famille Hugel, and then it is Alsace over, for a while, but it’s been a lot of fun.
You can find the full itinerary of my Alsace wine tour with Clos Driver Wine Tours on my post about Strasbourg.
For my other posts on Alsace:
- Style & Sensitivity: Weinbach
- Natural Wine: Kumpf et Meyer & Catherine Riss
- Villages, Storks & Michelin Stars: Le Bistro des Saveurs
- Hitting 64º in Winter: Hotel Chambard in Alsace
- The Steady Roll of the Deiss Family in Alsace
- Fun & Frolicking at Jour de Fete: Strasbourg
- The Art of Alsace Wine: Marc Kreydenweiss
- Famille Hugel: 13 Generations of Wine in Riquewihr