Flammkuchen, called tarte flambée in French, is an Alsatian dish often likened to pizza. Although this dish is indeed a flame kissed flatbread covered in various toppings, flammekueche, as it’s called in Alsatian, is unlike anything you’ve tried from Italy. Flammkuchen, which translates to “flame cake”, originated as a peasant dish, put into a traditional wood-burning oven as a method of testing when the temperature was right for baking bread for the village that week. If the flammkuchen cooked too quickly or burst into flames, it meant the oven was too hot and, conversely, if the flammkuchen was not cooking quickly, more wood would be added to increase the temperature before the bread was placed into the oven for baking.
A common dish in eastern France, the Black Forest and southwestern Germany, the traditional flammkuchen’s toppings consist of crème fraîche or fromage blanc, thin slices of onion and lardons (salt-cured pork belly). Although we favor the classic flammkuchen toppings, it’s not uncommon to find regional variants as well as restaurants specializing in flammkuchen that serve them with all sorts of creative toppings. There is even apfel-flammkuchen when you are in the mood for something sweet; covered in crème fraîche, apples and cinnamon-sugar topping. As simple a dish as it may seem, flammkuchen is one of the most delicious things you are likely to eat in Germany.