MOUNTAIN RESTAURANTS AND FARM INNS ARE PLACES WHERE PEOPLE MEET AND ENJOY EACH OTHER’S COMPANY AND WHERE GASTRONOMY COMBINES TRADITION AND AUTHENTICITY. FACED WITH THE REMARKABLE LANDSCAPES OF NATURE, OFFER YOURSELF A BREATH OF FRESH AIR AND A GOURMET PLEASURE FAR FROM THE BEATEN TRACK.
The history of farm inns
A real green lung, the Vosges massif is a place of escape that offers many possibilities of activities in the middle of nature. Within the region, the farm inns are essential stops to discover the richness of the local soil and culinary traditions. During a meal, a night or a few days stay, the mountain, its landscapes and its customs are warmly revealed. Since at least the 9th century, the peasants took their herds to the farms of the Vosges highlands to graze them. They were called “marcaires” (in Alsatian “malker”: the one who milks the cows). By extension, the “marcairie” was the place where cheeses were made. In 1872, the first clients of the farm inns appeared with the creation of the Club Vosgien and the first marked trails. These marcaires, then peasant workers, served drinks and products from their farms. Little by little, and in spite of the rural exodus, this activity of reception has continued until today. By the will of a reconnection to nature and authenticity, green tourism benefits the farm inns and allows them to develop, expand and modernize.
Did you know that?
‘The use of the name ‘ferme-auberge ‘in the Haut-Rhin department’ is subject to compliance with the revised charter of 2001 and its rules of procedure. The granting, maintenance or withdrawal of accreditation is examined by the accreditation and control commission set up by the association. »
Association Ferme-Auberge du Haut-Rhin.
Good to know!
There are 7 farmhouses labeled “tourism and handicap” in the Haut-Rhin department. They are located around the Ballons des Vosges Natural Park and have easy access for people with disabilities and adapted facilities. In addition, 24 farmhouses in the Haut-Rhin have charging points for electric bikes.
Ferme-auberge du Haut-Rhin is a non-profit association, created in 1971 on the principle of the double agricultural and tourist activity. Its purpose is to gather and mobilize farmers to define and structure the development of farm inns in a coherent way. The association federates locally 44 establishments, 3 of which are in the process of being approved. Its actions have enabled it to preserve its particularities, such as transhumance, and to maintain more than 3500 ha of a unique biotope in Europe.
Looking to the future while preserving traditions
A real bridge between the urban and rural worlds, farmhouses play a major role in local tourism. At the same time, the tourist activity allows the farmers to maintain their agricultural activities while constituting a complementary income. The inextricable link between urban and rural people is based on a true exchange. The marcaires are part of the local identity and are guardians of history and traditions.
Each farm inn has its own meat specialties that they offer according to the production and the seasons. In the form of real feasts, these specialities are a testament to the generosity and conviviality of mountain establishments. Pot-au-feu, fleischschnackas, sausages, blood sausages, press-kopf, roasts, bacon, sautéed or smoked meats, grilled meats… enough to satisfy every hunger when you walk for miles.
Did you know that?
Of monastic origin, Munster-gerome would be made from the fourteenth century in the city of Munster. Imported from Ireland or Scotland in the 7th century, its fame is inseparable from the city. Today, Munster cheese is produced in seven departments: Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Haute-Saône, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Mo-selle, Territoire de Belfort and Vosges. It has had the AOC since 1969 and the PDO since 1996.
the marcaire menu
The story goes that the mar-caires would simmer their potatoes over a low flame while they watched their flocks. Along with farm cheese, these potatoes were the basis of their meals, and the resulting mar-caire menu. Today, this famous traditional menu consists of “a soup or pie from the valley, smoked pork with “roïgabrageldi” (sliced potatoes cooked for 2 to 3 hours in farm butter with onions and bacon), Munster cheese (or Bargkass) and/or a dessert (farm cheese sprinkled with kirsch or homemade pie).”
A cheese tradition
The marcaire (“the one who milks the cow” in Alsatian) is traditionally linked to cheese making. The recipes have been passed down for generations and there are as many bargkass as there are breeds of cows and skills. The bargkass comes in the form of small wheels with a soft dough and an orange-brown rind, with a more or less fruity taste depending on the season of production of the milk. In Alsace and in the Vosges mountains, the famous Munster is the only cheese recognized and AOP. We also like tommes of all shapes, with flavors of caraway from the Vosges, elderflower or wild thyme; as well as goat cheeses, fresh and flavored with crushed black pepper or wild herbs from the meadows of the farm inns. The diversity of its cheeses reflects the richness of the local terroir and the cheese-making skills of mountain farms.
snack in the forest
In the forests and on the Vosges ridges, the paths criss-cross, offering a multitude of hikes with remarkable views. To regain strength, we take advantage of a gourmet break ela-borée from good farm products. The farmhouses offer savory pies, cheese and charcuterie boards, eggs, fresh butter, jams, honey, fruit juices, to put in your basket. An outdoor picnic with the best of the local produce.