Here is Trader Joe’s trying to get all sophisticated on us! Tarte D’Alsace? Who would’ve thunk they’d try and make us all world travelers? This is something that’s been in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s for a few years now and I thought it would be easy come, easy go but it’s survived the test of time and I think that’s great for all of us! The bigger question is this a pizza or not? It sure looks like one, but there are many types of “flatbread” around the world that look similar to pizza. They even call it flatbread on the box, but reality this is very similar to something called Tarte Flambee (yes too EEs at the end).
Tarte Flambée http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarte_flamb%C3%A9e is something that I am very familiar with having travelled to the Alsace on a couple of occasions. If you are not familiar with Alsace, it sits mainly between the Vosge mountains to the west and the Rhine River to the east on the German border. This part of France has switched between German rule and the French for hundreds of years and is a mix of both culture, but in my opinion leans towards German more. Most people there speak French and German. One of the specialty foods you will find in the local pubs and bistro is Tarte Flambée. Traditional Tarte Flambée is made in a wood fired oven and the toppings are usually fromage blanc (similar to cream cheese or cream fraiche) onions and ham. Gruyere (or a local cheese that is similar) is an upgrade. Sometimes mushrooms are added and Munster cheese is another upgrade if like your cheese stinky! This is usually served as an appetizer at a restaurant, but you can easily get as a main course. It brings back a lot of memories of the Alsace!
This is an odd product from Trader Joe’s. First, the quality seems too high to be from a US source, but I could be wrong there. Nothing on the box that indicates that it’s from France (Unlike a couple of other “flatbreads” that say Product of France on the back). The other thing is that there is no indication that this is from Trader Joe’s. All it says is that it’s from Maitre Pierre which I found doing a Google Search. http://www.maitrepierre.com/It appears to be a French company located in the Alsace. A similar product, that has all the same fonts and product styling is the Trader Joe’s Tarte d’Champignon , which is a Product of France and has the Trader Joe’s name on the box. Go figure!
Anyway, how did this taste? I really, really liked it! My wife and I had this with a salad last night. I baked it per the directions and it came out perfect. Nice thin, crunchy crust. More like pie crust than pizza crust. The toppings were all excellent. The ham was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. The onions were perfectly caramelized and had no hard onion flavor, they were very sweet. The cheese was great too. Not too much cheese. The edge of the crust has a fancy edge to it that makes it quite visually appealing. It did taste fairly authentic too! The only thing missing was a hint of smoke flavor from the wood fired oven.
I highly recommend this pizza… umm… flatbread! I could eat it all by myself as a meal or split it with a salad or something else. You could serve it as a nibble at a dinner party. It was truly authentic and I truly enjoy the Maitre Pierre’s (AKA Trader Joe’s) Tarte d’Alsace. I recommend having a big glass of Alsatian Dry Riesling with this as a perfect pairing and I am going to rate this 9 Bells!