- The Dish: Flammekueche, an Alsatian pizza, topped with fromage blanc or crème fraiche
- The Place: Amelie, launching in Cambridge in August
- The Chef: Regis Crepy
What? Hailing from Alsace, a historical region in eastern France on the Rhine River, the flammekueche is one of France’s favourite regional foods.
Flammekueche translates to ‘flame cake,’ but there is no fire or cake actually involved. Instead, it’s a cross between a savoury tart and pizza, with a thin sheet of unleavened dough spread generously with fromage blanc or crème fraiche and often topped with slivered onions and bacon.
Other versions come with Emmental cheese or thinly sliced mushrooms. Because the dough is unleavened, there is no need to wait for it to rise, meaning it’s quick to make. There are also sweet dessert pizzas that come with apples and cinnamon or blueberries.
The meal is also known as ‘plat du pauvre’ or 'dish of the poor,' as it was traditionally made on days when bread was baked and villagers would be testing the heat of the oven.
The flammekueche is usually eaten as a first course in the region, cut into squares and shared as part of a larger feast.
Where? Bringing this speciality to the UK is French-born restaurateur Regis Crepy, who has owned three successful Suffolk restaurants, including the Great House in Lavenham, which he ran for over 30 years. His son, Alex, will also be joining the venture, having worked as a managing partner at Gaucho Group.
While traditional toppings like thinly sliced onions and lardons will be offered, more contemporary options will also be on the menu.
This will include beetroot, goat's cheese and honey; parma ham; avocado and salmon; and pulled pork. Ingredients will be sourced from local suppliers.
Why? The popularity of pizza isn’t going anywhere, but increasingly people are looking for something different, with restaurants opening in London with a range of takes on the classic.
Unlike the typical Italian Neapolitan pizza, flammekueche isn’t topped with tomato sauce.
But it’s not just the sauce that is getting a pizza makeover.
Pickywops is experimenting with vegan pizza and alternative bases made from hemp and spirulina, while international import The Lebanese Bakery recently opened in Covent Garden specialising in manoush – Lebanese flatbread that is baked in ovens and often slathered with za’atar or labneh (a tangy thick yoghurt). Chain Paramount Lebanese Kitchen also landed on UK shores in April and is offering the pizza.
Meanwhile, the latest Temper restaurant takes inspiration from American pizza with a deep-pan Detroit version with focaccia-esque bottom and cheese crust, covered in goat ragu or goat salami.