Alsace Black Chicken

France

Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine

Breeds and animal husbandry

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Alsace Black Chicken

Proud and elegant, its black plumage glinting with blue-green highlights, the Alsace black chicken is the most typical poultry breed from this region of northeast France, near the border with Germany. The first mentions of the breed date back to 1890, but two world wars decimated the population and in 2009 there were just 300 birds left. Also known as Elsässer Hühn or, affectionately, “la belle,” the breed has a plump, cylindrical body and a beaded or curly comb, white almond-shaped ears, a scarlet wattle and a wide tail (fan-shaped for hens, crescent-shaped for roosters). Unlike other French breeds, the black chicken has never been crossed with Asian or American breeds.
Adult males weigh between 2 and 3 kilos, and the females between 2 and 2.5 kilos. The hardy breed loves wide open spaces and must be raised outdoors. They often spend the night roosting on tree branches. Farmed in fields, their diet is supplemented by grains and soy produced on the farm or bought from retailers who do not used GMOs in their feed.
The chicks are kept in incubators before being introduced into the traditional sheds from where they have access to outside enclosures. They are slaughtered at around 24 weeks, which is 12 weeks later than normal free-range chickens and 18 weeks later than industrially farmed birds. The market for the Alsace chicken is regional and 85% of production is sold directly.
The breed’s meat is refined and flavorful; the fillets have a very delicate texture thanks to the chicken’s slow growth and the leg meat is red and fragrant. The chicken’s meat is used in a traditional local recipe, chicken with Riesling, but the breed is also known for its white-shelled eggs.

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Poule noire d’Alsace

Fière et élégante sous son plumage noir, la poule noire d’Alsace, ou Elsässer Hühn, est la race avicole par excellence de la région. Cepen- dant, en 2009, on comptait moins de 300 têtes, les volatiles ayant été décimés lors des deux guerres mondiales. Son corps est dodu et cylindrique, sa crête perlée ou frisée, ses oreillons blancs en forme d’amande, ses caroncules rouge écarlate et sa queue large, en éventail pour les femelles et en faucille pour les mâles. Amatrice de grands espaces, elle est élevée en extérieur où elle consomme le pâturage des enclos ainsi que des céréales et du soja garantis sans OGM. Le marché de la poule d’Alsace est régional et 85 % de la production est commercialisée en vente directe. Ses filets fins et ses cuisses parfumées en font un mets apprécié qui entre dans la composition de la recette traditionnelle du coq au Riesling. Elle est aussi connue pour ses œufs à coquille blanche.

Menacée après la seconde guerre mondiale par l’introduction de races à productivité supérieure telles que la Sussex, la Plymouth et la New Hampshire, elle doit son retour à une poignée d’éleveurs amateurs et professionnels passionnés, réunis au sein de l’AERPA (Association des Éleveurs de Race Poule d’Alsace) en 2009. Décidés à sau- vegarder le patrimoine culturel et gastronomique local, ils sont parvenus en 2014 à reconstituer un cheptel de 3000 têtes dans le plus pur respect du standard de la race, grâce à l’aide du centre de sélection de Béchanne. Les éleveurs affrontent aujourd’hui deux problèmes importants : ils sont peu nombreux à élever cette race et manquent de structures adaptées.
L’un des objectifs de la Sentinelle est de renforcer leur réseau, en aidant l’association à rechercher de nouveaux membres afin de consolider les liens déjà existants avec des chefs de la région. On signalera parmi eux le chef doublement étoilé Nicolas Stamm du restaurant La fourchette des Ducs, qui l’intègre aussi souvent que possible à sa carte.

Responsable de la Sentinelle
Claude Ribeiro
Slow Food Schnaeckele
tél. +33 (0) 664507265
ribeiro.claude@gmail.com

Référent des producteurs
Gilbert Schmitt
tél. +33 (0) 661917681
gilbert_schmitt@hotmail.com

Les producteurs
Les producteurs sont réunis au sein de l’Association des Éleveurs de

Race Poule d’Alsace
Nicolas Lechner
6, Rue des Roses
Pfettisheim
foiesgras.lechner@wanadoo.fr

Lycée Agricole
8, rue des Remparts
Rouffach

Michel Schertzinger
Ferme Auberge
du Sondernach Ried
Sondernach

Gilbert Schmitt
La Ferme Schmitt
19, rue du Ried
Bischoffsheim

Pierre Sorg
Gunstett
pierre.sorg1@aliceadsl.fr

Hubert Spraul
Rue de la redoute
Gerstheim
spraul.hubert@numericable.fr

After the Second World War, the Alsace black chicken’s survival was threatened by the introduction of more productive breeds, like the Anglo-American Sussex, Plymouth and New Hampshire. The breed owes its revival to a small group of amateur and professional farmers who joined together in 2009 in the Association des Éleveurs de Race Poule d’Alsace (AERPA). With the aim of safeguarding the local cultural and gastronomic heritage and with the help of the Béchanne selection centre, in 2014 they managed to again reach 3000 birds, farmed with respect for the purest standards of the breed.
Alsace black chicken farmers must now confront two basic problems: the lack of suitable structures for raising the chickens and the small number of other farmers, caused partly by the sector’s unprofitability and lack of future prospects. One of the Presidium’s objectives is to strengthen the network of producers, helping the association to find new members and allowing the consolidation of links with chefs in the region who are interested in using the breed in their menus. One of them is a kind of godfather to the initiative, renowned chef Nicolas Stamm of the two-Michelin-starred La Fourchette des Ducs in Obernai, who regularly uses Alsace black chicken in his kitchen.

Production area
Alsace
The producers are joined together in the Association des Éleveurs de Race Poule d’Alsace

William Girard
6, Ferme Neuenmatten
Grendelbruch
girardw@orange.fr

Francis Humann
15, avenue de la Concorde
Ernolsheim sur Bruche

Georges Kuntz
168, avenue d’Altorf
Dachstein

Nicolas Lechner
6, Rue des Roses
Pfettisheim
foiesgras.lechner@wanadoo.fr

Lycée Agricole
8, rue des Remparts
Rouffach

Gilbert Schmitt
La Ferme Schmitt
19, rue du Ried
Bischoffsheim
tel. +33 661917681
gilbert_schmitt@hotmail.com

Pierre Sorg
Gunstett
pierre.sorg1@aliceadsl.fr

Hubert Spraul
Rue de la redoute
Gerstheim
spraul.hubert@numericable.fr


Slow Food Presidium Coordinator

Claude Ribeiro
Slow Food Schnaeckele
tel. +33 664507265
ribeiro.claude@gmail.com

Producers’ Coordinator

Gilbert Schmitt
tel. +33 661917681
gilbert_schmitt@hotmail.com

After the Second World War, the Alsace black chicken’s survival was threatened by the introduction of more productive breeds, like the Anglo-American Sussex, Plymouth and New Hampshire. The breed owes its revival to a small group of amateur and professional farmers who joined together in 2009 in the Association des Éleveurs de Race Poule d’Alsace (AERPA). With the aim of safeguarding the local cultural and gastronomic heritage and with the help of the Béchanne selection centre, in 2014 they managed to again reach 3000 birds, farmed with respect for the purest standards of the breed.
Alsace black chicken farmers must now confront two basic problems: the lack of suitable structures for raising the chickens and the small number of other farmers, caused partly by the sector’s unprofitability and lack of future prospects. One of the Presidium’s objectives is to strengthen the network of producers, helping the association to find new members and allowing the consolidation of links with chefs in the region who are interested in using the breed in their menus. One of them is a kind of godfather to the initiative, renowned chef Nicolas Stamm of the two-Michelin-starred La Fourchette des Ducs in Obernai, who regularly uses Alsace black chicken in his kitchen.

Production area
Alsace
The producers are joined together in the Association des Éleveurs de Race Poule d’Alsace

William Girard
6, Ferme Neuenmatten
Grendelbruch
girardw@orange.fr

Francis Humann
15, avenue de la Concorde
Ernolsheim sur Bruche

Georges Kuntz
168, avenue d’Altorf
Dachstein

Nicolas Lechner
6, Rue des Roses
Pfettisheim
foiesgras.lechner@wanadoo.fr

Lycée Agricole
8, rue des Remparts
Rouffach

Gilbert Schmitt
La Ferme Schmitt
19, rue du Ried
Bischoffsheim
tel. +33 661917681
gilbert_schmitt@hotmail.com

Pierre Sorg
Gunstett
pierre.sorg1@aliceadsl.fr

Hubert Spraul
Rue de la redoute
Gerstheim
spraul.hubert@numericable.fr


Slow Food Presidium Coordinator

Claude Ribeiro
Slow Food Schnaeckele
tel. +33 664507265
ribeiro.claude@gmail.com

Producers’ Coordinator

Gilbert Schmitt
tel. +33 661917681
gilbert_schmitt@hotmail.com

Other info

CategoriesBreeds and animal husbandry