Sunday, April 8, 2018

Slow food in Stuttgart...

Even though I love good food and wine, it's taken me several years of living in the Stuttgart area to finally go to the annual Slow Food Messe.  This huge exhibition takes place at the Messe near Stuttgart's airport every spring.  My German friend, Susanne, lives near the airport and makes a point of going every year.  I had wanted to go in the past, but decided not to... probably because of the crowds and the hassle of getting there.

This year, Bill decided to pre-purchase tickets for yesterday.  The tickets included a train pass, which made it very easy to get to and from the festival.  Frankly, if you're a drinker and think you might be tasting adult beverages, I would highly recommend using public transportation to get to and from this event.  There are a lot of opportunities to try alcoholic beverages and you don't want to drink and drive.  The Messe is a short walk from the train stop at the airport, but then you have to walk through the convention hall itself, and it's a pretty huge place.  The Slow Food Fair is happening in halls 5,7, and 9.  There are also other exhibitions going on, such as a Yoga Fair and a Fair Trade Fair (which shares hall 7 with the slow food exhibits).

According to Susanne, this year's event is not as good as ones held in the years prior.  She told me that a lot of her favorite exhibitors didn't come this year because of new, more restrictive rules governing what products could be displayed.  She said that in past years, they've had live animals at the park; but this year, there were none.  Also, she said she felt there was too much emphasis on alcohol and less on food.

Since this year was the first time we've gone to the Slow Food Fair, Bill and I were plenty impressed by what we saw.  I would highly recommend wearing comfortable shoes and, perhaps, eating before you show up.  There is plenty to eat at the fair, but you'll want to have strength as you make your way through the crowds.  We made the mistake of not eating before we showed up and trying to find something for lunch was kind of overwhelming.  We finally found some quiet food stands with seating in hall 7.

Below are some pictures from yesterday.  The Slow Food Fair continues today from 10:00am until 6:00pm.  Today is the last day of the festival.



Walking into the huge "Messe"... There is a very helpful information desk where Bill asked where to go.


We bought tickets online.  It was cheaper and more convenient that way.  You can also buy them on site.



There were African dancers...  


I got a short video of them, as well as some of the other sights and sounds of the festival as it was yesterday.


The Yoga Fair was also going on.  Your ticket allows you entry to the other events.  I don't do yoga, but Susanne does.  


No dogs allowed!  But I still saw one snuck in... it was a tiny chihuahua looking thing.





Damn... I meant to come back to this booth!  I totally forgot!    



We stopped for a "crash course" on wines, given in German.  Bill speaks some German.  I don't, really... although I can understand it somewhat.  They were handing out free tastes, though, so I was game.



If beer is more your thing, they have plenty of that, too.  And they also have a "gin quarter" in hall 9.






An oasis of quiet in hall 7, where Bill and I found smoked salmon sandwiches.



They also had quiches and tarts from France.


And some kind of cinnamon and sugar creation.


I liked this sign.


This sandwich included smoke salmon, a honey mustard sauce, and cucumbers.  It was delicious!


Hall 7 was a bit quieter than hall 5.


I really should have made room for pastries.  This stall in hall 7 had what looked like sugared doughnuts filled with chocolate or vanilla custard.


And, of course, you can have coffee, too.


I think hall 9 was my favorite of the three.  It was a happy balance of exhibits with a slightly less hectic vibe.  





Bill tried some cheese.


Polish exhibit, with sausages and folk art.


Fresh orange juice!


Damn... I meant to come back to this stall, too!


We stopped to try ravioli.  One euro per sample includes two raviolis stuffed with ricotta, spinach, and Parmesan cheese.  It was delicious!


For some reason, I didn't get pictures of what came next.  We stopped at a Champagne exhibit and decided to try six for 18 euros.  Three German ladies joined us.  They were trying four for 12 euros.  We ended up chatting with them and they were hilarious!  I told them how much I enjoy living in Germany and hope we can stay awhile.  When I told them I was from Virginia, one of the ladies said all she knew about Virginia is that they have moonshine there.  Apparently, this was on a German television program!  I happen to be related to people who live in moonshine country!  They knew a lot more about Bill's home state of Texas.  One had even been to Austin.

We bought two bottles of bubbly and some "dip".  That's more Bill's thing than mine.  


Bill tries some dip.  Guess we should pick up some crackers.


A Swiss monk was selling cheese.  He had a little contraption that made the cheese look like a little flower.  Bill bought some, noting that it was milder than Gruyere.  Maybe that will mean I can eat it, too!



Lots of whiskey!  We were going to taste some, but soon became overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices.  So we moved on to wine...


This was a vintner from the Piemonte region of Italy.  Bill and I visited there in 2008 and we love the wines from that region.  The seller was very friendly, so we bought four bottles from him.  He also told me his family runs a B&B near Genoa in the vineyards.  It might be time to go back down there for a visit.  The ladies who joined us for Champagne tasting laughed when they saw us trying Italian wines, too.  Like I said... it's good to come by train.  






We finally stopped for "Eis"... This kind was vegan and had no added sugar!  It was made with cashews and dates.  They used cashew milk to make it creamy and dates for sweetening.


It was surprisingly good, too.  Maybe it's time I tried more vegan products.

We had a fabulous time at the Slow Food Fair.  I'm half tempted to go back for another visit today, but I think Bill is hoping to start another batch of his home brew.  If we're still here next year, we will have to make a point of visiting the Slow Food Fair again.  It really was a lot of fun, even if this year's exhibition was not as good as last year's.  Susanne said over 100 past exhibitors protested the new rules.  I can't even imagine another 100 exhibits!  I might have to book a room at a hotel and spend a few days!

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