Every year at the Messe (meaning fairgrounds), the Markt des Guten Geschmacks (the market of good tastes) comes to town. I've somehow missed it the last couple of years, and so even though we've had a really busy week having just come back from our vacation in Italy (a post on that is coming soon!), I decided that I just couldn't miss this event again.
The Markt des Guten Geschmacks is part of the Slow Food movement that began with Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986. The group advocates for regional, sustainable, and artisanal foods, and local chapters organize events like this one all over the world. Germany's own chapter was founded in 1992, and they've since worked to promote the slow food philosophy at events around Germany.
I had the best intentions of getting out of the house early this morning in order to be at the Messe when they opened at 10 o'clock. However, the morning slipped by and we didn't end up there until the 3 pm "Happy Hour" had started. This was fine by us as the tickets were just 7€ (instead of 13€) to get in the door.
I'd never been to the Messe before (though I will be going again this year for ComicCon in June) and was surprised by how large it was. We had to walk in and out of the buildings past several other exhibition halls featuring gardening, yoga, and gemstones before we got to halls seven and nine where the slow food exhibition was located. We knew we were close when we spotted some animal pens outside with a couple of stunning Allgäuer cows and newborn piglets.
Hall seven was crowded, but not overly so, so that we could move around and sample the various foods on display with ease. Between the two halls, there were a number of stands featuring homemade jams and flavored mustards; spice stalls with mixes for dips and rare kinds of herbs; sparkling water and tea for charity; lesser-known cereals for the health-conscious; locally brewed whiskey and gin; craft beer from breweries around Germany; dark German and crusty Italian bread; red, white, and sparkling wines from the Pfalz and Rhineland; many, many different kinds of sausages made from pork and beef, and even boar, venison, and goose; more cheeses than I could count, from salty Bergkäse to pungent roquefort; exotic chocolates and pralines; and freshly baked cookies. In the back there were also workshops, lectures, food stalls, and stalls selling kitchen utensils and appliances.
Many of the vendors were German, though we saw quite a number of Italian stands selling authentic panetonne, cannolies, pecorino, parmesan, and prosciutto di Parma and several French stalls with pâté and honey. We were especially pleased by the 0,1L craft beer tastings for 1€ to 1,50€ and sampled a number of different kinds, including the Heubacher Belgian Tripel, Birrificio Farnese Calumet American Pale Ale, Hopfengut IPA, and Riedenburger Dolden Sud IPA, which was my favorite of the bunch. One stand even had my favorite gin from the Black Forest: Monkey 47.
Even though we nibbled quite a bit as we walked through the two giant halls, we were happy to settle on a crusty sandwich with freshly sliced prosciutto di Parma, followed by a cannoli and some shaved lemon ice to round off our palate. Though we didn't buy anything today, I was also especially tempted by the Pasta di Camerino stall. They were making some of their fresh pasta sautéed in a fried sage butter that was exquisite! Next time, I'll probably bring more cash, one of my grocery bags, and a mind to bring home some of the delicious cheeses, meats, and oils that we sampled.
Overall, we felt two hours was plenty of time for us to browse and get a short introduction to the fair. Not only was the ticket price right for the experience, but we also got some free eggplant arancini (fried rice balls) from the last stall where we got our cannoli from. I assume this was because the vendors were particularly nice there both times we passed by, and because it was the end of the day and they had to get rid of the food they'd already made. (Note that this seems like a good strategy for getting more food next year!)
The market runs from March 31st until April 3rd this year and goes from 10:00 until 18:00 on the weekend. Try to go on Sunday if you haven't been yet. Our time was certainly worth it, and I know I'll be back again next year with a better idea of what to expect. I may even try to attend the blogger's info session that Christie from A Sausage Has Two mentioned in her post from the 2015 fair.
Have you been to the Markt des Guten Geschmacks? What was your impression?