The Swabians are said to have a lot of things going for them: creativity. Building houses. Being thrifty and all. One thing is missing, however – and it's a fundamentally important one: In Landle, they know a thing or two about indulgence. And how! Stuttgart and the surrounding area can do much more than Maultauschen and Trollinger, I bet? I convinced myself of this once again at the beginning of September during my trip with TastyStuttgart and VisitBawu. And yes, this article contains advertising – for Stuttgart.
Come with me on a little joyride, I'll show you my pleasure highlights in and around Stuttgart.
The best place to start is the market hall. It's been around for more than a hundred years, a true paradise for gourmets. Trade has been going on at this location in Stuttgart for much longer, since the 14th century. Century, but in the open air. The first market hall in Stuttgart, a glass building modeled on Les Halles in Paris, was built by King Wilhelm I. Built in 1820 after a market woman froze to death on a particularly cold winter's day.
The "new" market hall, built by Martin Elsasser in 1914 in Art Nouveau style, is one of the most beautiful in Germany. In his designs, the architect had the task of adapting the hall to its surroundings. He solved it this way: the side facing the old town, where the people lived, looks simple. The facade opposite the castle, on the other hand, is splendidly decorated with frescoes, oriels, turrets, arcades and a balcony. The thick tower at the corner to the bourgeois side as a connecting element.
Stroll through Germany's most beautiful market hall
Right at the entrance, the fruit vendors' displays tempt with grapes in golden yellow, blue or rose and whatever else ripens in the local gardens in summer. In addition, there are all kinds of exotic fruits that remind us of our last vacation. Precious, they lie carefully lined up like jewels. At the vegetable stand, the salad boxes are no less colorful – a dream in green, raining edible flowers.
The Italian restaurant across the street smells of fresh bread. Loaves, next to which a baguette shrinks to the size of a doll's house, load up the sales counter. I imagine dipping one of the thick slices in olive oil and start dreaming of Tuscany. Salami, ham, olives in all facets, antipasti like at the weekly market in the south, cheese, olive oil and wine – fans of Mediterranean cuisine will definitely be happy in the Stuttgart market hall.
Not only the. Ingredients for Asian cooking are on offer, as well as homemade hummus, falafel and other Persian specialties. My favorite: the stuffed dates. Hhmmm, delicious. With marzipan, with pistachios, with walnut, with candied orange, with parmesan, with salami … Okay, I'll stop already.
Each of the 34 stalls offers something special; the market operators take this into account when selecting vendors. It's fun to stroll through the spacious aisles. Hard to believe that in the beginning 425 traders crowded on both floors. To curb the chaos, there were strict rules. Here is an excerpt from the house rules of 1914:
Spitting on the ground is forbidden, as well as any shouting, noise, singing, whistling, making music and the purposeless propelling of people.
The fact that we can now shop in the light-flooded market hall is thanks to the commitment of the people of Stuttgart. Because the market was allegedly unprofitable, the building was to make way for a high-end department store at the end of the 1960s. Without further ado, the hall was placed under a preservation order – and was preserved.
If the market makes you hungry, you have three restaurants in the hall to choose from: the Marktstuble and the Fischhalle with oyster bar, as well as the Italian restaurant in the gallery.
It is also quite "dangerous" on the gallery with the cooking, kitchen, barbecue and decorative accessories. Like a best-of of good taste, all the ingredients for a fulfilled gourmet life are waiting to be taken back to your home. I could lose myself for hours in the cookbooks alone. And try out the six-burner stainless steel gas stove right away.
But first I'll show you some more pleasure hotspots. One that has what it takes to be a favorite place in Stuttgart is the Karlshohe and that's where we're going now. For our picnic we take some salads, fruit and – of course – stuffed dates from the market hall.
Picnicking on the Karlshohe
The Karlshohe is located in the middle of the city, from the market hall about 20 minutes walk, faster it's with the streetcar over the Marienplatz and from there up the relay. Below the beer garden (but with the same view) we find a place for our picnic blanket. In front of us the slope with vines, below the city and at the other end of the cauldron the TV tower – very instagramable. And also very popular with the Stuttgart people themselves. Joggers, walkers, dog walkers or lunch breakers leave everyday life behind them for a while at Karlsruhe. With our basket full of Kessler sparkling wine bottles we naturally stand out on a Monday morning. Birthday, someone asks? Nope, just for the heck of it. Well, that's just how the Swabians are.
By the way, Stuttgart's TV tower was the world's first to be made of reinforced concrete and a template for others, from Toronto to Tokyo. From the viewing platform at a height of 150 meters, you can see as far as the Swabian Jura and the Black Forest.
Did you know that Stuttgart is a wine city in the true sense of the word?? Wine is grown in 16 of the 23 city districts. So the vines grow not only around the cauldron, but also in the middle of it. The Karlshohe is home to the oldest vines in the city's wine estate: St. Laurent, Riesling and Trollinger. And one of the most expensive and noble varieties of Wurttemberg, the Lemberger.
Sitting in the vineyard and yet in the middle of the city, that's only in Stuttgart. How good the wines have become in recent years, you can see for yourself at our next stop in the wine museum.
Village idyll in the city: Uhlbach Wine Museum
From the city center, we can take the S-Bahn via Oberturkheim and the bus to the Alte Kelter in Uhlbach in about half an hour. Although I feel transported to the village in view of the geranium-adorned half-timbered idyll around me, Uhlbach, as one of the outlying districts, still belongs to the urban area of Stuttgart.
A total of 22 vintners grow wine here – including the city itself with its own winery – and serve a selection of it in the Vinothek of the Winegrowing Museum. Well-known Stuttgart vineyards are the Cannstatter Zuckerle at Lake Max Eyth, the Cannstatter Berg and the Stuttgarter Weinsteige. But even near the train station vines still grow on the Kriegsberg. All vineyard areas together add up to 420 hectares.
But before tasting, we take a look at the exhibition.
The low sun casts its soft light through the window, inside the Alte Kelter it is pleasantly cool. Counterclockwise, we stroll through the region's winegrowing history, which began around 2.000 years began.
We learn that some vines in Stuttgart grow on Keuper soils, a mix of loam and clay, others on shell limestone. Particularly mineral wines come from the Unterturkheimer Gips vineyard, which already bears the soil type in its name. Learn what the Bodagfahrtle is. This is how Swabia describes the influence of the soil on the wine. Those that grow on Keuper soils taste different than those from shell limestone. Winegrowers often speak of terroir, the interplay of various factors in the vineyard and cellar.
Old implements add to the display and wooden barrels that were once intricately decorated with carvings. One of them shows the scene of Duke Ulrich's wedding, at which the wine flowed for days, even for the people; it is said that more than four million liters were produced by the 30 winegrowers at the time.000 Stuttgarter have drunk.
Wine used to be so plentiful in Stuttgart that it was used to mix the mortar when building houses, no joke. The quality was of course not comparable to that of today.
Nine winegrowers from Stuttgart and the surrounding area now belong to the "VDP" association. The "Pradikatsweinguter", the wine elite of Germany. But even the cooperatives are getting better and better, as evidenced by the wines from the Unterturkheim wine factory, which took first place at the German Red Wine Awards.
We test our sense of smell at the aroma bar. Grapefruit and pear are quite easy to recognize, it becomes more difficult with the red wines. Is that blackberry or elderberry?? Not so easy to recognize a scent blindly.
The last panel explains the correct way to taste wine: judge the color, swirl the wine, smell it in the glass, take a sip, and let it roll around in your mouth. All impressions together determine the quality of a wine. In professional tastings, each individual criterion receives points, so that the wines become comparable – the maximum score is 20 or 100 points, depending on the system. As controversial as these ratings often are, a 95+ wine is always good for sales.
But nobody has to dive that deep in the wine museum. Hans Klepp and his team provide expert advice and, on request, detailed information about the wine and the vintner. This is how you learn about the aromas in wine, which can vary from apple, apricot to peach in Riesling, while cherry or blackberry notes can often be detected in red wines.
Ultimately, it's all a matter of practice, you taste what you know. Every Friday, the Vinothek Alte Kelter offers the opportunity to refresh your knowledge with a wine tasting, and on weekends you can simply drop by and enjoy a glass A la carte.
An evening in the vineyard cottage at the Rotenberg
Three vintners, three wines, three tastings – we get the urge for more. Fortunately the weather plays along on this September evening, because we spend it in the vineyard. More precisely, in the vineyard cottage of the winery Currle.
From the Alte Kelter we walk through the vineyards, which rise like an amphitheater. With every step the panorama changes, my camera jumps for joy. One motif follows the next: a burial chapel with vines, vines with a vineyard cottage, grapes glowing golden in the evening sun, vine leaves against the light … and a zeppelin is passing by the TV tower, almost unreal in its beauty.
The evening is balmy, the sun has long since disappeared behind the Wirtemberg, the cauldron begins to glisten in its mix of lights, the heat of the day evaporates. Time for dinner. In the hut of the Dreimadelhaus, Maultaschen, meat cakes and potato salad await us – as befits a Besenwirtschaft*. The tiny huts in the vineyard were originally intended as tool sheds or as shelter for the workers during thunderstorms. There is no electricity or water in the Weinberghausle, instead candlelight and for us the wines of Christel Currle from the cool box.
It became a funny evening.