The Basel Autumn Fair is more than just the usual fun fair or amusement park. With its tradition stretching back over 540 years and the many special customs, the Basler Herbschtmäss is a part of the city's living heritage.
This traditional inner-city fair is very popular among neighboring Germany and France, regularly attracting about a million people to Basel. It is a colorful event with everything from mouth-watering sugary treats to traditional cheese fondue or mulled wine.
You will know when you get near the Petersplatz, the main food area, as you will be greeted by a scent of cotton candy, roasted almonds and melted cheese...
That's when you know, the Basler Herbstmesse is in town!
This year, the temperatures are milder than ever, with amazing weather and beautiful autumn colors. The streets are filled with kids eating candy, strands of balloons surrounding them, and the excited shouting of people on crazy rides in the background.
It feels like you are going back in time when you come to this festival. The streets are crowded with people from young to old. Everyone is at the Herbstmesse, which takes place in five different places across town from the afternoon to late at night: Barfüsserplatz, Petersplatz, Münsterplatz, Messeplatz and Kasernenareal/Claraplatz.
So, what is not to be missed at the food stands? Everyone is in line to buy the famous Magenbrot, which roughly translates to "stomach bread". It is like a gingerbread cookie, and they say it is supposed improve your digestion! Mmmm.... Maybe it will be good to eat at the end of the day?
Next is my all time favorite, the Beggeschmutz. The Swiss call this chocolate and coconut covered cream as much as "sweet kiss".
You can get the brown or the white one, depending on your liking. Just don't eat too much of it before you hop on one of these rides at the fair. (It will end badly.)
For all of you who miss the good old days of cotton candy Zuckerwatte, this is your chance to get one. No worries, nobody is going to give you a strange look!
Of course, you can not avoid the famous Basler Läckerli. You can get them in different flavors, boxes, or sizes - whatever your heart desires.
Speaking of hearts, why not have a Herzen gefüllt, or directly translated as "filled hearts"? They will fill your heart with joy!
Did you know that Biber comes form the Latin word "piper", which stands for "pepper"? In the Middle Ages, all foreign spices were called "pepper". The Biber tastes like gingerbread and you can have it filled with almonds or walnuts.
Not enough sugar yet? You can get apples and bananas covered in chocolate, just to feel a bit less guilty...
Hold on to your children, as the Basler Herbstmesse is the ultimate Candyland...
For a break from all the sweets, you can also find lots of cheese. Everyone is eating the hot dog bun filled with melted cheese, but I spared you the photo. It is definitely for all you fondue lovers out there.
How about a drink, for a change? The Zwätschge or "plumb" drink sounds healthy. Alternatively, you could choose a plumb beer.
The fair has you all stressed out? Don't forget to smile and maybe have one of these... They say it should help relieve stress.
The Basler Herbstmesse is a perfect place to learn some Swiss German, stock up on sweets and celebrate those golden autumn days! It is the largest and oldest amusement fair in Switzerland. (Oct 24 - Nov 8, 2020)
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