this time of year sees a lot of markets happening around the place – the bern zweibelmarkt (bern onion market – a whole huge market devoted to onions, garlic and other stinkies! true!), a weihnachtsmarkt (christmas market) in every small town, and a bigger one in zürich city. bruno’s parents seem to visit all of them!!! here are some local specialities that have passed happily through the red kitchen courtesy of them:
from the bernese onion market yesterday: a gorgeously purpled string of fresh garlic (not old and dried out like much that is available).
also from the onion market: four strings of scarily perfect onions plaited together (in the manner of zopf)
bruno’s mother comes from bern, so we are well-acquainted with bernese specialities. this is a kind of honey-hazelnut gingrbread thingy. i’m sure it tastes good, but we have to wait until bruno gets home to devour it, because it’s his favourite from childhood, apparently. the black bear with the red tongue on the yellow background on the packaging is the bernese insignia. bern has a long (awful) tradition of keeping bears in pits for entertainment. they still do it!!!! how horrid!!
from the market of the little village down the road, last week: burnt sugar almonds. soooooo divine.
from the same market: magenbrot, literally, stomach bread. perhaps they mean it to be good for the digestion. whatever, it is perilously sweet and much like a brown sugar-encrusted piece of soft cakey gingerbread (lebkuchen). the swiss do so love their lebkuchen. indeed, so do i. this is my favourite sweetie from all these markets, and bruno’s parents well know it (hence the large, long-since consumed bag).
tomorrow there is a basar (bazaar) in our town, a kind of crafty market. last time i went in 2002 it was held underneath the local bibliothek (library) in the enormous, cavernous cellar which had been dug completely out of the stone underneath the old old house. they had managed to squeeze in an enormous real christmas tree, and it was weirdly beautiful down there, lots of people selling gorgeously hand-crafted trinkets and wares, the smell of hot chestnuts and pine cones burning, all in a huge old dungeon-like room. in the corner was also an absolutely gigantic old wine barrel, i mean REALLY massive, the size of a small car, or maybe even a big one! i think it is there again this year. i am meeting bruno’s parent’s there tomorrow after i take max to the chinderhuus, so that lola can have some one-on-one time with her grandparents. so often max is the focus of attention when grosmami and grospapi are involved. then, on sunday evening, it is the weihnachtsmarkt (christmas market) for our town, so i suppose we’ll head along to that, too, if only for the sweeties : )