street food experience in basel herbstmesse (autumn fair) 2008

Herbstmesse in Peterplatz

Peterplatz, from the outside

Basel Herbstmesse or Herbschtmäss in Swiss German (Autumn Fair) is the oldest and largest fair in Switzerland (this is the 485th times this year). It is an event which not only kids look forward to but also for those who are young at heart who wants to have a bit of fun, go for a few rides, scream when coming down from the Power Tower; and for those who like street foods and local produce.

Being a non-Swiss, I am curious to know all kinds of food selling in the market stalls. This year I got to taste a few more things that I have not tried before. Thanks to Carmen for showing me all these goodies. So apart from just having sausages, raclette, Gebrannte Mandeln (almonds roasted in sugar), glühwein (mulled wine), Apfel most (Freshly non-filtered apple juice, warm or cold) and Magenbrot (spicy sweet bread), I have discovered a few more things this year.

Fresh Magenbrot

Fresh Magenbrot (Fresh Stomach Bread) contains stomach-friendly spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg flowers, it is said this is good for your body after having the heavy food from the food stalls and help your digestion.


Gebrannte Mandeln (Roasted Almonds coated with Sugar)

Gebrannete Mandeln (Almond roasted in Sugar)


Beckeschmuetz (the softest marshmallow in the world)

Beckeschmütz, these are the softest marshmallow in the world and my favorite. They are softer than you imagine. There is one stall where you can get white chocolate coated. They have to be consumed within 2 days maximum. I like buying a few home and eat as desserts.


Frisch Wacker Rosenkiechli

Frisch Wacker Rosenkiechli, these traditional cakes are in the shape of roses, they are very light in texture and sprinkled with icing sugar. I tried it 2 years ago but not this year, it’s not even possible to try a round of everything. Too heavy!


Kokosmakroenli (Coconut macaroons)

Kokosmakrönli (Coconut Macaroon)


Schoki Bananen (Milk or white chocolate coated bananas) with sesame base

Schoki Bananen, these are chocolate coated bananas, you can choose milk chocolate or white chocolate coated. This stall uses Lindt chocolate. The base of these bananas are coated with a layer sesames, they are simply lovely.


Cheese Stall

A cheese stall, small production not mass production cheese



Kartoffelpuffer (Potato pancakes), this is a traditional snack originated by the Germans, Czechs and Austrians. I found several recipes in the internet which you can replicate at home.  A portion comes with 2 big pieces, make sure share with friends. There are 2 sauces you can choose to go with them: apple sauce or garlic sauce. I chose apple sauce. They were really crispy, tasted like a bit of my mom’s potato cakes (chinese version) that was the smell which had attracted me to try.


This is how the Kartoffelpuffer look like.


I tried the Kaeaeskiechli (Swiss Quiche in small individual pieces)

Kääskiechli (Swiss quiche), I was told this one is very good, the size per piece is not too big so you can save up some space in your stomach to try other things

Schunggegipfeli (Left) & Epfel im Schloofrogg

Schùnggegipfeli (Left) & Èpfel im Schloofrògg (Right), more pastries, these are for next year to try out.


If you want to try more different types of food, you will have to visit the fair several times as one or two food items can fill you up very quickly. My excolleagues always get together at least one lunch gathering in the fair each year and have some fun together. It’s very refreshing to get some fresh air before getting your heads down again.

There are 6 places where the fair is happening at the same time but the one in Peterplatz has the longest history and I found the foodstuff there are better than the other sites. If you want to go for a few rides, then Messeplatz will fulfill your appetite. One thing I have noticed here is that most of the market stalls get the same spot each year, this makes it very convenient for us as we would know where to find our favorite stalls the following year.

There are just a few more days until the Herbstmesse ends this year, however, by the time you read this post I should have arrived Hong Kong and will stay for 2 weeks seeing my family and friends . So will have to wait until next year to discover more things …..


6 thoughts on “street food experience in basel herbstmesse (autumn fair) 2008

  1. Those Kartoffelpuffer (Potato pancakes) look so good! I don’t know which sauce I’d have chosen for me. I guess if you picked the apple sauce, I choose the garlic. Then you could taste mine and I could taste yours. 🙂
    Let me know when you have a recipe!!!

  2. Oh Janet, I had so much fun that after with you, wished that it didn’t rain so hard though. Now we have to wait for the Christmas market for another market of the year.
    Have a great time in HK!! We miss you in Basel already 🙂

  3. Thats one of the reasons I love Europe so much, all these markets and fairs and yummi foods…All looks so delicious!

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