Sweet stuff first
Maybe one of the most iconic sweets from the Basler Herbstmesse. They are thumb-sized sugar candies, filled with hazelnut praline. At the end of the 1860’s two confectioners from France participated in the Basler Herbstmesse with a completely new product: long thin stems made from boiled sugar pulp. Because it took way too long to produce these stems, other confectioners came up with the idea of making them short and thick instead. This is also where the name “Mässmogge” comes from. “Mäss” means fair and “Mogge” means “big piece”. Later, at the beginning of the 20th century, a French confectioner invented the Mässmogge with the hazelnut filling that we see nowadays with the hazelnut filling. Because it is quite expensive to produce the candy, there is only one manufacturer left who makes them: Sweet Basel AG. The candies themselves are very sweet.
Even though it has only been around for the last 70 years (which is youthful in terms of the rich history and long traditions of the Basler Herbstmesse!), the “Rosekiechli” is a firm tradition. It has its name because of its unique shape. “Rose” means exactly the same as in English, and “Kiechli” means small cake. And it looks just like a rose made out of cake. The powdery sugar on top of it always leaves white traces on your clothes which is a very small price for such a exquisite little sweet joy. You can find them only at the Petersplatz. “Rosekechli” are made out of eggs, sugar, white flour and milk. They are one of my favourite food experiences at the Basler Herbstmesse and I can’t imagine visiting the Herbstmesse without having a “Rosekiechli” at least once.
Where can you find the best Magenbrot? This is a question people in Switzerland have argued about for years. You probably won’t find two people in the same room who have the same opinion about this. Magenbrot is a small and sweet biscuit, reminiscent of gingerbread or Lebkuchen, made with flour, wheat, baking soda, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and sugar or honey. There are many variations of it, such as cacao-coated or hazelnut-flavored. You can also get them in the supermarkets in autumn but compared to the ones at the Herbstmesse, they taste rather flavourless and dry. Legend says that Magenbrot has medical qualities. In the earlier days, it was used to reduce flatulence, to help with digestion and even to soothe menstrual pain. As if those qualities weren’t enough reason to eat it already, Magenbrot also tastes wickedly good.
Those sweets are definitely worth the sin. They consist of a light foamy sweetened cream, covered with chocolate and coconut crumbles. For me it is also one of the must-eats for the Basler Herbstmesse, but once I’ve had one, I don’t need another one until the next year. The name actually means “kiss from the baker”. Tip: the best ones are from a stall on Petersplatz called Jonasch.
Roasted almonds are very popular sweet snacks at the Basler Herbstmesse. The almonds are roasted in a copper pot, together with water and sugar. so they caramelise. It’s a perfect snack to share amongst friends. They can be quite hard, so not really suitable for young children, or if you are overdue a trip to the dentist.
Typical street Food at the Basler Herbstmesse:
“Cheese Cheese Cheese”
I love cheese a lot. If you love cheese as much as me, then here are two insider tips for the best cheese menus at the Herbstmesse. The first one is called Hasi’s Alphütte, at Petersplatz. There you get a fantastic meal called “Doppeldecker”, which basically consists of “Hörnli” (Swiss name for macaroni), a bolognese-style sauce and on top of it some raclette cheese. Best eaten accompanied with a glass of “Glühwein” (mulled wine). It is a warming, umami heaven of a meal. The other tip is the “Fondue und Raclette Stübli” where you get a very decent, reasonably priced Swiss cheese fondue and proper old-school raclette. These are cooked traditionally, where half a wheel of Swiss cheese is slowly melted at the cut surface, and scraped onto plates to be eaten with steaming baby potatoes and tart pickles. You can find this food stall as well on the Petersplatz.
I know, I know. Eating liver is not really everyones cup of tea. But believe me, the fried liver they do at this food stall is out of this world. It’s so good, that for me, a Basler Herbstmesse without “Läberli” is unimaginable. I actually only eat fried liver twice a year. Once when Seppe-Toni sells them at the Basler Fasnacht (carnival) and once when he sells them at the Herbstmesse. My favorite “Läberli” they sell there? Try the “Läberli Madère” if you want to know why I love it so much. You can find Seppe-Toni on Facebook
What is your favourite street or sweet food in Autumn? Have any questions about the Herbstmesse? Leave us a comment below!