Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Carnival in Basel - The Food

I don't know where my time is going these days. I'm not really doing that much. I go swimming a couple of days a week, I try to come up with cute ideas for a nursery suitable for either a girl or a boy and I'm trying to pick where I left and brush up my programming skills. Obviously, it's not those little things that keep me busy 24/7 and away from this blog. I guess I can only blame it on my procrastinating habits. Besides, with the carnival anticipation building up in the city (and everywhere on fb) and children in Switzerland enjoying a two week holiday it was just two easy for me to get carried away by this feisty spirit.

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While carnival celebrations have probably ended in most places, we're right in the middle of them in Basel. They started yesterday at 4 am with the Morgenstreich (yep, you read that well, at 4 am) and will end up tomorrow night at 4 am - or more accurately on Thursday early morning at 4 am. I really don't know what's going on during that time because business carries on as usual and most people go to work like they would on any other ordinary day. Only children are off school and public transport is diverted from the city centre during the day. Maybe I should try and find out more next year; I'm sure they're not considered the three most beautiful days of the year for nothing. Die drey scheenschte Dääg, or so they say.

What I do know is that food seems to be an essential part of the carnival celebrations around here. As soon as Christmas treats are taken away from the supermarket shelves, those shelves are stocked in with carnival bakes and sweets. And people, who have waited for them for nearly a year, will start enjoying some of their favourite foods once again. I haven't tried them all but here's a list of what you can expect to find on the supermarkets and cafés if you were in Basel at this time of the year.

Käsewähe and Zwiebelwähe. These cheese and onion tarts (more like a dense quiche than a light tart) are the preferred food to be eaten during these three days. Most supermarkets cater them in portions to eat on the go and it is also possible to buy a whole tart to take home for the family to enjoy at home. Though Coop is our supermarket of choice here in Switzerland, Boyfriend prompted me to buy our waien at the Migros supermarket. Word has it that they make the very best käse- and zwiebelwähe in town.

kaesewaehe und zwibelwaehe

Basler Mehlsuppe. This is a traditional soup from the Basel region, as the name suggests. Mehlsuppe literally means 'floor soup' and it looks like a thick brownish cream soup. I have never tried this one so I cannot tell you much more about it.

Fastenwähe. These look like a pale version of a pretzel sprinkled with cumin seeds instead of coarse salt. They are, however, much lighter and their flavour is more distinctive, probably because of the cumin seeds. And their design is slightly more intricate than that of a pretzel. I am a big fan of Fastenwähe and I could treat myself to one of these everyday since they start appearing in every supermarket after new year's until they disappear once the carnival is over. Two days to go then, sigh!


Fasnachtchüechli. I have never tried this one either despite its appetising appearance. These round cakes look a bit like a rigid crepe out of a deep-fryer. They can be flavoured with vanilla or kirsch or have a more simple taste and simply be sprinkled with icing sugar.

Have you ever been to Basel carnival? Ever tried some of these? 
Is there something else I should add to my list of carnival foods to try?

Have a lovely Tuesday!

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