I’m one of those people who like to focus on details: when I watch a movie, I like to look around in the background even when the main characters are talking, I like to search for Easter eggs in films and series and I also like to snoop around different sections of events on bulletin boards, walls and other advertisement openings in bars, restaurants and cafes. This is basically how I make my way through places; I remember the signs, that certain poster or the strange looking bar.
I learned about the Tisch & Tafel event while I was waiting for my take-out at Udo’s Snack, a famous and very popular burger joint in Stuttgart. (If you didn’t read my very long rant on burgers in Stuttgart, you can see it here.) It was just a small pamphlet, but being interested in lifestyle and interior design these days, I decided to go. And I have to say, it was both fun and informative.
Coming from a rather big city like Seoul and also working for an English daily, I’m used to having some sort of media press kit in English, but I’ve learned the hard way that this is not yet the case in Stuttgart or the rather smaller cities. Some have information in English, while others don’t, and while some are usable, others are a bit sad. Nevertheless, this has just given me another reason to polish up my German skills, so oh well.
The Tisch & Tafel event is everything about food, drinks, culture, interior and home decor. Smaller than the Blickfang event that was held last month, it was a lot cozier and more personal, which was a good thing, but packed with people making it tricky to walk around and take photos. But they did have some interesting shows and events, such as cooking shows from the bar and restaurant Amici, presentations and tastings. I couldn’t taste and take into consideration all the booths (There were a total of 69) and brands that were presented, but I managed to pick some personal favorites and also some new ones that caught my eye.
Dinkelacker is a family brewery beer brand that was founded in Stuttgart, 1888. The original factory is in fact in Tuebinger strasse, very close to where we live and there are a couple of recommended places to try out the beer. The first is the actual brewery pub near the factory and another one is Carls Brauhaus near Schlossplatz. The latter we’ve been a number of times, mostly when we have guests and also when we are with friends are looking for a casual evening with good beer and food. A German family restaurant, if you will. The atmosphere is both German and modern, if that makes any sense, the staff friendly, food good and very traditionally Schwabian and the beer, excellent. They also have beer cocktails!
So being one of the most popular beer brands in the city, it was obvious they were at the event offering complimentary drinks. G may have gotten one too many, while I mainly focused on organic juices from Streker.
Das Schauwerk, which displays various lifestyle, interior and home decor brands from around Europe, was also present, but for some reason didn’t allow photos so, there you go. The little pastel-toned vases are from La Mesa, which is owned by Sabine Wittig, whose instagram I’ve been following for a while without knowing she would be there. Lovely, delicate products with gorgeous colors.
I was also already aware of the Ingwer Schwestern (Ginger sisters) through instagram and I thought it was interesting how Germans, or Europeans for that matter, consume ginger. In Korea, ginger is used both as an ingredient for various recipes but also as tea and medicine. It originates from southeast Asia and can treat colds, flus, fever and headaches. It’s known to be not so great for pregnant ladies though, because it can warm up your insides a bit too much and can also push down the baby south a bit too fast.
The brand produces homemade and natural ginger products, including ginger juice/extract for cooking or marinating, ginger vinegar or citrus ginger salts. I would have loved to try it, but since I’m pregnant, maybe next time.
Monkey 47 is a dry gin that we discovered not too long ago in Stuttgart. I was never a huge fan of gin, although I do prefer it over whisky (still can’t get it!), but the gin and tonics made with Monkey 47 was indeed special. The brand is from the Black Forest, like many other famous and popular gins out there apparently. Even if you go to a bar, the gin and tonics made with Monkey 47 is a bit more expensive, thus, a specialty. And even for gin beginners, you can really taste the difference.
One thing I can say about the brand is that they have an amazing website. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an interesting, thoughtful (?) and in-depth website for a brand in a long time. The history, product info and recipes, or prescriptions as they call it, you name it, they have it. And it’s regularly updated! Well done, Monkey 47.
I thought this was very cool but wasn’t sure if the taste was as good as the original. Spaezle is a type of noodle or pasta found in southern Germany and also Austria and Switzerland and in Germany it’s considered as a Swabian specialty, in other words, a typical dish for where I live, Baden Wuerttemberg. This brand called Frizle made a quick, instant version of the traditional dish: you fold up the packaging, rip off the bottom where there are small holes and fold the package over simmering water so the content inside comes through the holes like pasta. You cook the spaezle in the water for about 1 minute, drain the water out and ta-da. You have yourself a dish of spaezle, just like that. You need to add in some more ingredients like cheese, vegetables or whatever you like to eat it with, but it’s that easy. They were offering some samples and they also had three flavors (for now, I’m assuming) such as wild garlic, spicy chili and original. As “fresh” as it was, it was a bit grainy and you could tell it wasn’t handmade or anything, but I thought it was a great way to enjoy the special dish in just 1 minute. Fast, easy and convenient.
Of course, Kessler was there. Kessler is the oldest sekt, or sparkling wine, producer in Germany and is very popular around the region, obviously. The cellars are located in Esslingen, which is about a twenty minute train ride from Stuttgart city center. If you want to know more about Kessler, you can take a “virtual” tour from my friend M’s post on her blog. The cellar also offers both German and English tours.
Subscription boxes seem to be everywhere in the U.S., but I have to say I haven’t really seen a lot in Europe. There’s a beauty box one and also a stationary one, but I didn’t really get the feeling that it’s picking up in Germany, yet. So I was both surprised and interested to find Foodist Box, a “gourmet food subscription box.” The greatest advantage to this particular one, I would think, is that you can get products from all over Europe, plus a magazine and recipes. Being a “foodie,” it’s tricky to find snacks or drinks from other countries unless I’m actually there because of the cost and also because I would have no idea what to buy. For an introduction of an overall European “cuisine” (I would use the word cuisine quite loosely here since they offer smaller snacks and ingredients like jams, sauces, beverages and sweets), it may be a fantastic idea or even a great gift for a friend or family member.
According to Foodist, many of the products are “not yet or not easily available in Germany”, so you get your exclusive peak inside some high quality delicacies from around Europe. Very cool.
The event just started this year, and so I understand it being tricky to offer necessary info in English and all, but I could see it possibly expanding in the future. Not being too big and overwhelming was a great plus, and it was easier to get up close and personal to brands and also discover some new ones along the way. Many already established events tend to go with bigger and already well known brands, which can be a bit frustrating for people who are looking for new ideas and inspirations and if Tisch & Tafel manages to continue on this course, I believe it will grow in no time. It already has a date for next year, May 13 and 14 2017, so mark your calendars.
- Tisch & Tafel (Stuttgarter Nachrichten also covered the event in German and I managed to appear at the end of the article. It’s been a while since I was on a local newspaper or website as a blogger/journalist, so that was fun!)
- La Mesa
- Ingwer Schwestern
- Monkey 47
- Foodist Box
All photos by rachelsanghee. April, 2016.