Every year there’s a big pumpkin festival the next city over from Stuttgart. Every year we promise ourselves we’ll go. After 8 years, this was finally our year. When I saw that my childhood favorites Asterix & Obelix were playing starring roles, I begged Dave to take me. He happily agreed, and we had a fantabulous day on the grounds of Schloss Ludwigsburg (schloss = castle).
While Monday was Labor Day in the states, and a holiday for Dave + Tess, it was business as usual in Germany. That meant we enjoyed a peaceful, not-quite-all-to-ourselves, day at the pumpkin festival. I’m not a fan of crowds, or hot summer days, and we were blessed with minimal people and beautiful, cool, late-summer weather. If I could’ve turned the thermostat for outside, I would’ve set it to exactly 18°c (or 64°F).
The castle grounds are meticulously maintained, gorgeous flowers everywhere with little nooks tucked away around hidden corners. Even without the pumpkins in the gardens behind the castle, it’s a beautiful place to take a walk. We weren’t sure where to go at first, but as we got closer to the castle we could smell the pumpkin seeds roasting. Delicious cinnamon sugar scents came wafting over & around the tops of the building and we quickened our pace to get some for ourselves.
Behind the castle, the grounds dipped down. The path lined with pumpkins of every type & color. As we rounded the last corner, the pumpkin festival peeked out through the trees and the sign-O-pumpkins proclaimed: “ROMER” aka Rome. The theme this year was old Rome, including displays honoring Julius Caesar, Romulus & Remus as well as my beloved Asterix & Obelix.
The kids made a beeline for the pumpkin seed roasting booth, while I was distracted with free samples to try chili pumpkin ketchup, pumpkin bread, roasted pumpkin, spiced pumpkin, raw sweet pumpkin and raw not-sweet pumpkin. I loved it all! Though not the raw not-sweet pumpkin. I think that was kind of the point.
The cinnamon sugar roasted pumpkin seeds were amazing! We must have looked foolish try to gulp them down while they were still hot, very hot, out of the oven. Despite getting two cone-shaped bags filled with roasted seeds, we were obviously afraid of not getting enough of the delicious treat… we all risked burned tongues to get as many as possible. Why have I never thought of roasting pumpkin seeds with cinnamon & sugar? Guess what I’ll be doing with our seeds this Halloween?
We spent more time than I thought possible touring all the pumpkins, the gardens, the mini-amusement “fairy-tale” park, the old tower (complete with Rapunzels hair dangling down), and trying as many pumpkin dishes for lunch as our stomachs would hold. Dave, who normally hates pesto, decreed that pumpkin pesto is edible. Delicious even. The much-touted pumpkin soup was amazing. Pumpkin-y. Rich. Creamy. Warm and silk smooth. I think I could eat it every day. Even the pumpkin wine, secco, was tasty. The only thing the kids did not like was the fizzy pumpkin soda. Dave happily drank it all.
Even if there’s no Asterix & Obelix next year, I’ve already marked the Pumpkin festival on my calendar. I can’t believe I missed 8 years of this!