A couple years ago, in September 2019, I was fortunate to see the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival north of Stuttgart. It is the largest Pumpkin exhibition in the world and has a new theme every year.
The Pumpkin festival is every year at the end of August at the Ludwigsburg Castle Gardens. It has a display of 450,000 pumpkins that are artistically designed into sculptures. In 2019, the theme of the pumpkin exhibition was „Fabulous Fairytale of the World“
20 Years Pumpkin Festival at the Ludwigsburg Castle
The first Pumpkin exhibition took place at the Juckerhof in 1997 at the town of Seegräben. Three years later, the Jucker brothers Martin and Beat Jucker brought the Pumpkin exhibition to the “Barock in Bloom” (Blühendes Barock) at the Ludwigsburg castle gardens. Since then, there has been a Pumpkin exhibition almost every year. There you find 600 sorts of aromatic edible pumpkins, colourful ornamental pumpkins, glowing carved pumpkins and gourds.
We enjoyed a cuisine of spaghetti and Cheese spätzle made from pumpkin. The other menu option were pan-fried pumpkin or pumpkin Maultaschen, pumpkin soup, hash browns, tartes flambées, burgers, also pumpkin pie and Strudel as dessert. For refreshments we had pumpkin secco and spritzer.
While strolling the grounds we saw several booth that sold freshly roasted pumpkin seeds for snacking. We bought some baked pumpkin seed bread from the bakery to take home.
The Ludwigsburg Castle Gardens:
Below is a Swabia Spätzle recipe. You could add mashed pumpkin to the batter by reducing the milk to achieve the right consistency.
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (or Swiss if not available)
1 3/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Salt and pepper
1 egg (large)
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons canola oil (or peanut oil if available)
French Fried Onions (optional)
In Swabia, the Käsespätzle are traditionally prepared with mountain cheese and/or Emmentaler cheese. In Vorarlberg there is a different type of preparation; you can find Montafon Käsespätzle with Montafoner sour cheese, and Bregenzerwald Cheese Spaetzle or Käsespätzle with mountain cheese and Räßkäse
Whisk the milk, egg and egg yolk in a medium bowl.
In a larger bowl mix the flour, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper.
Combine the egg mixture into the flour, leaving a few lumps.
Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
In a large pot bring salted water to a boil.
Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
Hold a colander (or a Spaetzle maker) with large holes over the boiling water. Add about 1/2 cup of the batter to the colander and press it into the simmering water with a spatula or the back of a spoon until everything has been used.
Cook the Spaetzle for 2 minutes longer, then drain.
Transfer the Spätzle to the ice water, swirling the dumplings until all of the ice melts. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, season
Oil a 9-by-13-inch oven safe frying pan. Spread the Spätzle in the dish and dot with some cut up butter and grated hard cheese which is alternately stacked.
Bake 400F for about 20 minutes, or until the Spätzle is hot and the cheese is melted
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil (1 tbsp) in a medium skillet. Cook the onion over high heat until softened, about 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Lay the fried onions over the Spätzle, some chives for decoration, then serve.
Cover with fried onions over the Spätzle, some chives for decoration, then serve.