With October comes what travel planners call the shoulder season, a concept that applies equally to food-oriented festivals. Soon we’ll have the late-autumn fairs, then the Christmas markets, both with an emphasis on warming winter foods and holiday sweets. Over the past weekend, though, sandwiched between the harvest celebrations across Switzerland, Basel’s first ever street food festival pulled in the crowds and won our hearts. A star attraction at Street Food Festival Basel 2015 was a pulled-pork sandwich on a bamboo bun flecked with gold, but there were many other flavors to enjoy.
In pricey Switzerland, even street food can seem expensive. Happily for foodies, the vendors at Street Food Festival Basel offered tasting portions, or priced their full-size offering competitively. Thanks to tasting portions, Tom and I were able to sample a number of the offerings from 63 vendors and 35 countries. Even so, there was more food than we could possibly get our taste buds around. And we were not alone. The festival was blessed with beautiful, almost balmy weather–and a bountiful turnout.
If you were at Street Food Festival Basel’s first edition, you probably have a favorite food memory or two. If not, here’s an indication of what you missed!
Tastes from around the world
There was plenty of wine and beer, as well as a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages on offer at the festival. Bartenders made mojitos, baristas prepared Italian-style coffee. Drinks were paired with foods: Spanish chocolate and churros, Cremant and Tarte Flambé, hibiscus tea and Honduran baleadas. Two especially refreshing options we tried were Pássaro, a wine spritzer, and guarapo Maya, made of pressed sugar cane juice enlivened with orange and lime juice, mint, ginger and chilies.
New experiences, new businesses
Festival organizers Rolf Arnet and Konrad Begert brought this cultural event to Basel as an opportunity for new food experiences, and a time to share food with family and friends. “Basel is our home base” they told us, ” and the people in this border region are open-minded and love good eating.”
Street food fairs can be prime testing grounds for budding food businesses, and that was certainly the case in Basel last weekend. An impressive number of the participants brought their products to Basel, testing the waters for new culinary ventures, from catering to online shops to full-fledged restaurants.
Stay tuned for our next post, where we will introduce you to some of the passionate food-makers we met at Street Food Festival Basel!