The so-called „Pützchens Markt“ is a huge fair, held yearly in the city of Bonn, Germany. It always runs for five days beginning on the Friday before the 2nd weekend in September. It is one of Germany´s biggest fairs in terms of turnover. Approximately 550 businesses, exhibitors and vendors present their goods and activities on the 80.000 square meters fair-ground. The nearly one million visitors each year attest to what has become a favorite late summer tradition.
There are always hundreds of stalls where you can play carnival games, enjoy varieties of drinks and food including some German classics such as Bratwurst, but also the usual fairground sweets. You will even find a Bavarian beer hall to help you get in the mood for the „Oktoberfest“.
The fair has a long and fascinating past. Its roots go back to the worship of Saint Adelaide. Around the turn of the first millennium she provided food to the poor and her gift of working miracles soon became known. When in a period of great drought Abbess Adelaide thrust her crosier into the ground, water began to well up. The village "Pützchen" was named after this well and up to this day, believers hope to be healed by the well´s water. Pützchen is said to have become a place of pilgrimage around the middle of the 14th century. Soon traders started to set up tents and stalls to sell their goods here. Gradually, a fair developed which continued to expand and to diversify greatly with time. Soon traders, travelling people, wandering minstrels, entertainers, tamers and circus performers started offering their skills, trades and wares here and Pützchens Markt was born. Today, you could say that the fair draws on centuries of history, it has been attracting visitors for more than 640 years now, as the first recorded date for this fair can be set around 1367.
There is a tons of fun to be had with the many rides to choose from. There is the huge ferris wheel which could already be seen from afar while the fair was still under construction. This „Big Wheel“ with its open and rotating gondolas is the tallest of its kind worldwide and has been the landmark of „Pützchens Markt“ for many years now.
There is also a traditional merry-go-round…
…and some fierce „jungle fun".
Time for a break to enjoy some German sausage treats…
…or some burnt-sugar almonds (my personal recipe for this traditional fairground treat will follow below).
…or some sweet pancakes with various topping including, of course, that well-known chocolate-hazelnut spread from Italy.
While riding the merry-go-round, you could take a good look at, and certainly smell, the „Reibekuchenhütte“ where the staff was busy continuously frying those traditional potato pancakes that people love to eat with apple compote.
More fun rides and absolutely incredible blue skies...
…colorful balloons (guess which one the girls wanted to take home)...
…the weather held up beautifully….
…which in turn attracted even more visitors to the fair.
A rollercoaster with an observation deck.
Time for another break and maybe some colorful lemonade with ornages, limes, cherries and other fruits
Oh those spinning rides…
…guess someone got hungry and took a bite out of this surfboard.
Our girls certainly enjoyed themselves…
...and loved this huge slide…
…and could not get enough of these rides.
My absolute favorite - sweet, delicious, colorful, decorated gingerbread hearts.
And I got this personalized Kitchen Lioness Gingerbread Heart from my Schatzi – love it!!!
Traditionally the fair is opened by the mayor, broaching the first keg of beer on Friday. The end of the fair is marked by grand fireworks around ten o´clock on Tuesday night. Admission to the fair is always free, however you will pay for all rides etc. on an individual basis.
Ingredients for the Almonds
- 1 fresh vanilla bean or 3 tsps. pure (homemade) vanilla sugar
- 200 grams white sugar
- a good pinch of fine sea salt
- 125 ml water
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 200 grams natural almonds
Special Equipment needed
- a heavy-duty/cast-iron pot NOT a non-stick pan.
- a sturdy wooden spoon
- a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Preparation of the Almonds
- To make the vanilla sugar, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add it to the sugar. Mix well. (Instead of discarding the scraped vanilla bean, you can always place it in sugar jar with tight-fitting lid to flavor your sugar.) OR: Use 3 tsps. store-bought, qood-quality, pure vanilla sugar
- Add the sugar, salt, water and cinnamon into the heavy saucepan and set it over medium heat. Stir to mix, then bring it to a boil before adding the almonds.
- Add the almonds to the pan. With the wooden spoon, stir over high heat, to boil the water away.
- The sugar will dry out after a few minutes and the almonds will take on a grey-brown tinge. Keep stirring, so that the almonds do not burn on the bottom of the pan.
- Reduce the heat to medium, to keep the sugar from browning too fast and burning. At this stage, the sugar heats up and starts to melt again. It is already brown from the cinnamon, so it is hard to see the color change. Just keep stirring, so that the almonds become evenly browned and about half of the sugar is melted and gives the almonds a shiny coat. They will stick together but you will separate them later. When they are shiny, but not burnt, remove the pan from heat.
- Place the almonds on the prepared parchment lined baking sheet and using two spoons, separate the almonds if they stick together tooo much. Either let them cool completely or serve them while stillwarm. NOTE: the Fairground Burnt Sugar Almonds will keep best if kept in a tin or glass jar in a dry, cool place.