Little Pumpkin-Lit Village

Rudolfingen 2015A few weeks back, a friend of mine (who knows I love Halloween/pumpkin/autumny stuff) sent me a text about going to a little Swiss village called Rudolfingen for a pumpkin festival. I was all in before I even really knew what the event was about. She had me at “pumpkin festival”… :-)

KürbisbeleuchtungRudolfingen has a traditional festival called the Kürbisbeleuchtung (pumpkin lighting) where the entire village turns off all the lights and over 1,000 Jack o’Lanterns illuminate everything. They also have all sorts of food stands with pumpkin-inspired snacks like pumpkin soup, pumpkin chili con carne, pumpkin french fries with pumpkin ketchup, and pumpkin cakes. As PeeWee Herman would say: “Mmmm! Pumpkiny!”

Today's secret word is: RUDOLFINGEN!

Today’s secret word is: RUDOLFINGEN!

One of the highlights was surely the pumpkin pinwheel with all the candlelit pumpkins spinning around. Click on the below video to see it in action.

It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and I think the pictures speak for themselves. Check out the schaurig schön (spooktacular) image gallery of photos below!

For more pumpkin reading, take a look at these other blog posts:

Pumpkin Circus

Swiss PumpkinsAs you may already know, October is my favorite month of the year! I know I haven’t been activly blogging for a bit now, but nothing gets my desire to share things on the internet fired up quite like October! Crisp air, gorgeous colors of changing leaves, apple cider, and pumpkins!

About 3 years ago, I shared with you guys some of the Italian pumpkin culture in Mantova. Well, now it’s time to share how the Swiss do pumpkins!

It’s been a lovely October so far this year. Not very rainy at all (which keeps those amazing shades of red, yellow, and orange hanging on to the trees a bit longer) and quite sunny. Me and my boyfriend had fantastic weather for a wonderful day in the town of Seegräben at Jucker Farm.

Jucker Farm

Only about 45 minutes form Zürich, Jucker Farm is an agricultural/tourism farm where you can stroll around the Pfäffikersee Lake, find your way through an apple orchard labyrinth, pick your own fruits, have a meal featuring locally grown food at the HofChuchi restaurant, or do some shopping at the farmer’s market. It’s also host to Switzerland’s biggest pumpkin festival!

The theme for the 2015 pumpkin festival was “Kürbis Zirkus” (pumpkin circus). There were sculptures made out of pumpkins, tons of pumpkin inspired food, a giant apple press for fresh cider, and lots of happy people enjoying a lovely outdoor Sunday in October.

Take a look at some of the pictures I took. It was such a nice (and cute) day!

Here’s wishing all of you a great autumn! 

Pumpkin Party

Let’s do some simple math: I love pumpkin + Mantova is the Italian city famous for pumpkin = I went to Mantova to eat pumpkin.

Boy howdy, did I ever eat pumpkin! Me, my boyfriend, and two of our good friends drove out to an agriturismo (a farm where you can eat local food that they produce themselves) and had ourselves a pumpkin party in the countryside surrounding Mantova.

We had fried pumpkin, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin-filled tortelli (similar to ravioli), pumpkin gnocchi, and even pumpkin pudding for dessert. Pumpkin-issimo! We also had chunks of parmesan cheese with mostarda, another speciality from the region.

After eating our fill of zucca (pumpkin), we decided to go take a stroll around the old city of Mantova to work off some of that food. I took a bunch of pictures of the entire day and wanted to share them with you here below. Enjoy!

P.S. For those who are interested, the agriturismo that we went to is called Il Galeotto, and specializes in rice. In fact, the risotto was, in my opinion, the best part!


* (that means “October” in Italian)

It’s my absolute favorite month for many reasons! Here are the top ones:

  • Halloween
  • my birthday
  • cold “snuggle” weather that’s not quite as bone-chilling as winter

Luckily, I can enjoy these three things living in Italy just as much as I did when I lived in America. There are, however, some things that I really do miss about being in America, especially in New England, during the month of October.

This year in Italy we had the warmest September in the last 150 years. It’s true! If you don’t believe me check out the story from the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. It’s in Italian though, so if you don’t speak Italian, you’re just going to have to go ahead and trust me on this one. Anyways, it was crazily warm here! I was going around in shorts and sleeping with the windows open until about two weeks ago. Even though this year was warmer than usual, autumn in general is less chilly than in Boston. I’m not sure if it’s because of the warmer temperature or different types of trees between The USA and Italy or even a combo of the both, but leaves here don’t put on that same spectacular show of changing into beautiful shades of red, yellow, and orange like they do in Massachusetts. The leaves in Italy seem to go from green to brown overnight and then just drop to the ground without any fanfare. The leaves changing color is something that I really miss! Not only because it’s always cool to see, but because it was also a sort of “signal” for me that October was here and that my two favorite holidays are coming up. (Yes, I consider my birthday a private holiday).

Another thing that I really miss is cinnamon flavored Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, candy apples, and pumpkin spice anything (latte, cookie, pancakes …). I love all autumny-spiced foods!  Every time I see an American friend’s Facebook status say something like “Having a hot pumpkin chai! Yum!” or see a picture they posted of them and their boyfriend/girlfriend making candy apples from the apples that they went and picked that weekend, I always think “That must be fun … insensitive jerk!”.

That said, there are some things that Italian October offers that American October doesn’t. One main thing, as I talked about in last year’s Halloween blog post, is the fact that the day after Halloween is a national holiday here, so you always have the day afterwards to rest up after your crazy Halloween party. Another thing is that you can find pumpkin ravioli and fried pumpkin flowers, which are both really delicious. Also, many small mountain towns in Italy have festivals in October where you can spend the day in the mountains wine-tasting and eating warm polenta. In fact, this year I went with my boyfriend and a couple of our friends to Morbegno for a fun wine-tasting where you get to go right into the cellars and sample the local wine accompanied by some brown breads and cheeses.

fried pumpkin flowers

So, it’s not a complete loss. There are plenty of ways to celebrate October right here in Italy, and fried pumpkin flowers are almost good enough to forget about the leaves not changing colors!