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14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com

14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

Each fall, hundreds of thousands of pumpkins are displayed in the gardens of a palace in Ludwigsburg, Germany.  The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is the largest of its kind in the world and this year the theme of the festival was “Pumpkins Take Flight.”

13 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com

There were over 400,000 pumpkins on display at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival ranging from small displays featuring just a few pumpkins to life-size sculptures with thousands of pumpkins.

13 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com

I took hundreds of pictures the day we went to the festival and have chosen my favorite to share with you today.  It’s hard to grasp the number of pumpkins that were at the festival unless you’re there to see it in person, but I hope you can get the idea!

13 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com

Festivals in Germany are known for their delicious food and this pumpkin fest is no exception!  Although I wasn’t able to try everything at the fest (the line was too long for the pumpkin fries, sad), we were able to try so many others!  Here are my favorites!

14 Scrumptious Eats
at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

      1. Pumpkin Muffin
        Now this muffin may not look like anything special, but the 6 kids I had with me devoured these muffins!  They were spiced perfectly and tasted like pumpkin pie!
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      2. Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Chip Cookies
        Not your traditional chocolate chip cookie, these pumpkin cookies were crisp with a touch of salty from the pumpkin seeds.  I may need to try to remake these using pumpkin seeds!  Genius idea!
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      3. Pumpkin Pound Cake
        This was my favorite dessert I had at the festival.  I love a good quick bread and this cake was delicious, especially with the ganache and seeds on top. 14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      4. Pumpkin Juice
        Served cold, this bubbly pumpkin juice tasted a lot like apple juice with just a hint of pumpkin.  It was pretty tasty!
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      5. Pumpkin Soup
        Rich, creamy and served with a drizzle of balsamic, toasted pumpkin seeds & rye bread, this pumpkin soup was divine.
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      6. Pumpkin Ravioli
        One giant ravioli filled with vegetables, cheese and pumpkin surrounded with pumpkin soup and topped with balsamic and pumpkin seeds.  Heaven.  Pure heaven.
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      7. Pumpkin Quiche (left) and Onion Quiche (right)
        Shredded pumpkin, egg, cheese and pumpkin seeds filled the pumpkin quiche while shredded onions, eggs and cheese were in the onion quiche.  These two weren’t my personal favorite, but my husband and friend Christy loved them.
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      8. Tomato & Pumpkin Pasta
        Bright tomato sauce loaded with shredded pumpkin tops a perfectly cooked pile of salsa.  The kids loved this!
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      9. Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta
        Pumpkin seeds are the base of the pesto that tops this salsa.  This was my husbands favorite!
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      10. Pumpkin Risotto
        This wasn’t as creamy as a traditional risotto, but it was packed full of delicious pumpkin flavor!
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      11. Pumpkin & Apple Turnover
        For dessert, we indulged in this turnover filled with sweet apples and crisp pumpkin topped with fresh whipped cream and toasted pumpkin seeds.  Epic.
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      12. Apricot & Pumpkin Jam and Raspberry & Pumpkin Jam
        I haven’t opened these jars of jams yet from the fest, but I’ve heard from so many people that they are so good it’s a must-purchase every year!  I especially can’t wait to try the raspberry!
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      13. Pumpkin Champagne 
        Bottles of this pumpkin champagne were also sold in small single serving size, which is why I knew I needed to buy a bottle for home!  It’s a definite indulgence worth the €7!
        14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com
      14. Roasted Cinnamon & Sugar Pumpkin Seeds
        I only snapped a pic of these roasted seeds with my camera phone for an Instagram pic, but they were the last food purchase I made on the way out of the fest.  The perfect sweet and crunchy snack!

        Cinnamon and sugar roasted pumpkin seeds! #pumpkinfest #Ludwigsburg #Germany

        A photo posted by Betsy @ JavaCupcake.com (@javacupcake) on

14 Scrumptious Eats at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival | JavaCupcake.com

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Polish Pottery Shopping in Poland: A Complete Guide

While living in Europe with the military, one of must-go-to places among the spouses is Boleslaweic, Poland to shop for Polish Pottery.  If you live here long enough, you’re likely to go more than once.  Last week, I went back to Poland for my third visit to buy pottery.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

This third visit was the smoothest and most productive Polish Pottery trip yet.  I was prepared, had plenty of time, with a budget and a list of what I wanted.  With that in mind, I decided to put together everything I’ve learned over the three visits here along with the helpful information from the collective military spouse community here in Germany to bring you this…

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Polish Pottery Shopping in Poland: A Complete Guide

Hotels
I have only stayed over night once out of my three trips to Poland for pottery shopping. I found a room on booking.com just north of Bolesławiec for €48/night for a 4-person room with kitchenette and bathroom.  It wasn’t anything special, but it was perfect for what we needed.  Noclegi Gregoland was about 10 minutes from the center of Boleslawiec and the pottery shops.

The Blue Beetroot is a very popular hotel for American’s to stay at when visiting Boleslawic.  They speak English and I’ve heard nothing but great things about them.  They also put together the map & guide of all the Polish pottery shops in the area.

You can also look on places like booking.com, airbnb.com and homeaway.com for hotels and apartment rentals.  If you’re going in the summer months, I suggest booking early because a lot of places fill up quickly in the town center.  Make sure to read the reviews and check the accomodation listings to make sure they have eveyrthing you need.

Gas
There are gas stations all over Boleslawiec. If you’re in the US Military from Germany, you can fill your ESSO card with money and pay US prices at any ESSO station in Germany.  Use the ESSO Fuel Finder app (Android/IOS) to help you find their locations.  I suggest filling up before you cross the border into Poland so you’ll have enough gas to go from store to store.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

ATM/Cash Machines
Just as you enter into Poland on the A4/E40 there is a gas station and rest area.  Here you can use the bathroom and grab some Polish currency called the Zloty.  I found this was the easiest place to pull out money on the way to Boleslawiec.   However, there are other cash machines throughout the city, just look for the banks because you can always find a cash machine there.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Currencies Accepted
Every Polish pottery store I went to accepted the Polish Zloty, the Euro and the US Dollar along with all major credit cards.  Bottom line is that they want your money and they want to make it easy for you to give it to them.  However, you are in Poland and it’s easiest to pay in Polish Zloty.  I found that some of the smaller shops didn’t give back change in the currency you paid in but in Zloty.  So, I suggest stopping at a cash machine to get Zloty.  It’s just easier.

Restaurants will always take Zloty and most will accept your credit cards.  But, you will find that some only accept cash so it’s best to be prepared with Zloty.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Best Time of Year to Visit
tumblr_nt0eddKlEg1rgfirdo3_500I have been in early Spring (March), late Fall and Summer to shop for pottery in Boleslaweic. The stores are open all year except for on holidays.  The summer months are always the bussiest and most crowded because the weather is the nicest and it’s easier to walk from shop to shop without bad weather.  However, if you plan to go in the summer and want to avoid the crowds try going on a week day as well as not during a festival weekend.

The best deals however are on the big festival weekend in the summer.  In 2015, I went on the weekend of August 21-23 and all the stores had sales and may had festivals with free food, games, entertainment and prizes.

Check each store you want to go to for when their fesitvals and sales are when planning your trip.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Getting to Boleslawiec
Since I live within driving distance, I can only advice you on how to get there via car.  The A4/E40 takes you straighgt into Boleslaweic from Germany and is really the easiest and most direct route from Bavaira where I live.  My best advice is to put your first location (hotel or shop) into your GPS before you leave to gauge how long it will take you to drive there.  It really is worth the drive if you live in Europe.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Parking
We did not encounter any issues with parking at any of the pottery stores in Boleslawiec. There was always a lot of street parking outside of every shop. During the festival weekend, there was only one lot I saw that was asking €1 a car to park. Some of the street parking in the city areas does require you to pay at a meeter, so bring change for that. Otherwise, parking is not a huge concern.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Where to Eat
I have only eaten at two Polish restaurants during my visits, but each was outstanding but I highly recommeend eating at Chata Opalkowa.  Chata Opalkowa is where I had the most amazing perogies ever.  My first visit to Poland I had perogies, but they weren’t anything to write home to mom about.  These however were so good that I have made it my goal to learn to make them before I leave Europe.  Yes, they were THAT GOOD.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Where to Shop
The Blue Beetroot hotel has already put together “The Map”. Among the military community here in Europe anyone who has been to Poland is farmiliar with “The Map” and we live by it on every visit. So, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and make a new map or point you to google maps… I’m just going to share with you “The Map” by which we plan each and every trip to Boleslawiec.  This map comes with a complete guide to every shop and what they sell, their location and hours and what currencies they accept.  It truly is a must-have tool for your trip.

Polish Pottery Map of Boleslawiec, Poland | JavaCupcake.com

You can see that locations are numbered.  The guide has all the detailed information about those locations and can be downloaded here…  Complete Guide to Pottery Shopping in Poland

Please note that this map is NOT to scale.  You’ll need to use the locations listed on the guide to plug into your GPS to help get you there.  Many of the shops also have websites and often have a Google map or GPS coordinates to help you get there.

Knowing What You’re Buying – The Quality of Polish Pottery

Not all Polish Pottery is created equal.  You may find one bowl you love in a certain pattern in one price, but find another with a different price.    This is because the quality of the pieces vary depending on their defects.

On each piece of pottery will be a sticker with the “Gat.” rating. “Gat” is short for gatunek which means “quality category.” You’ll find pottery ranging from categories one through five.  You’ll want to stick to #1 and #2.  These are the best.  Most of the brush stroke defects are very small and often times can only be see to the trained eye.

Gat Polish Pottery Quality Guide:

  • “Gat 1” is the best quality; there aren’t any defects in the pottery whatsoever.  Dishwasher, oven  and microwave safe.
  • “Gat 2” may have a stray brush stroke or mis-stamp, but the pottery itself is still perfect.  Dishwasher, oven and microwave safe.
  • “Gat 3” may have a crack in the glaze or may a have an air bubble in pottery. These pieces should not be used in the microwave, oven or dishwasher as the bubble may burst with the heat.  Do not soak in water for the water may soak into the pottery.
  • “Gat 4” may have a chip or crack in the pottery. These pieces should not be used in the microwave, stove and dishwasher or soaked in water.
  • “Gat 5” will have major cracks or chips and are best for decoration.  Do not eat on these pieces and do not put in the microwave, oven or dishwasher or soaked in water.

You will also notice a difference in price depending on the style/pattern of the pottery.  More expensive pieces mean their pattern is either rare or in high demand.  You will pay more for the unique pieces with rare colors.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

My Favorite Places to Buy Polish Pottery in Boleslawiec

I have been to every pottery shop on “The Map” and a few of them stand out as favorites.  Starting with my most favorite store, I’m going to breakdown why I love them and what makes them different from the others.

MANUFAKTURA (#13 on “The Map”)

Manufaktura is my #1 favorite store in Boleslawiec because each time I have been there I have found things I love and can not live with out. Their selection of patterns is vast and their prices can’t be beat. This is the store that I bought the bulk of my Polish pottery from on my second visit when I got all of my everyday plates, bowls, serving bowls, etc. Manufaktura has a large sale section where every item is 20-30% off.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

This year, I went to Manufaktura during their anual festival weekend. In addition to their sales and selection they offered free food, factory tours, games with prizes, pottery painting and lots more! It was amazing to spend hours in the store shopping then relax in their back yard with a bowl of homemade goulash, bread and a beer.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

I never would have imagined being able to paint my own pottery too while in Poland, but Manufaktura offered me that experience. They took their tools and supplies straight from their workshops and made them available to the public to create their own unique designs. It was amazing to be able to do, see, experience first hand the process of painting pottery by hand.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

I didn’t take the tour this time, but I did get to sneak a peek into one of their work rooms!  Rows and rows and rows of pottery waiting to be painted.  And this was just one small part of their factory!

And because I’m so fascinated with Polish pottery right now, this video from Manufaktura shows a behind the scenes look at exactly how their pottery is made. Such an amazing process!

I have probably purchased more items from this store than any other.   In fact, we are planning one more visit to Poland before we leave Europe and this will be our first stop.  I HIGHLY recommend Manufaktura!

CERAMIKA ARTYSTYCZNA (#15 on “The Map”)

Everytime I go into Ceramika Artystycana I find unique patterns and pieces I have never seen before.  This shop isn’t the biggest in space, but their shelves are packed and the prices are great!  You can see in this picture how packed the shelves are!

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

In Ceramika Artystycana you will find everything from tea cups and saucers to dinner plates, baking dishes, home decor and so much more.  They sell only the highest quality products.

Ceramika Artystycana also participates in the festival weekend in August with food, entertainment and great discounts!

This photo is from my first trip to Poland in 2012 outside of Ceramika Artystycana!

Across the street from Ceramika Artystycana are several smaller shops (#4, #8, #3 on “The Map”) that are definitely worth going to.  Some of these stores have an upstairs that contain discounted items as well as wicker baskets and other unique items.   If you’re looking for a deal, check out these shops.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

I scored this aqua cake stand, the only one I saw in all of Boleslawiec at one of these smaller shops.  I did see this pattern at Manufaktura, but no cake stands.  It pays to go into the smaller shops, you find onesies and twosies of things you may not find in larger shops!

MILLENA POTTERY (#6 on “The Map”)

Out of all the smaller, off the beaten path, shops we went to, Millena was my favorite.  This was a “mom and pop” shop that is located in the owners home and factory.  It’s about a 10 minute drive from the center of Boleslawic, but compeltely worth the visit.  We were the only ones in the store when we were there and I loved that we could take our time, not feel rushed and had the attendents complete attention to asnwer and and all questions we had.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Millena had purple patterns and unique floral designs.  They had so many other colors besides purple too, so much it prompted me to take pictures of everything.  Most of the pictures from this post are actually featuring the bright colored pottery from Millena.  I couldn’t get over this boutique shop and highly recommend it if you have the time to stray away from the city center and the clusters of shops there.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

My friend Lizzie scored these two tea pots, cups with saucers,  and tea bag plates from their sale rack.  They don’t completely match perfect, but it didn’t matter because the price was right!

ANDY (#1 on “The Map”)

ANDY is a fan favorite of everyone I’ve ever talked to about going to Boleslawiec to shop for pottery.  Although the shop isn’t the biggest, their selection has always been amazing and their prices even better!

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

On the first day of the festival weekend, Lizzie and I were the FIRST ones at ANDY to shop.  Bright and early at 7am Lizzie and I took a selfie as proof that we were first!   They were also having a festival with discounts for shopping this weekend and free food and entertainment! Although I didn’t come out of ANDY this time with as much pottery as I thought I would, I will definetly be back and I 100% recommend for you to stop here.

ANDY is so friendly to Americans.  This is the only pottery shop that I know of that will do custom work specifically for military related items.  I have seen Girl Scout mugs made, gifts for unit functions made here and military-related items curated by ANDY.  If you have an upcoming event you need custom work for, I highly recommend contacting ANDY.  Just make sure you give them several weeks/months advance notice!  They will ship or you can pick it up!

HENRY’S (#12 on “The Map”)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find Henry’s online.  However, I did find this blog post that is completely dedicated to Henry’s, has a lot of pictures and is very helpful with lots of details about the store.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Henry’s has a great selection of the small stuff like spoons, wine stoppers (pictures above) and THIS (which is NSFW or little eyes… so I’ll just let you click on the image AT YOUR OWN RISK.  And yes, it IS WHAT YOU THINK IT IS!! hahaha)

What Did I Buy this Trip? 

This visit to Boleslawiec I was on a limited budget and had only an vague idea of what I wanted.  Since I had been twice before (you can read about my first visit here) I knew I was looking for patterns that I had not seen before in colors that were unique also.  I also knew I wanted to buy a mug stand and fill it with small coffee/tea cups.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Can you tell what color I found?  I don’t know if you call it aqua, teal, seafoam, mint or a combination of them all… but I will tell you it’s one of my favorite colors!  I bought coffee cups, a plate, buter dish and cake stand in this color.  Swoon.  I’m in love!Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

My friend Lizzie had gotten a mug stand on her last trip to Poland and I fell in love as soon as I saw it.  I have tons of Polish pottery, but not a lot of it is out and displayed.  This mug stand was the perfect way to do that!  So, this trip I bought one and filled it up with the most colorful mugs I could find!  I can’t wait to have friends over so we can sip coffee together from these mugs!

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com  Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

And I am seriously dying over this water pitcher.  I found this one downtown at the main festival market.  We arrived there so early that hardly any of the stands were open but as soon as I saw this, I snagged it.   It had to come home with me!

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

This might not be my last trip to Poland.  There were a couple of items I had my eye on that I didn’t purchase this time and may want to go back to get.  And my husband saw some prints that he loved too… so I feel another trip coming on this winter!   I think I may just go back to buy more of the dot/swirl patterns in blue.  LOVE them.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

A Gift for You!

If you’ve made it this far down in this post I’ve got a surprise for you!  I picked up three mugs for three of you! Simply complete the entries below and 3 of you will get a mug I picked out just for you from Poland!

Winners must have a USA or Germany mailing address.

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland - A Complete Guide | JavaCupcake.com

White Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream Cake

Celebrate your next birthday with this perfect-for-summer White Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream Cake!

White Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream Cake | JavaCupcake.com

If you’ve been following JavaCucpake for the last four years you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of my local gelato store Pinguino Eis in Grafenwoehr, Germany.  Last September, Phillip (the owner) and Luca allowed me into their store to view the process of making the gelato.  It was so fascinating to see the process first hand how they make the most delicious ice cream I’ve ever had.

White Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream Cake | JavaCupcake.com

Recently, Pinguino Eis began offering ice cream cakes or Eiskuchen in addition to all the other deliciousness they serve at their cafe.   This happened to be perfect timing because my husband Dave requested and ice cream cake for his birthday!

We chatted with Ariana (co-owner) about the flavors we wanted and she wrote down all the details.  Dave had a vision of her perfect ice cream cake and we knew that vision could be fulfilled by our friends at Pinguino!

White Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream Cake | JavaCupcake.com

From bottom to top…

  • Cookie crust
  • White chocolate gelato
  • Espresso gelato
  • Toffee bits & almonds on the side
  • Fresh whipped cream
  • Chocolate covered espresso beans
  • More toffee bits  & almonds on top

White Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream Cake | JavaCupcake.com

Can can think of anything more delicious than this?  Not only is all their gelato fresh made daily, but the entire cake was made by hand from scratch!  This is why I love living in Germany so much.  Everything is made by hand with love.  It’s just the only way they know how to do things here.

Eiskuchen-77wm

A big thanks to Phillip, Ariana, Luca and the entire crew at Pinguino Eis for helping make Dave’s birthday so special!

Visit Pinguino Eis on Facebook for more info about location and hours!

 

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

Ritter Sport ChocoShop – Waldenbuch, Germany

If you love chocolate and you’re in Europe you must take the time to visit the Ritter Sport Chocolate Factory, Museum and Store in Waldenbuch, Germany.  It is a chocolate lovers paradise!

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

On my husband’s bucket-list of places to see before we leave Germany was the Ritter Sport Factory & Store in Waldenbuch, Germany.  I went to the Ritter Sport store in Berlin a few years ago with friends, but my husband was deployed and couldn’t come. Boo.  So, our family made sure to stop for a visit on our last vacation!

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

The Ritter Sport Factory has a beautiful art museum that is full of art inspired by the square.  In the museum you’ll find Marli Hoppe-Ritter’s collection of contemporary geometric and abstract art in the museum building designed by the Swiss architect Max Dudler.*   It’s fascinating and really quite fun to see so many bright colors and shapes.  Matty, who is three, loved picking out the square shapes in the art and found all the bright colors fascinating to look at.  I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures of the art, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

*from the Ritter Sport website

In addition to the museum, Ritter also has workshop for kids and a cafe.  An experience for the entire family!

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

Upon walking into the Ritter Sport ChocoShop, I felt a rush of excitement and joy as I was surrounded by chocolate!  It was overwhelming and exciting all at once and I couldn’t wait to explore the store.

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

Shelves lined the store from wall to wall filled with every flavor of Ritter Sport chocolate you could ever imagine.  Classic flavors like Alpenmilch (chocolate made with milk from cows raised in the German Alps) to adult flavors like Honig-Salz-Mandel (chocolate with honey, salt and almonds) and Rum Trauben Nuss (chocolate with rum, grapes, and hazelnuts).

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

Chocolate as far as the eye could see.  Around every corner was a new flavor to explore!

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

One of my favorite surprises in the store were the tall, thin boxes filled with chocolate squares reaching one meter long!  An entire meter of chocolate!  Oh my!  Of course, I needed a photo-op with the meter-o-chocolate! HA!

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com  Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

One of my favorite parts about the ChocoShop was the bright colors.  Everywhere I turned it was a rainbow.

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

The store even had a cookbook full of recipes to make using Ritter Sport chocolate!  I walked out of the store without buying this and I totally regret it!

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

Tucked into the back of the store was a special room.  The room that had everyone excited and frantic.  The Reject Room.  Well, that’s not the official name, but that’s what I called it because it was full of the chocolate that wasn’t good enough to sell in the store.  The imperfect chocolate.  The defect chocolate.  The ugly chocolate.

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

But really, do you care what your chocolate looks like when you eat it?  I don’t.  So… I bought a lot of chocolate from this room.  It was SO CHEAP.  Seriously.  Pennies.  I was in heaven.  Blocks of 4 bars wrapped in paper just for me?  Yes, please.  I’ll take 3!

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com  Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

In this room was also chocolate sold in bulk.  Bags and bags of bars of chocolate they just made too many of ready for me to take home and eat.  Grab and go.

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

There were even bulk bags of the mini bars of chocolate.  I can’t even.  Seriously.  What’s this?  A huge basket full of tubs of hazelnut spread (aka the Ritter Sport version of Nutella).  Yeah.  Tubs for days.  I could have bought all of those too.

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

There was one section of the Reject Room that I couldn’t get a picture of because there were people crowded in front of it the entire time.  It’s for good reason too… this section had all the test bars.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Test Bars.  Flavors that Ritter was testing out for possible future sale.  Flavors you’ll never find anywhere else.  Flavors like…

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

Wiesse Zimt Crisp.  I mean white chocolate with cinnamon crispies inside.  Have you ever heard of such deliciousness before?  I seriously hope this become a staple Ritter Sport flavor because it was so incredibly delicious.  Also in the test bar section was Schoko Brownie (chocolate brownie), Haselnuss (hazelnut), and Aprikose Holenderblute (apricot elderflower).  My husband was in love with the elderflower bar as it was unlike anything he’d ever put in his mouth before.  So good.

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

We picked out as much chocolate as we thought we needed and went to the register to pay.  All of this for only €20.  We went back three more times to get more.

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

Including this super cute tote bag.  Living in Germany you tend to collect a lot of canvas bags.  When I saw this one it went in my cart.  Done deal.

For more info about the Ritter Sport Factory, Museum and Store make sure to goto their website!  So much info there to help you plan your trip!

Address:
Ritter Sport
Alfred Ritter- Str. 27
71111 Waldenbuch
phone: +49 (0)7157 974 74

Hours:
SchokoAusstellung – Chocolate Exhibition
Monday to Friday: 0800 – 1830
Saturday: 0900 – 1800
Sunday: 1100 – 1800

SchokoShop – Chocolate Store
Monday to Friday: 0800 – 1830
Saturday: 0900 – 1800

Museum Ritter – Art Museum
Tuesday – Sunday: 1100-1800

Museum Cafe
October – March: Daily 0900-1800
April – September: Daily 0900-1900

All sites are closed on: Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, 1. May, Whit Sunday, 24. – 26. December, 31. December, January 1 & 6

Parking and Admission:
Parking is free.
Admission to the museum is €6 for adults. See their website for more pricing info.

GIVEAWAY!

Ritter Sport ChocoShop - Waldenbuch, Germany | JavaCupcake.com

You know I wouldn’t goto the Ritter Sport ChocoShop without getting some for my readers!  I picked up 8 test bars, 6 mini bars of my all time favorite Ritter chocolate Goldshatz and a 10 year anniversary bar.  You won’t find any of these in the USA, that’s for sure!

The test bars include 2 each of Weiss Zimt Crisp, Haselnuss, Schoko Brownie and Aprikose Holenderblute.  The anniversary bar is a is a chocolate bar with crispies (knusper) and tortilla chips.  Crazy, I know.

Open to USA and Germany mailing addresses only.  Fill out the entry form below.  Winner will be chosen July 22, 2105.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Explore the Nuremberg Easter Market

Every Spring, cities and towns both big and small in Germany celebrate the Easter season with a festive market.  The Ostermarkt (Easter Market) in Nuremberg is packed with vendors selling everything from flowers to jewelry, kitchen wares and food.  This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with two fellow Army Wife bloggers in Nuremberg for a Bavarian Blogger Meetup!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Melissa of Milligfunk (a Healthy Lifestyle, Travel & DIY blog) and Jamie of North of Something (a Family Travel blog) met up with me and my husband, Dave, for a fun day of shopping and exploring at the Nuremberg Ostermarkt.   We began at Starbucks for a coffee and snacks where we spent some time chatting and getting to know each other.  I really enjoyed being able to share my blogging experiences with other bloggers who really “get it”.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

The Nuremberg Easter Market is nestled between a cathedral and restaurants in the heart of the shopping district of the city.  Rows upon rows of little stands line the Main Market Square in front of the Frauenkirsche Cathedral.

Since I had been to this market several times before, this trip I wanted to focus on all the food and kitchen related stands to share on JavaCupcake.  I could have spent many more hours browsing the isles and dreaming about stocking my kitchen with all the fabulous tools, pots and pans and pottery I found in the market.  If only I were made of money!

My favorite kitchen stand is this one.  It’s right on the corner of the first row at the market and I stop her first every time I come.  There are at least two other stands just like this one at  the market, but for some reason this is my favorite.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

As you can see, this stand is packed full of kitchen goodies.  Let’s take a closer look…

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Whisks, cutting boards, bottle cleaners, pizza boards, spoons… and that’s just in this tiny little section of the stand!  I think I stare at the whisks and pick up every single size each time I visit.  I want one of each please!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

And then there’s the bakeware.   Muffin pans (they don’t really make too many cupcakes in Germany) and mini cake pans… and see that bunny and sheep pan in the back left?  I wish I would have taken a better picture of that, but those are traditional cakes that are made every Easter here in the shape of a bunny or a lamb!  I am going to have to buy a pan before I leave Germany!

BavariaBloggerMeetUp-17

Germans love cakes and tortes and anything they can bake in a springform pan.  Seriously.  This was just one small section of these types of cake pans.  I really wish I could go home with one of everything.  (Yes, I’m probably going to say this after every photo!)

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Cookie cutters for days!!  I really wish I knew how to flood cookies using royal icing because I would want to make a cookie in every one of these shapes.  There were probably half a dozen stands with cookie cutter displays with at least this many, if not more to choose from.  Some of the stands even had cookie cutters that looked like cathedrals from neighboring cities!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

There’s one stand that sells silicone everything.  Mats, toppers for your pots, candy molds, cake molds, ice molds.  Anything you can imagine that could be made into a mold, they sell it.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

And then there’s this. Oh. Em. Gee.  I like die and go to Heaven every time I come to this stand.  The colors alone are enough to bring me joy for days!  If I could buy the blue, lime green and orange… one of each in those colors…. well, let’s just say I’d NEVER LEAVE MY KITCHEN.  I’d just stand there staring at all the beautiful tools!

BavariaBloggerMeetUp-43

I mean really, have you ever seen anything like this before?  So many pots!  And they’re all different!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

And these ladles.  I mean, they have holes in them so it’s not like I could use it for soup… but I mean COME ON!  I’d just want to get one in each color to hang on my wall because they are so pretty!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

So besides kitchen gadgets and tools… this market is full of dishes, pottery, tea pots and any serving dish, plate or platter imaginable!  In the picture above you can just see one small sample of the rows and rows and rows of dishes to choose from.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

I almost came home with one of these tiered stands too.  Unfortunately, I was kidless and strollerless on this trip to the market and had no where to put something this big while I shopped.  But oh aren’t they pretty!!??

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Some of my favorite pieces were the brightly colored Easter egg plates.  Wouldn’t one of these be so cute on an Easter brunch table?

Can we talk food now?  Seriously… there was so much good food at this Easter Market.  I could have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner there… plus a few snacks between!

BavariaBloggerMeetUp-79

Is is the best bread stand at the market.  Behind the front counter they are baking bread fresh all through the day! Piles of freshly baked bread line the windows of the front counter area.  They have two choices of bread sizes… big or bigger!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

This bread isn’t a white bread… it’s a darker, richer, denser bread full of flavor.  My favorite is the mini loaves filled with raisins.  So good! Every time we come to this market, my husband and I go home with at least €20 in bread!  We’d be crazy not to!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Behind the counter is a German man who I’m sure has been making bread his entire adult life.  He stands at the same spot most of the day, pulling giant balls of dough out of a tub and hand cutting them into pieces to bake.  I probably could have watched him do this for hours.  It was fascinating!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

If you’ve been reading JavaCupcake since I’ve moved to Germany, you may remember me mentioning a few times how much I love potatoes since being here.  My snack of choice at any market or fest is always the potatoes.  The Nuremberg Easter Market is no exception.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

There’s nothing new or special about these hard candies.  You can buy them at any local grocery store here in Germany.  But, there is something about seeing a long row of these big glass jars full of candy with piles of little bags behind them.  It’s massive and I get sucked in every time I see it and go home with at least three flavors!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

These are freshly fried and seasoned thinly cut potato chips.  And yes, they taste as good as they look.  Crisp, salty and so addicting!   I love these so much, I made my husband take a picture of me with them!  Ha!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

For lunch, Dave had a beer battered fish sandwich…  made to order.  He said it was probably the best fish sandwich he’d ever had.  He had no idea what that white sauce on top was, but he said it was delicious!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

The market also had lots of German favorites like these baguettes topped with cheese and veggies.  This type of open-faced baguette topped with things is pretty typical.  My favorite are the ones topped with garlic butter and cheese… mmmm yeah.  Cheese!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Both Jamie and Melissa enjoyed roasted corn on the cob and needed 10 napkins each to clean up the deliciousness!  I’ve never seen a mountain of corn before though, have you?

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

And we can’t forget about the pretzels the size of your head!  Oh… and covered in CHEESE!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

These pretzel shaped donuts were something I’d never seen before.  They weren’t at the market, but they were at a little shop that lined the market.  I’ve seen pretzels and I’ve seen donuts but not pretzel donuts! YUM!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

One of my husband’s favorite places to shop at the market is this salami stand!  Dozens of flavors of salami freshly made and ready to be taken home!  It’s hard to pick just one, but I think Dave decided on the chili salami… the spicier the better for him!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

I spotted this sweet little old Germany lady getting down on her fish sandwich.  I couldn’t help but want to capture this moment… fur coat and perfect hair and all.  This is seriously how the Germans get down when it’s time to eat.   Good food, amazing traditions and no apologies.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

I know these next few pictures aren’t of food… but they are my second favorite part about the market (besides the food!).   Spring is my favorite time of the year.  The winter chill is making it’s away out and the flowers begin to bloom.  I can’t help but be in awe of their beauty.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

I really had so much fun exploring with Melissa and Jamie!  It was a pleasure to meet both of them!  I commented at the end of the day that I don’t know if I would ever agree to meet up with a stranger in the middle of Europe unless it was another blogger!  Especially an Army Wife blogger!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

By the end of our fun afternoon, we were all exhausted but happy with our bags full of market goodies!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

I am really looking forward to chatting more with both these wonderful ladies about Army life, blogging and friendship!  Make sure to head over to Melissa and Jamie’s blogs (links below!) to read their take on the Nuremberg Easter Market and our meet up!

Milligfunk – a Healthy Lifestyle, Travel & DIY blog

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North of Something  – a Family Travel blog

northofsomething

Explore the Nuremberg Easter Market with JavaCupcake.com

 

 

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

{Review} Bertie’s Cupcakery – Paris, France

This past June while in Paris, France I had wanted to visit my friend Cat who owns Sugar Daze Bake Shop and sample her delicious cupcakes.  Unfortunately, once we finally got into Paris, the day was half over and there were so many other places on our list of must-see’s that the cupcake shop got crossed off that list.  (Hopefully I’ll make it back to Paris before we leave Europe and I’ll be able to visit Cat and her cupcakes!)

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

We were on our way to the Notre Dame Cathedral when my husband spotted two women sinking their teeth into a couple of cupcakes.  He immediately stopped the women and asked where they got them!  They directed us to a cupcake shop around the corner and told us that they served their favorite cupcakes in town!  YES!  I was actually going to enjoy cupcakes in Paris!

As I rounded the corner I saw the cutest little store front with Bertie’s CupCakery sign out front! I was immediately impressed with how quaint and cute their store front was.  With only a counter and case for cupcakes inside, Bertie’s provided a small table and chairs outside to enjoy their cupcakes… a perfect place for an afternoon cupcake and coffee!

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

I could immediately tell that Bertie’s CupCakery was an American-style cupcake shop!  All their cupcakes were uniform in size and the piping on the frosting was all the same rosette.  They had a pretty good selection of flavors, including traditional and unique!

Here’s a look at a few of the flavors Bertie’s had in their case (Left to right, top to bottom in the photo below).

  • Speculoos (Biscoff or Cookie Butter)
  • Chocolate Strawberry & Vanilla Strawberry
  • Oreo
  • Lemon Poppyseed
  • Nutella Chocolate & Nutella Banana
  • Vanilla Chocolate & Vanilla Vanilla
  • Chocolate Chocolate and Mexican Chocolate

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

Since I was with my Dad, husband and two kids we settled on four cupcakes (pictured below).  Dad got the vanilla strawberry, Emily the Oreo, Dave chose Pistachio and I got Chocolate Chocolate.  After I took the pictures of our cupcakes, I realized I didn’t pick a cupcake out for Matty!  So, I went back and got the Speculoos for him.

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

First up is the Oreo cupcake!  The Oreo cupcake starts with a moist chocolate cake and is topped with a vanilla buttercream that’s packed full of crushed Oreos all garnished with the cookie part of an Oreo.

If you love Oreo’s, you’ll love this cupcake from Bertie’s!  The frosting is soooooo good.  I could probably eat it be the spoonfull… and if Emily would have let me, I would have licked it all off the top of her cupcake! HA!

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

Dad got the vanilla strawberry cupcake.  I always say that you can really tell a lot about a cupcake shop by their vanilla cupcake.  Is it moist?  Does it taste like vanilla?  Is it dense or does it have a fine crumb?

Well, I’m happy to say that this cupcake passes the test!  Not only was the vanilla cake moist, it has a fine crumb and actually tasted like vanilla!  It was topped with a smooth strawberry buttercream that actually tasted like fresh strawberries, not strawberry flavoring.  I just hate it when cupcake shops use artificial flavoring in fruit flavors!  The real thing is so much better!

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

Mmmmm chocolate.  Yeaaaah.  If you’re a chocolate lover then you’ll definitely be pleased with Bertie’s Chocolate Chocolate cupcake.  Moist chocolate cake topped with smooth milk chocolate buttercream made this cupcake my top pick!

I may have needed a glass of milk to go with it though… the chocolate was so rich and delicious!

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

Of course, my husband Dave picked the non-traditional flavor of Pistachio! This cupcake was a vanilla cupcake topped with a pistachio buttercream.  Now, I can’t say I am a big fan of pistachio flavor, but this cupcake wasn’t too bad.  My husband LOVED it.  The pistachio flavor really came though in the buttercream and paired perfectly with the vanilla cake. The cupcake was garnished with a single pistachio, which was the perfect topper.

If you love the flavor of pistachio, then you’ll definitely love this pistachio cupcake!

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

And we can’t forget Matty’s Speculoos cupcake!  Vanilla cupcake topped with cookie butter frosting and a Biscoff cookie.  A cookie butter lovers dream!  The Speculoos frosting on this cupcake was TO DIE FOR.  Smooth, creamy and oh so good!  If you’ve never had Speculoos before, it’s a creamy spread made from the caramel Biscoff cookie.  You should get some… it’s heaven in a jar.  And this Speculoos cupcake is heaven in a cupcake liner!  hehe

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

And if you don’t believe me… just look at Matty.  He licked off all the frosting first.

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

For someone who didn’t think she was going to taste any cupcakes in Paris, Berite’s CupCakery was a sweet surprise!  Located just blocks from Notre Dame, Bertie’s is the perfect place to stop for an afternoon snack and coffee!  I definitely recommend this sweet bakery to anyone looking for an American-style cupcake in Paris!

Make sure to checkout the last three reviews I did of the bakeries in Paris and London!  And next week, I’ll be announcing the WINNER of the giveaway and sharing the sweets I found in Trouville, France!

Cable Car Bake Shop – Disneyland Paris
Lola’s Cupcakes – London, England
The Hummingbird Bakery – London, England

{Review} Bertie's Cupcakery - Paris, France | JavaCupcake.com

GIVEAWAY!

I’m giving away a little swag I picked up along my travels to one lucky reader! One person will win The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and a Lola’s Cupcakery coffee mug! Simply fill out the form below! You must be 18+ to enter and have USA or Europe mailing address. Each week, with each new review, you’ll have a chance to enter again to win! So keep coming back!

{Review} Lola's Cupcakes - London, England | JavaCupcake.com

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