Stuttgart: Markthalle offers a feast of choices
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 31, 2011
While talking with a globe-trotting American acquaintance in Stuttgart who was bored by the same old grocery items at the commissary, I mentioned a great place to go get lost for a couple of hours of culinary bliss — Stuttgart’s Markthalle. “Have you ever been there?” I asked. To my surprise, the guy had never heard of the place.
That’s a shame: Anyone living in Stuttgart or remotely nearby should venture downtown sometime to spend a morning or afternoon perusing the aromatic aisles inside this busy local landmark.
Located next door to the Old Castle in the heart of Stuttgart’s downtown, the Markthalle offers the best of everything. Built in 1914, the art nouveau-style building is also one of the city’s more interesting structures and is worth exploring up close.
Once you enter the Markthalle, be prepared to be tempted every step of the way into breaking whatever New Year’s dietary resolutions you have made.
With more than 40 food stalls, tantalizing treats from around the globe are all around you. The aromas hit you from every angle: garlicky olives, smoky meats, Asian spices. Around every corner is a new scent to track down. In addition to specialties from Italy, France and Greece, you will find items from such places as Turkey, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Iran and India.
And best of all, you can complete a visit feeling full just from gobbling up the tiny free samples. Stinky French cheeses, salamis and bite-sized chocolates can all be tested. Those bites quickly add up, and soon you are no longer hungry.
But that probably won’t stop you from buying. I usually make sure to purchase some delicacy to take home. Tired of the mediocre chorizo or Italian sausage sold at the base grocery? Head here for the real thing, along with German wursts of every variety.
This also is the place to go for fresh fish, which comes from Black Forest streams and the deeper waters of the North Sea, as well as herbs, spices, teas and coffee. Looking for plants or flowers? You can find those here, too.
So the next time you’re planning a big dinner party or don’t know what to do with a free afternoon, head to the Markthalle to fill up and stock up. You won’t be sorry.
Located in the center of town, the Markthalle is just off B27, the main road that cuts through Stuttgart. From B27, turn onto Planie Strasse, and take a right on the first major street, Münzstrasse, and then the first right onto Dorotheenstrasse. The market is at Dorotheenstrasse 4. Parking in the area is limited, so you may need to hunt for a spot.
Open 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Entrance is free.
It’s all around you. In addition to the vendors, the marketplace has a restaurant, the Empore, which features Mediterannean cooking, and a tapas bar.
Find information on and links to the 40 or so firms with space at the market, plus an interactive map to help you find your way around, at the German-only website www.maerkte-stuttgart.de. The telephone number for information is 0711-480-410.
— John Vandiver