As I walked through a lush garden in the heart of Stuttgart, I pondered my options for the evening dinner. Stuttgart is sometimes nicknamed Schwabenmetropole, referring to its location in the middle of Swabia.

Swabia is a historic region in southwest Germany. Even though the duchy collapsed in the 13th century, some things have endured through the centuries. Not surprisingly, food is one of them. The Swabian cuisine is rustic, rich and heavy.

Oberer Schloßgarten, Stuttgart Afternoon in Swabia.

Today Stuttgart is part of the Baden-Württemberg region, but that doesn’t stop my curiosity for the historic cuisine. To sample the classic dishes, I went hunting for an old-school establishment in the old parts of the city. I found Weinstube Zur Kiste, which would turn out to be the very definition of my quest.

Schiller statue, Stuttgart Schiller is still keeping an eye on things.

At first I was unsure if the place was open, but I pulled the handle on an unmarked door and suddenly entered a small room filled to the brim with hungry patrons, the air engulfed in a heavy aroma of hearty food.

Stairway at Weinstube Zur Kiste, Stuttgart Stairway at Weinstube Zur Kiste.

I went up the narrow stairs to the second floor, which was also full. I made sure to keep clear of the busy staff, running up and down the stairs balancing food on their arms. Fortunately a small table could be grabbed on the third floor.

There is nothing hip about the menu, where every item is designed to make your arteries clog at warp speed. I finally order a Gaisburger Marsch, a big bowl of just about everything: sliced meat, cooked potatoes, a handful of Spätzle noodles, all covered in strong beef broth. The name seems to originate from the 19th century, where one version is that people would march all the way to Gaisburg to get a bowl of the filling dish.

Gaisburger Marsch at Weinstube Zur Kiste, Stuttgart A bowl of Gaisburger Marsch.

After having emptied the entire bowl, I’m not marching anywhere, that’s for sure.


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