By Teri Weiss
Special to The Citizen
Updated by USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
While stationed in Stuttgart, you may notice broomsticks placed outside of homes and above doorways during the fall/winter season following the wine harvest. The brooms signify that the home is open for business to serve customers lunch, dinner or their own local produced wines. This seasonal tradition is known as a Besen, or “Besenwirtschaften,” meaning broomstick inns.
These temporary pop-up restaurants or wine bars open for just four months per year. Regional vintners typically serve their own “most,” or Swabian cider, as well as recently harvested wines, as long as the supply lasts. To this day, it all takes place in their own home, barn or basement, spare room or even garage converted for the occasion into a cozy setting for friendly and rustic get-togethers.
The broom itself, or broom emblem, hanging over a garden gate or above an entrance door is called a “Besa,” the Swabian word for “Besen,” or broom. Besen’s are a popular treat for the locals to go out for a glass of wine while simultaneously enjoying an affordable home cooked meal including brown breads, hearty homemade sausages, smoked hams, sauerkraut, or potato salad to name a few. The menu is entirely up to the family and varies at each location.
The respective Besenwirtschaft owners are bound by law to follow strict regulations to when and how long they are able to open. They may serve up to 40 people at a time, and hygiene inspectors control the locations weekly to ensure health and safety standards are met.
Guests may linger as long as they like for an enjoyable atmosphere in good company. Visitors may discover that a Besen is a good place to test some German phrases or have their newly found Swabian neighbors practice their English.
Give it a try for a really memorable cultural experience. Prost, und zum Wohl!
To find a Besen in the greater Stuttgart area, visit www.besentermine.de.