A Gaggle of Gourds

Autumn is here.  The leaves on the trees are starting to change colors – gorgeous shades of red, bright orange and yellow.  Mövenpick ice cream stands have been replaced by Brezel König (large, soft, salted pretzels).  And the little green huts selling heissi Marroni (roasted chestnuts) are soon to be showing up all over town.  At the markets, plums, apples, pears and all sorts of root vegetables have taken center stage.  And the most exciting displays of all are the pumpkins and gourds in all sizes, shapes and colors.

Pumpkins in Berg am Irchel, Switzerland

I love all types of winter squash. As many different varieties as there are, and fun names to go with them, there are just as many ways to cook and bake with them.  Amazing how each one can have such a different flavor and texture.  Grab a Blue Hungarian, a Turk’s Turban or a Baby Boo, or try a Red Hokkaido, a Jack Be Little, or a Muscat de Provence.  Decorate your home or garden, or pile them up on your table. Just don’t forget to bring them into the kitchen… and experiment.

Pumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, Switzerland

You can probably imagine my excitement when I learned about a farm with 150 pumpkin varieties – 15 different types of Butternut squash alone!  My friends Jack and Silvia of Laughing Lemon (that’s them below)- and experts on the subject, invited me to join them.  This time last year I had taken their “Cooking with Pumpkin” class, and here was their source for all those amazing looking legumes.  To the Baur family farm we went in Berg am Irchel, about 40 minutes north of Zürich, through wine country, past endless green fields with tons of grazing cows and sheep.

Pumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, Switzerland

Unfortunately, we missed the harvest the weekend before when the Baurs were out in the farm collecting all these beauties.  It reminds me of going to Young’s Farm or especially Martin Viette in Long Island, New York with my sister when we were kids, picking our own pumpkins (the largest and most perfect, that neither of us could lift of course) and going for hay rides too.  But those pumpkins weren’t quite for eating, as much as carving and painting.  Here we gazed at the neat rows of squash laid out on straw or in the crates piled up, with a different motive.  Instead of Halloween,… we were thinking dinner!

Pumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, SwitzerlandPumpkins in Berg am Irchel, Switzerland

At the end of the day, I went home with a colorful (and heavy) selection of 19 pumpkins – and trust me, it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to only that. It sure seemed like a lot, until compared with Jack and Silvia’s whopping 63 pumpkins !  I wonder if they can name all of them ! Even though I love the look of each and every one I chose below, it’s time to get cooking ! I’ll be checking my notes from last year’s pumpkin class for ideas, but please don’t hesitate to share yours here too. Thanks !

What is your favorite type of pumpkin ?  And how do you cook or bake with it ?

Pumpkins in Berg am Irchel, Switzerland

Ursula & Moritz Baur
Dorfstrasse 1
8415 Berg am Irchel

* Bergener Kürbistage – 14th Annual Pumpkin Days !
Saturday October 2 and Sunday October 3
starting at 11am – pumpkins for sale, music, activities for children, wine tastings and more

31 Responses to “A Gaggle of Gourds”

  1. Anne says:

    What a lovely way to welcome autumn! I love Heissi Maroni and miss them so much here in Berlin. From time to time , I like making Lasagne with spinach, goat cheese and loads of butternut squach, but I also like pumpkin soup with coconut milk. Actually, I never ate sweet pumpkin dishes…

  2. Foodie in Berlin says:

    Gourds are a total mystery to me. I tend to fall back on Butternut Squash because I know the flesh will always be smooth and sweet. I have had a few bad experiences with really watery pumpkin that tasted…quite odd. I would also love to hear what other varieties people like / cook with!

  3. Romy says:

    We’re planning to check out the Kürbistage next weekend – thanks for the preview! And happy pumpkin cooking! 🙂

  4. Jack says:

    Nice recap and photos Kerrin…How did you make the rain disappear? Thanks also for all of the mentions, and we are certainly looking forward to our shared pumpkin dinner (for your readers – we prepare two courses and Kerrin and Hubby prepare two courses). I wonder what you will come up with…

  5. Kerrin says:

    Anne, I am surprised that they don’t have heissi Marroni in Berlin. You’ll have to head south to get your fill. 🙂 Soon enough, they’ll be everywhere here ! Thanks for sharing your recipe ideas, both excellent. Pumpkin is really great in sweet recipes too, like the classic pumpkin pie. Here’s a recipe for it: http://mykugelhopf.ch/2009/10/cooking-with-pumpkins/
    And one more easy dessert, pumpkin chocolate cake that is just sooo good. Let me know if you try it ! http://mykugelhopf.ch/2008/11/think-pumpkin/

    Foodie in Berlin, I totally agree – I used to only cook with Butternut and Acorn squash – they are both always so good and sweet, never let me down. As for the rest of the gourds, I have always loved them – but more for decoration than actual cooking ! 😉 Guess it’s time to change that now ! Hope we get lots of delicious ideas here from readers…

    Romy, oh how fun ! I can’t wait to see all about the Pumpkin Days on *your* blog. Have so much fun. And happy pumpkin cooking to you too then after the weekend. 🙂

    Jack, special camera I have – dries off the rain, haha ! 😉 Such a fun time with you and Silvia. Can’t wait to hear all about your pumpkin experiments of course. And we are excited for the dinner too. I have a few ideas up my sleeve already, but will be fun to see the new recipes from readers here as well…

  6. Sarah says:

    Wonderful! Gourds, pumpkins and squash seem to come from outer space! Love the images. Great blog. Sarah

  7. mayssam says:

    Great post! I love seeing all the different pumpkins at the market this time of year. Last fall, I couldn’t get enough of making (and eating!) pumpkin gnocchi with brown butter sage and parmesan, yum!

  8. Stéphanie says:

    Wouah, juste seems like Automn is back!!!!

  9. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday says:

    I have no idea where to start with gourds. I usuallly stick to squashes like butternut, acorn, kabocha, and pumpkin.

  10. Lani says:

    You have given me such a treat seeing all the gourds…pumpkins and squash. I just love this time of the year. I only wish that I was able to go with you! The gaggling gourds just jump right out of the computer and onto my desk!!! I will have to go to the Greenmarket where the choices are not as plentiful but perfect for me and my baskets at home. I just love to decorate and experiment with squash! So can you name all the pumpkins that are on your farm table……how glorious…

  11. Kerrin says:

    Sarah, thanks so much. And you are so right, these are totally vegetables from outer space !! And we’re supposed to eat them ?! 😉

    mayssam, merci ! Mmm, pumpkin gnocchi sounds sublime. Have a favorite recipe you want to share ?

    Stéphanie, et oui – l’automne est de retour !! En te connaissant, tu dois faire de super bons régals avec ces citrouilles, non ? Allez, partage une idéee ou deux ! 🙂

    Samantha, I love your selection of squash, how do you usually prepare them ?

    Lani, thank you ! And me too, I love autumn and the change in seasons now – especially at the market with all this good stuff to cook with. Have fun at the Greenmarket in NYC; I bet there will be a fabulous and colorful selection there too.


    Can I name all the pumpkins on my farm table above ? Nope. Anyone want to help me ??

    I see three Butternut squash, a Baby Boo, a Blue Hungarian, a few different types of Acorn… a Kabocha perhaps. Hmm, what else ??

  12. Emma says:

    I’m not a big marrow fan, to be honest. I suffer through winter squash on occasion, but it’s just not my bag. However, I loooooove to decorate with gourds! I have one from last fall in my living room that miraculously hasn’t succumbed to rot or mold. How it’s still going strong mystifies me, but I’ll roll with it, because it’s pretty cute. Two mini pumpkins made their way into my kitchen last week, to adorn my stovetop for the next few months. And some cucurbits do capture my fancy, including blue hubbards (nice color), zucchini (the only one I really like the taste of), and snake gourds (shock value).

    I like the looks of the Stachelbeergurke, but every time I look at the above image, my mind thinks “beer gut” instead!

  13. Caroline says:

    Beautiful! Have you been to the Jucker farm in Seegräben?
    They have an amazing pumpkin display every year and soon they will weigh the champion pumpkin (usually around 300kg or so 🙂 They also have a pumpkin race on the lake but I always managed to miss that event..should be fun though.
    They sell a lot of nice products and it’s a nice place to have coffee or brunch with a view on the Pfäffikersee. On Sunday afternoons, it’s absolutely jam-packed with people so not the best time.

  14. anushruti says:

    A wonderful riot of colours. Love the shapes too.

  15. Katrin says:

    Loooove the title! You’ve motivated me to make soup this afternoon out of the last summer squash left on my shelf.

  16. katy says:

    Honestly, Kerrin I didn’t need to read a word of this post, the pictures were enough. I just love the color, texture and variety of gourds. Your pictures captured the beauty of fall – a feast for the eyes. Thanks.

  17. Kerrin says:

    Emma, I hear ya, not everyone loves pumpkins — for eating. I mean, these gourds really are funky looking. I guess we shall see how they taste…! Very cool that you have one that has survived the test of time — and logic. I totally love decorating with gourds too, but they only last so long. And one by one, I sadly have to throw them away. This year, it won’t get to that point. We’ll just eat them up…

    Caroline, oh my !! Look at those pumpkins – or rather, look at those dinosaurs ! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing. I have heard of the Jucker farm, but didn’t know about their pumpkins. I sure hope to get there one day. Really appreciate you sharing the link, such fun !

    anushruti, thank you !

    Katrin, mmm, soup ! With this weather in Zürich, that sounds perfect. Brrrr.

    katy, so glad you enjoyed the photos ! Thank you.

  18. Lynne Faubert says:

    Oh, my, that’s beautiful. I only came back from the squash farm with butternut, acorn squash, blue Hubbard and Pink Banana. But when I look at this, I just want to go back! Especially since I made soup this weekend with the Butternut and Acorn that was to die for. You may be responsible for my next shopping spree, lol.

  19. Wayfaring Wanderer says:

    I’m a fan of roasting the pumpkin seeds. Maybe this year we need to experiment and do something more substantial with our harvest.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  20. Kelleyn says:

    Happy Fall!

  21. Kerrin says:

    Lynne, a Pink Banana ?! What a name, haha ! I just looked at your blog, what fantastic photos as well, and amazing looking squash. Your soup looks outrageous. I’m not usually a fan of curry, but this just looks too good. I’ll be making it soon for sure, thank you so much. I’ll be responsible for your next shopping spree, and you’ll be responsible for my next batch of soup ! Good exchange, haha !

    Wayfaring Wanderer, such an excellent idea. A great snack, and nothing goes to waste then. Have fun experimenting, let us know if you come up with something delicious !

    Kelleyn, thanks, happy fall to you too ! 🙂

  22. Tweets that mention A Gaggle of Gourds | MyKugelhopf -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rosa May, MeetaWFLH, Kerrin Rousset, Anushruti RK, Kerrin Rousset and others. Kerrin Rousset said: and i thought i had seen a lot of pumpkins: http://bit.ly/bFS5Nj — well, check *this* out: http://bit.ly/d74yrN one word: dinosaurs! […]

  23. aladyinlondon says:

    I just discovered your blog, and I love it. I too am passionate about food and travel, and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  24. Emma says:

    This is my third day of trying to think of squash-based recipes to recommend… I just don’t have any. But I did think of a recipe that I’ve had in my repertoire for years, but have never yet made….


    New Age Ravioli, according to the video! Oh Martha, she’s so bluntly hilarious. Anyway, these seem tasty; I really should try them out soon.

  25. Lynne Faubert says:

    Kerrin, don’t worry, the curry just lends depth to the soup, my guests could not really taste it. It also offsets the sweetness of the apple and maple quite nicely. Tell me what you thought 🙂

  26. Julia @ Mélanger says:


    Oh my gosh, I never realised there were so many types of pumpkin. I love the humble roast pumpkin as a side to a delicious roast meat meal. But I am also quite partial to a fabulous pumpkin and date scone. Sounds good with dates, too, huh? The recipe is by one of my favourite Australian cooks, Belinda Jeffery. I’ll have to get the recipe to you. Delicious!!!!

  27. Kerrin says:

    aladyinlondon, welcome to MyKugelhopf ! 🙂 I’m so glad you found my blog here, thanks so much ! Hope you’ll enjoy the adventures yet to come…

    Emma, thanks for racking your brain for us. And what a find that is – new age ravioli ? Just watched the video, thanks so much for sharing. Martha is a riot. Meanwhile though, butternut squash Parmesan jelly ? New age indeed. If you try it, definitely let me know how it goes. I like the idea of juicing the squash to use the liquid for sauces, great idea. Just need a juicer… !

    Lynne, thanks ! I figured the curry would do just that – balance out the other flavors nicely. Hope to make it this week… So how did your shopping spree go ? 🙂

    Julia, and HELLO to you ! 🙂 Amazing, right – can you just imagine a farm with 150 varieties ?? I thought 10 was impressive. Meanwhile, did you just say pumpkin date scone ? YUM ! I totally remember you telling me about that, way back when, and I still patiently await the recipe…. ! That is a definite for this fall, thank youuuuu.

    Oooh, just found it – is this the same recipe you used ?? Looks good to me, but no Medjools, that’s too bad – those are my favorite date by far.

  28. Lynne Faubert says:

    Actually didn’t need to go on another shopping spree, my organic farmer brought 3 more squash in my last summer basket. Of course, there’s no saying where impulse will lead me, I just bought a whole organic lamb from another farmer, hubby is tearing his hair out!

  29. Matt says:

    Glad to see you made it, we went a week later to Berg am Irchel during their festival. Last week Jack and Sylvia intrigued me with a pumpkin rösti during the “whats in season” class which was much better than I expected it to be! A very colorful post. Romy also has a planned pumpkin post which has been poorly procrastinated… 🙂

  30. Pumpkin Rösti with Lemon Thyme | Laughing Lemon says:

    […] Also check out our friend Kerrin’s wonderful MyKugelhopf blog report on buying pumpkins near Zürich: A Gaggle of Gourds […]

  31. Pumpkin Rösti with Lemon Thyme | Laughing Lemon says:

    […] Also check out our friend Kerrin’s wonderful MyKugelhopf blog report on buying pumpkins near Zürich: A Gaggle of Gourds […]

Leave a Reply

* Required (email address will not be published)