Carnival in the Black Forest
We headed up north to the Black Forest last weekend to catch up with the in-laws and see how this Catholic corner of Germany celebrates Carnival. The little town of Bonndorf has the most elaborate Carnival parade in the region, symbolized by the Pflumeschlucker, or plum gobblers. Legend has it that when the people of Bonndorf were introduced to the plum, they swallowed the fruit whole, pit and all.
Along with the troupe of Pflumeschlucker, there were bands of witches, pirates, and cute forest creatures like bears, frogs and snails. It all seemed very traditional and quaint as they threw candy out to all the kiddies.
Then some wild elements came out. A biker gang ran around pouring shots of Jack Daniels for adult on-lookers. My in-laws enjoyed shots of Eierliquor, a sort of German egg nog, served in mini, chocolate-covered ice cream cones. A fearsome group of Scots grabbed girls out of the crowd, flung them over their shoulders and stuffed them in a giant spinning barrel full of sawdust, which was mounted on their float. My husband was grabbed from behind by a wily witch who shoved confetti down his shirt. She just wanted to get her hands on him!
Overall, it was a big hoot. I loved all the interaction with the crowd. There was a lot of fun, mischievous energy, and you didn't know what to expect next. The town of Bonndorf was cute, clean and picture-perfect.
Black Forest travel tip: If you're ever in the area, for Carnival or any other time of year, I highly recommend a restaurant called Tannenmühle. It's basically a trout farm and smoke house that served the best smoked trout you will ever eat. It really is to die for.