Traditional Oktoberfest Feast

by Nicki on September 29, 2010

Oktoberfest is already well and truly underway in Munich, where some 6 million visitors from all over the world take part in fun and games (which in my vocabulary means eating and drinking). In case you are- like myself- stuck at home this year, here are some dishes you’ll need to create a truly Bavarian atmosphere in your own backyard (lederhosen optional!).

Simple yet hearty food is on the menu in the Oktoberfest tents. Hendl is a traditionally served roast chicken, though spit-roasted goose and duck are also available. Hendl is usually served with a brezen (pretzel) and a 1-liter maß of beer.

There’s also roast pork, a number of ox dishes, as well as delicious schweinshaxe ham hock or pork knuckle, which is especially popular in Bavaria. Those longing for seafood, should try the traditional steckerlfisch, a charcoal grilled fish on a stick, almost shish kebab style.

What would be a trip to Germany without tasting its variety of würste (sausages). There’s bratwürst, grützwurst, knackwürst, and bockwürst, just to name a few. Weisswürst is a traditional Bavarian white sausage made from minced veal and pork bacon, flavored with parsley, lemon, onion, and ginger. Never smoked and always made fresh every morning, weisswürst is easily perishable. Thus it is traditionally eaten as a snack between breakfast and lunch, and the saying goes that weisswürst should never hear the church bells’ chime at noon. Weisswürst is commonly served with weisswurstsenf (Bavarian sweet mustard), along with more brezen (pretzel) and weissbier (white beer).

Weisswürst with Brezen and Senf

Vegetarians, there’s place for you at Oktoberfest too! A number of dishes are available including knödel (bread or potato dumplings), kasspatzn (cheese noodles), reiberdatschi (potato pancakes) and kartoffelsalat (potato salad), whose traditional Bavarian recipe calls for hot potatoes to be tossed in a chicken broth, with onion, bacon and lemon juice.

There are many variations for kartoffelsuppe (potato soup), but the potato itself is pretty standard. Cooked with other vegetables such as onions, celery and carrots, the potatoes are then mashed or pureed. This soup is most often served with any number of sausages and bread rolls. Sauerkraut, or blaukraut as is the name for red cabbage, is a pickled, thinly sliced green cabbage with a sour flavor.

Obatzda is a Bavarian cheese delicacy that combines 1/3 aged Romadur (a mild Limburger-esque) cheese, 1/3 aged Camembert, and 1/3 butter, along with paprika, and any number of spices and herbs depending on the recipe. This spiced cheese-butter spread is a staple of any biergarten and is usually served with bread or pretzels.

Still have room for dessert? I hope so! Satisfy your sweet tooth with a number of treats that are typically available during Oktoberfest, such as gebrannte mandeln (sugar-glazed, roasted almonds), zuckerwatte (cotton candy) and dampfnudel (sweet dumpling). One of the best known Bavarian desserts is kaiserschmarrn, a sweet pancake made with flour, milk, eggs, butter and rum-soaked raisins. It is often topped with sugar and almonds, and served with an apple or plum sauce.

Oktoberfest wouldn’t be complete without apfelstrudel; a layered pastry filled with chopped apples, raisins, and cinnamon, baked a golden brown and served crispy and warm. Don’t forget to top it off with vanilla ice cream!

Of course the taps are flowing so let’s not leave out the most important ingredient to any Oktoberfest celebration- beer! Weissbier, also known as weizenbier (wheat beer) is a Bavarian specialty, with subtle banana and clove overtones. Some famous weissbier’s are Schneider Weisse, Paulaner, Franziskaner and Erdinger.

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