What To Put On Your Oktoberfest Menu
With summer barbecues in our past and holiday parties ahead of us, we're in that wonderful fall transitional period. Kids have Halloween to look forward to, but there are some celebrations for adults, too. Oktoberfest is to us what trick-or-treating is for the little ones. But you don't have to pack your travel pillow and get on a 10-hour flight to take part in the festival. You can have your own fest at home. You know that beer is a must, but you need some snacks to go with it. Here's what to put on your Oktoberfest menu.
Starters & Sides
Beer certainly goes best with pretzels, and Germans do pretzels just as well as they do beer. For Oktoberfest, they make a special pretzel that is just like the big soft pretzels you know, only they're lighter in color than regular soft pretzels.
Kartoffelkloesse are potato dumplings. They're not too difficult to make -- they're made up of mashed potatoes mixed with egg and then boiled (like very large gnocchi). Traditionally, they're served with roast pork and gravy.
Spaetzle is German pasta. It's a delicate, little noodle similar to the Italian gemelli noodle. It's served with vegetables or beef as a side or a main dish.
Mains & Meats
Oktoberfest bratwurst is the same bratwurst we eat in the United States. It originated in Franconia (Bavaria) in the 14th century. It can be grilled, pan fried or braised in beer and served with a pretzel roll, brown mustard, and sauerkraut.
Wiener Schnitzel is confusing because there is a hot dog restaurant called Wienerschnitzel, but Wiener Schnitzel is not a hot dog. Wiener Schnitzel is actually a veal cutlet that has been breaded and pan fried.
Wiesnhendl is basically roast chicken. Rub it down with butter, salt, pepper and butter or olive oil and roast it at 400°F until it's done (about an hour). It's simple and goes well with Oktoberfest-style beer.
Apple strudel is a traditional pastry of Bavaria. It's sort of a cross between a doughnut and apple pie. Chopped apples, butter and sugar are wrapped in flaky dough to make a long cylinder that is baked and sliced. It's served with whipped cream, vanilla sauce, or ice cream. It's the perfect fall treat and an excellent excuse to go apple picking.
Bienenstich is a very rich dessert. Basically, it's pastry cream sandwiched between two vanilla cakes topped with almonds and honey. It's as hardy a dessert as you would expect at Oktoberfest to soak up the beer.
Lebkuchen is a traditional German gingerbread they serve at Oktoberfest. It's made in the shape of a heart and worn as necklace. It's decorated with icing that spells out sentimental phrases.