The air is crisp, the leaves are just starting to change color in New England and the days are getting much shorter. It’s time for a fall themed date night in…Oktoberfest! For those who don’t know, Oktoberfest is an annual two-week festival in Munich that originally started as a wedding celebration. It’s grown since that first party in 1810, with multiple beer halls that can seat 6,000 people, musical acts, and booths selling delicious food. I thought Oktoberfest would be fun to celebrate at home because many local celebrations may be put on hold for another year.
What to Eat:
Oktoberfest is a festival so that means a variety of foods. I love going to as many food stalls as possible whenever I’m at a festival so I can sample all the local fare! So in untypical date night in fashion I’m going to give you a list of delicious foods that you can snack on all night.
Obatzda– famous Bavarian beer cheese dip made with Camembert and Weissbier or a dark lager such as Dunkel. Served with rye bread, radishes and other veggies or soft pretzels.
Laugenbrezel aka German Soft Pretzels– Brown, crusty and salty on the outside but soft and warm on the inside, these pretzels are classic Oktoberfest food.
Kartoffelpuffer– these crispy little potato pancakes are great on a cool fall day. Serve topped with apple sauce or sour cream.
Beer Brats– German bratwurst simmered in a malty beer with onions. Serve on a bun on just on a plate with some whole grain mustard and sauerkraut.
Brathendel (half roasted chicken)-a staple in German biergartens, and one of the most recognizable specialties of Oktoberfest. Save yourself some time a pick up a rotisserie chicken at your local market. You’re making everything else, it’s ok to cut corners here. 😉 If you want to cook your own go for it!
Gurkensalat- this refreshing cucumber salad is a nice addition to all of this delicious, rich food.
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons white vinegar
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 – 2 tablespoons white sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill or ½ tsp dried dill
- Put thinly sliced cucumbers into serving bowl.
- In separate bowl, mix together vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Pour over cucumbers.
- Sprinkle with dill and stir. Season with additional salt and/or sugar if needed.
Let’s not forget dessert! Candied apples, yes those bright red beauties that you ate when you were a kid are very popular at Oktoberfest. You can usually buy kits at your local market or try the linked recipe for a fun activity to do together. Or whip up some Strauben and top with chocolate sauce. Yum!
What to Drink:
Obviously beer is at the top of the list for any Oktoberfest celebration. I’m sure if you walk into any bottle shop right now you will be hit with any number of Oktoberfest brews. I know that the local breweries in my area always have some version of a German style beer ready for this celebration. You can also look for imports and US brands like Paulaner, Spaten, Sierra Nevada, Ayinger, Jack’s Abby and Von Trapp. They usually all have an Oktoberfest beer on the shelves.
For non beer lovers you can celebrate with a refreshing hard cider, a cool glass of Gewürztraminer, or a Radler. I know radlers are technically beer based drinks but there’s something about the added grapefruit or lemon that makes it so much better. I’m honestly not a big fan of German beer so when we visited biergartens in Berlin I drank a lot of radlers. For a tasty non alcoholic drink whip up a Apfelsaftschorle (or Apple Spritzer) with 1/2 cup of apple juice and a 1/2 cup of seltzer. Serve chilled over ice.
What to Listen To:
At most Oktoberfest celebrations you will hear a mix of polka and folk bands. The upbeat music represents the principle of what the celebration was founded on which was happiness, fun, and togetherness. There are many lists on Spotify already. I like Traditional Oktoberfest by Spotify and Oktoberfest Music by My Waderlusty Life.
What to Do:
Dress the part, see who can put together the most fest worthy outfit from your own closets. Have a pair of suspenders hanging around? Throw on some shorts, add a white shirt, long socks and boots. Perfect diy lederhosen. Bonus if you have a fun hat. For the dirndl look, find a knee length skirt or dress in your closet and add an apron. Where you tie your apron bow signifies your relationship status: left means single; right means taken.
Pick up a couple of steins at your local craft store or Dollar Tree and try your hand at Masskrugstemmen. This is a common Oktoberfest competition requiring both strength and stamina. You hold a full liter of beer for an extended period of time, straight arm out and no drinking! The stein may not fall below 90 degrees. Whoever can hold it the longest is the winner. (spoiler alert…I’m never the winner!)
Channel your inner 5 year old and dance to the Chicken Dance. Yep you read that correctly…the Chicken Dance. This oom-pah song is quite popular at Oktoberfest and one of the only times you’ll catch someone with a beer in their hands.
To wind down your celebration get cozy while watching a ridiculous movie like Beerfest. Have a wonderful, fun filled date night in. Prost!