Oktoberfest originated as a big wedding reception in October of 1810 for Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The party centered around a horse race with plenty of food and drink for the populace. The event was so enjoyed (who does not like free food and drink?) that it was put on again the following year, with the addition of an agricultural show.
Oktoberfest has become the largest festival in the world, and although it has been moved forward to September to take advantage of the weather, the traditional food and drink remain the same. Now you can celebrate Oktoberfest in your home with these traditional recipes.
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Food at the Festival
The Oktoberfest is filled with many food and drink tents. Besides the traditional, hearty fare, they also serve fun foods like potato pancakes, mushrooms in a garlic sauce, and pretzels (brezen). You may also want to try a few of these other Oktoberfest delicacies:
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Hearty Mains Served at Oktoberfest
In addition to Bratwurst, one of the more famous meals served at Oktoberfest is Schweinehaxe, a crispy bit of ham hock served with Bratkartoffeln or potato salad. Try a Brathendl (chicken roasted on the spit), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Rossspezialitaten (horse meat specialties) such as Rosswurst, or Sauerbraten and Schweinebraten (pork roast).
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Oktoberfest isn't Oktoberfest without some great German beer. There are six breweries that are allowed to serve beer on the Theresienwiese (fairgrounds) at Oktoberfest:
- Hofbräu Munchen
- Augustiner Bräu
Some of these beers are exported, so look for them at the nearest liquor store.
A special beer is now often brewed for Oktoberfest called Maerzen, a medium to full bodied malty flavored beer with a clean, dry finish. Maerzen can be light or dark colored. Its origin dates back to the 16th century, when beer was only permitted to be brewed between late September to late April—Maerzen was brewed in March and then stored in cellars until late summer. Leftover bottles were served at Oktoberfest.