Oktoberfest!

poster-images-of-oktoberfest

…….Have you been to Oktoberfest yet? This is such a beautiful month, Autumn has brought with it brisk, sunny days filled with pumpkins and the smell of cider and of course all those festivals that only this month has……..

………..But where did all this start?
Oktoberfest – German Pronunciation: (ok ‘ to; be fest) is the world’s largest Volksfest (Peoples Festival).  Held annually in Munich, Bavaria and Germany, it is a 16-day Folk Festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than six million people from around the world attending the event every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810.  Other cities across the world also hold celebrations’ modeled after the original Munich event In 2010, the festival lasted until the first Monday in October (October 4), to mark the 200th anniversary of the event. ……..and why did it start? Well, it all started with an “I Do”….. The festival is held in an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow of Therese), often called the Wiesn for short, located near Munich’s Centre.  Now who was Therese?  Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich, were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy Royal event. The fields were named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”) in honor of the Crown Princess, and have kept that name ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wiesn“……..talk about remembering one’s wedding!
And no one celebrates the way Munich, Germany does…..this is considered a small crowd….

OktoberfestCrowdSmall

So do  you attend an Oktoberfest in your area? Here in Pennsylvania just about every town celebrates in one fashion or another.  Many of the original settlers of this state were German and Dutch so we are big “Fest’rs“!

But where else in the world is this a party worth traveling for? Well, get your passports and beer steins out…..

#1 Santiago, Chile = (Yup – Chile!) Multiple bierfests are celebrated every fall throughout Chile, due largely to a mass German immigration that began in 1848 and continued throughout the 19th century.

#2 Kitchener and Waterloo, Canada = Located an hour outside of Toronto, the twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo are home to the world’s third largest Oktoberfest, falling in line right after Munich and Brazil’s Oktoberfest of Blumenau. After all, Kitchener and Waterloo each have deep German roots, with many individuals still speaking German in the area. And Kitchener was even originally named Berlin, so it makes sense that these cities can celebrate almost as well as Munich.

#3 Boston, Massachusetts = For the last 23 years, Harpoon’s Ocktoberfest  has been a Boston tradition. The brewery sets aside the last weekend in September each year to swill their Oktoberfest beer (but brewed with a New England twist, of course), serve up German fare such as würstl (sausages) and brezeln (pretzels), and pump some bangin’ oompah music throughout Boston’s Waterfront.

# 4 Reading, Pennsylvania = Known for its Dutch roots, Pennsylvania is home to many Oktoberfest celebrations during the months of September and October. But the oldest and largest is hosted by the Reading Liederkranz,  an hour outside of Philadelphia.  This group, which was founded back in 1885, serves all of the traditional fare and hosts several bands throughout the festive weekend.

# 5 Hong Kong = (No, not kidding!)Hong Kong’s Marco Polo  German Bierfest is the longest running German  bierfest in Asia – and it never ceases to amaze! For 20 years, the Marco Polo Hotel has served hundreds of thousands of guests in a tent overlooking Victoria Harbor.  Authentic German delicacies like roast pork knuckle are dished out, Oktoberfest beers are swilled, and the Notenhobler, a German Band, plays throughout the night.

# 6 Dublin, Ireland = Guinness might be the name of the brewing game in Dublin most of the time, but every September, the Irish cede to the Bavarian way of life and indulge in German Weizenbier—or wheat beer—during Dublin’s Oktoberfest. They also cook up the typical German offerings and host the Bavarian Games—a series of events that test Irish muscle, prowess, and beer gut, including yodel contests, stein lifting, and, obviously, a drinking challenge.

So how are you fest’ring? Here in my neck of the woods we have a month long celebration in Jim Thorpe…our County seat.  I am only a few miles from there and enjoy the quaint Bavarian style town rich in German and Dutch history. And my daughter lives there!

jim-thorpe-pa-kelley-nelson

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, one of my best friends, Dorte’, was from Germany. I remember having Sunday dinner with her and her family, Duck, and a wonderful dish made with potatoes…..I have found a very similar dish and made it this weekend…..Delish! Try it…..In honor of Oktoberfest……

Root Vegetable Gratin (Country Living Magazine)
54ee6f423aae9_-_potato-root-vegetable-gratin-xl

Ingredients

• ¾ c. chicken broth
• 2 tbsp. margarine or butter
• 1½ lb. russet potatoes (3 medium)
• 1½ lb. sweet potatoes (3 small)
• 1 lb. celery root (1 large or 2 small)
• 1 lb. parsnips (6 medium)
• Salt and pepper
• 1 c. heavy or whipping cream
• 2 tbsp. snipped fresh chives

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In shallow 3 1/2- to 4-quart baking pan or shallow casserole, combine broth and margarine; place in oven while oven preheats to melt margarine, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, toss potatoes, celery root, and parsnips with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper until well mixed.
3. Remove baking pan from oven. Add broth mixture to vegetables and stir to coat. Spoon vegetable mixture into same baking pan; cover with foil and bake vegetables 40 minutes.
4. Remove pan from oven. In 1-cup liquid measuring cup, heat cream in microwave on High 45 seconds to warm. Pour cream evenly over vegetables.
5. Return baking pan to oven and bake vegetables, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes longer or until top is golden and vegetables are fork-tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chives to serve.

Also, I made the Lemon-buttermilk Tart……this is a keeper!

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Ingredients
• 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
• 1 pie crust (I used Pillsbury Crust found in the dairy section or you could make your own)
• 2/3 c. Buttermilk
• 1/2 c. granulated sugar
• 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
• 1/4 c. lemon juice
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
• 1/8 tsp. Kosher salt
• Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll pie crust to an 11-inch circle. Transfer dough to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press dough into corners; fold overhang into the pan and press firmly into the flutes. Freeze 15 minutes.
2. Line tart pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang, and fill with dried beans. Bake, on a rimmed baking sheet, until edges are golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove parchment and beans. Bake until bottom is light golden and dry, 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Whisk together flour, buttermilk, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, eggs, lemon zest and juice, butter, and salt. Carefully pour into warm tart crust to within 1/4-inch of the top. Bake until filling is set, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool, on a rack, at least 2 hours. Remove tart ring and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Well, Monday here on the mountain is filled with wonderful aroma’s from the oven……hope your Monday is just as cozy – where ever your Oktoberfest is happening!

Country hugs,
Lois

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