German Food Guide
German Food Guide
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Create Your Own Oktoberfest Party

Can't make it to one of the many Oktoberfests happening around the country?  Or just looking for a reason to get your friends together?  You can create your own Oktoberfest party at home. Here we've put together some ideas and tips to help make it truely authentic.

Beverages (Don't forget the Beer!)
Oktoberfest Beer
When you tell your friends about your Oktoberfest party, their first thoughts will probably be "Beer!"  Beer is a major part of the Oktoberfest both in Germany and in the festivals here in the U.S.  There are several German beer styles to choose from, but we recommend choosing an Oktoberfest beer. This is a well-aged, stronger lager, brewed specially for the Oktoberfest time. Look for the brands Spaten, Paulaner, and/or Hofbräu. Check your local liquor stores, especially the large liquor super stores like BevMo and Total Wine) for additional brands as well.

Here are some other beverage ideas using beer.
Radler - Mix equal parts beer and lemonade.
Radler Trocken - Mix equal parts beer and sparkling mineral water.
Diesel (Colabier) - Mix equal parts beer and cola.

For the non-beer drinkers, consider offering German wine. Select a wine from the Franken wine region, located in northwestern Bavaria. If you can't find a Franken wine, select any good quality German wine.  Learn more about German wines »

No Oktoberfest party should be without pretzels.  But we're not talking about the bags of pretzels you can get in any supermarket.  We mean the big, soft German pretzels. In fact, the ideal pretzel has a dark brown, crispy, salty crust, and inside a soft dough. Pretzels are available at most German delicatessens and food stores (search our directory to find stores nearest you). Depending on how many guests you'll be serving, you may have to special order the pretzels, but freshly baked pretzels will be a huge hit. 

To further impress your guests, share with them some pretzel trivia, like how the pretzel was invented and international names for the pretzel. Get this information plus more on our Pretzels page.

The Perfect Trio
Weisswurst, Preztels, Sweet Mustard
What is the perfect, traditional, Oktoberfest trio? Weisswurst, Pretzels, and sweet Bavarian mustard.

Weisswurst is a sausage that is almost white in color. It is made from veal and pork, and it is seasoned with bacon, onions, parsley, salt, and pepper. Its texture is smooth.

Weisswurst, sweet mustard, and Pretzels are available at most German delicatessens and food stores. Calculate 2 Weisswurst and 2 pretzels for each guest. To prepare the Weisswurst, simply heat them up in hot (just under boiling) water for about 10 minutes.

Obatzda, derived from the German word "Angebatzter", means "mixed." Historically, it was a dish to use up leftover, very ripened cheese. However, over time, it has become a favorite food at the Oktoberfest as well as Biergartens. Pair it with Pretzels and red radishes ... or top some crackers with it to make a great appetizer.
Recipe »

Bavarian Burgers
Bavarian Burgers
If you want to offer your guests sandwiches, consider the Bavarian Burger. Simple to make, this burger uses Leberkäse instead of ground beef.

Leberkäse is a favorite throughout Bavaria. It is available at most German delicatessens and food stores.

Pair the Bavarian Burger with potato salad for a hearty meal your guests will enjoy.  For a more flavorful burger, use Pretzel Rolls for the buns.  Recipe »

Lebkuchen Hearts
Lebkuchen Hearts (Oktoberfest Gingerbread hearts)
Lebkuchen is German gingerbread. They have a sweet, lightly nutty taste, and their aroma is spicy, a bit like nutmeg and allspice. Lebkuchen shaped into hearts and decorated with icing is a favorite at the Oktoberfest. Since these aren't readily available here in the U.S., you can easily make your own Lebkuchen hearts to offer your guests.  Recipe »

The Lebkuchen hearts can also be used as part of your party decorations. Add the name of a guest to each Lebkuchen heart and use them as place card for your table. For larger parties with a lot of new faces, add strings to the Lebkuchen hearts, add the name of a guest to each heart, then ask your guests to wear them instead of name tags.  Or give them to guests as party favors to take home with them.

Additional Menu Options

Here are some additional traditional Bavarian and Oktoberfest foods that are sure to please.

Pretzels and/or Pretzel Rolls
German Rye Bread (Bauernbrot)
Rolls (Brötchen)

Salads & Side Dishes
Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat)

Wurst & Meat Dishes
Meat Dumplings (Frikadelle)
Liver Meatloaf (Leberkäse)
Liver Dumplings (Leberknödel)

Dessert Options
Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)
Bavarian Cream (Bayerische Creme)



Oktoberfest Party Decorations

Oktoberfest party decorations are readily available at many online retailers and party specialty stores. Here are some additional decoration ideas and tips.

Color Scheme
Bavarian Flag

The blue and white from the Bavarian flag are the official colors of the Oktoberfest. The blue is a medium-light blue. Use this color scheme when selecting napkins and table coverings. Choose checkered designs, as in the flag.

German Beer Glasses
Oktoberfest Beer Mug "Mass"
For the beer lovers at your party, serve the beer in tradiional 1 Liter (33 fl oz) glass mugs, called "Die Mass."  If you can't find the large 1 Liter size, any glass beer mug should do.

Backyard Biergarten
Beer Tent
For an authentic Oktoberfest party atmosphere, rent an outdoor party tent and some benches. Your friends will be impressed as they enjoy all the good food and drinks in your own backyard Biergarten.

Here are some additional decorating ideas:
Place paper or cloth / small or large German and/or Bavarian flags around.
Use some of the traditional foods as decorations.  Hang Lebkuchen hearts and/or Pretzels on strings.  Or incorporate the Lebkuchen hearts and/or pretzels into your table settings. For example, use the pretzel as a napkin holder
Incorporate heart shapes into your decorations. Instead of baking the Lebkuchen hearts, try creating some from some colored craft paper. A great project for the children!
Edelweiss is the traditional flower of the Oktoberfest. Since they are not easily found in this country, try decorating with daisies, red and white carnations (for a little splash of color), or any other white or blue/violet flowers.

Oktoberfest Entertainment

Live Entertainment
Search for local German Oompah bands, Blaskapelle Bands, or Accordian Players for a truely authentic experience.

Recorded Music
There are many CD choices with traditional German Oktoberfest and Biergarten songs. Or create your own music selection by downloading MP3 music files. Here are some fun songs to look for:

- Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit
- Freut Euch Des Lebens
- Trink, Trink, Brüderlein Trink
- Das Humba-Tätarä
- Es Ist So Schön,Wenn Man...
- Waldeslust
- Oh, Du Wunderschöner Deutscher Rhein
- Jetzt Trink 'Mer Noch A Flascherl Wein
- Hoch Auf Dem Gelben Wagen
- Ja, Mer San Mit'm Radl Da
- Mein Hut, Der Hat Drei Ecken

Traditional Oktoberfest Outfits

The Dirndl is a tradional Bavarian dress. It consists of a bodice, blouse, full skirt, and apron.  The Dirndl actually originated in Austria, where it was originally the uniform for servants and then later in the 1870's the trendy attire for the Austrian upper class. 

Although the Dirndl is not often worn anymore in Germany, except by older women in rural areas or for special occations, it has become very popular attire at the Oktoberfest. Many women will also wear dirndl-style dresses, which are a little less expensive.

Lederhosen are pants made from leather. They are either short or knee-length. Historically, they were worn for hard physical labor because the leather was more durable than cloth. Today, Lederhosen are worn by men mainly for leisure. They have become a symbol of regional pride in Bavaria and many men choose to wear them to the Oktoberfest and at Biergartens.  Pair the Lederhosen with a blue-white checkered, blue, or white dress shirt for the perfect Oktoberfest party attire.

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