This past weekend, our family celebrated our German heritage with a slightly belated, at-home Oktoberfest. The actual Oktoberfest in Munich takes place at the end of September through early October. But hey, we're still in the nominally appropriate month, so close enough. ;) Even though we weren't right on with the timing of our celebration, we more than made up for it with the food, fashion, and feature film.
A menu solely comprised of comfort foods! Schnitzel with noodles is a given. And yes, I am humming "My Favorite Things" right now. Applesauce is a nod to my great-great-grandmother Eva who used apples in everything, even chocolate chip cookies! Gewürztraminer is one of our favorite white wines. Oh, here's an interesting tidbit of information for you... Germany does actually make red wines! In fact, they are the top third producer of Pinot Noir, following France and the U.S. They call it Spätburgunder, but it's the same fruity dry red we're all familiar with.
My showstopper Black Forest Cake is inspired by the Great British Baking Show, when they were challenged to make a Black Forest Gateau. Several of the contestants made chocolate-work trees, so I wanted to try my hand at it too. My "pine trees" are a little bit abstract, a design you might see on a contemporary Christmas card. The deciduous trees (shall we call them maples?), I tried to keep more realistic. I'm still in a learning curve, but overall, the cake decorations aren't half bad. :) In regards to the cake itself, I stuck with our foolproof Betty Crocker chocolate cake. I drizzled on a few tablespoons of brandy to soak into the sponge. (Booze is always optional of course, but I think Mary Berry would approve of this addition.) The Black Forest recipe linked below calls for pitted sour cherries, but I just used plain old cherry pie filling, since it was sitting in the pantry.
Butter-Fried Egg Noodles
My mom was sweet enough to let me borrow her authentic dirndl dress, which she had ordered direct from Germany when she was my age. The costume has three components: a cropped blouse, a tailored jumper dress, and matching apron. I just LOVE wearing this dress; it's like taking a step back in time. It fits so perfectly and makes me feel impossibly cute, which is something we all need once in a while.
The Feature Film
It had been a couple years since we watched The Sound of Music, so we were anxious to see it again. I know, I know, the story takes place in Austria, but it turns out that Oktoberfest is also celebrated in Vienna! And the lyrics of the musical say "schnitzel with noodles," so there's our justification.
Inspired by the mischievous von Trapp children, I placed a pinecone on my mom's chair at the dining table. Hehe. Luckily, she did notice it before sitting down.
Well, that covers all the details of our little Oktoberfest. Has anyone celebrated Oktoberfest at one of the numerous festivals around Wisconsin? I'd love to hear in the comments!
'Til next time,