Willkommen to Oktoberfest across Canada! It's time to put on your dirndls and lederhosen and let loose with that time-honoured Bavarian toast:
[caption id="attachment_6086" align="aligncenter" width="288" caption="My favourite Oktoberfest in Canada: Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. Willkommen! (Courtesy: Explore Waterloo)"] [/caption] Oktoberfest in Canada entices German descendents, Bavarian wannabes and revellers - not to mention beer lovers -- of all stripes to tuck into plates of sauerkraut, bratwurst, cabbage rolls, sausage, wiener schnitzel, sausage with Weisswurstsenf mustard ... along with endless steins of beer. I remember one particularly eventful Oktoberfest weekend in Kitchener-Waterloo, where I attended university, when my cousin Rosie got engaged, cousin Theresa almost asphyxiated herself under a cloud of talcum powder (it's too complicated to explain here) and I inadvertently stumbled into my neighbour's kitchen at 4 am. (Row houses look the same!) Where did Oktoberfest begin? The tradition of Oktoberfest dates back to Munich, Germany, in the 1800s when King Ludwig of Bavaria married Princess Therese. The court threw such a memorable celebration to mark the wonderful event that citizens decided to commemorate the marriage again a year later. German descendents who moved to Kitchener, formerly Berlin, continued the trend. My five favourite Oktoberfest foods Oktoberfest is a veritable buffet of Bavarian grub. Here are my favourites. 1. Bratwurst Bratwurst on a bun beats a take-out hamburger any day. One of these at mid-day will fuel you for hours of high-kick dancing. [caption id="attachment_6125" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Bratwurst (Courtesy: Kobako)"] [/caption] 2. Pretzels They look so simple - but the taste is so satisfying. Top with a little mustard and you've got an incredible snack to go. [caption id="attachment_6126" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Nosh on pretzels while watching the Oktoberfest parade (Courtesy: Sundar)"] [/caption] 3. Haxn (Pork Hock) Three words: succulent, tasty, lip-smacking (okay, that's four words). Note: best eaten while sitting (you, not not the pork). [caption id="attachment_6076" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Finger licking pork hock, known as haxn (Courtesy: Sundar)"] [/caption] 4. Sauerkraut Then: when I was a kid I couldn't stomach cabbage in any recipe. Now: I pile it onto burgers and sausage any chance I get. It's pictured here served with a potato noodle called Schupfnudln. [caption id="attachment_6127" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Sauerkraut with Schupfnudln (Courtesy: Markus Hagenlocher)"] [/caption] 5. Wiener Schnitzel There was a time when I couldn't order wiener schnitzel in a restaurant without breaking into a wicked imitation of Sargent Schultz from that 70s prisoner-of-war TV series "Hogan Heroes." Ask for lemon wedges. It's always a good dish to share...if you must. By the way, if you're in Edmonton, make a reservation at Bistro Praha. Without exaggeration, they serve the best wiener schnitzel ever! [caption id="attachment_6130" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Wiener Schnitzel (Courtesy: Rudiger Wolk)"] [/caption] Where to celebrate Oktoberfest in Canada: If you ever get the chance, time a visit to Germany for Oktoberfest in Munich. Their version of a beer tent is incredible. But you do have some great options closer to home. Here are 5 Oktoberfest events in Canada to mark on your calendar: •1. Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest: Canada's Biggest Bavarian Festival The region's 43rd Oktoberfest runs this year from Oct. 7-15 throughout the Kitchener-Waterloo area. The heady carnival atmosphere reflects the Germanic origins of this part of Ontario (Kitchener was formerly named Berlin). Parades, concerts, food, dancing. Don't miss Oktoberfest Idol. If you've got some extra time, consider a road trip to nearby St. Jacob's, Ontario where you can purchase locally produced goods from Mennonites and other artisans. For more ideas, visit Explore Waterloo Region website. • 2. Oktoberfest at the Vancouver Alpen Club. Don't miss the last days of Oktoberfest in Vancouver. You've got Oct. 7 and 8 to enjoy German beer, food and music in the Alpen Club. • 3. Oktoberfest Port Alberni, British Columbia Headlining the Oct. 21 and 22 festivities will be Klaus from Hamburg joined by the Edelweiss Dancers. •4. Oktoberfest to Rocktoberfest at Shaw Centre in Edmonton on Oct. 29 features Kim Mitchell, the Bavarian Schuhplattlers of Edmonton and The Black Forest Band. • 5. Oktoberfest Heritage Dinner, Lake Charlotte, Nova Scotia. Book October 15 for a Bavarian feast and evening of Oktoberfest music and German beer at The Cookhouse, Memory Lane Heritage Village. What's your favourite Oktoberfest food?
"Ein Prosit, ein Prosit gemüdlichkeit,
Ein Prosit ein Prosit gemütlichkeit ...
einz, zwei, drei, suffa!"