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Oktoberfest/German party ideas

My turn is coming up to host the bimonthly Gourmet Club at my house. Given that it will be in October, I am leaning toward an Oktoberfest theme. As host I decide the menu and make the main course, and everyone else brings the go-withs, from appetizers to dessert. I can provide specific recipes if I choose to.

Please chime in. I appreciate your ideas. Thank you.

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  1. I LOVE a warm German potato salad.

    1. Obviously sausages, bretzels, schnitzels, and spaetzels.

      As far as specifics, you can make various flavored mustards and breads for the sausages. Use all sorts of meats like turkey, chicken, pork and veal for the schnitzels maybe serve a schnitzel sampler?

      I don't have a recipe but a german biergarten I go to makes an amazing bacon and cheese spaetzle. It is almost like a creamy mac and cheese with thick cut chunks of bacon the size of lardons.

      1. Obviously bratwurst-here is a fun Wisconsin website that has some good ideas for sides and toppings for brats:

          1. I think most appropriately this should be Bavarian food, meaty and bready. Schweinshax'n, Semmelklopse, Sauerbraten, Rouladen, Schnitzel, Bretzn, Würste (Weißwurst an obvious must), Spaetzle (I had a great one with cream, bacon and blue cheese).

            If it were me I would have a coldcut and cheese platter to start, perhaps also a croquette filled with Quark or Bretzn with flavored mustards, Rouladen or Schweinshax'n, sauerkraut and Spaetzle and a hazelnut torte to finish.

            1. At an Oktoberfest beer-hall celebration in Munich, the featured food was weisswurst. I don't remember what accompaniments there were.

              1. Every year, whether I have company or not, I make Sauerbraten with potato pancakes and homemade red cabbage. Some dark bread is good for sandwiches.


                My recipes are included avove

                1. We do this at our house each year. Sauerbraten, kraut, big pretzels, spaetzel, potato pancakes, applesauce, brats and dogs (for the kids)...nothing too fancy. I've found that most people want the "typical German food", not anything too far off the radar. I shred the sauerbraten for sandwiches on big hearty buns. People love them.

                  And beer. Lots of beer.

                  1. How about a choucroute garni? I don't know the German term for sauerkraut with a bunch of pork products, but it's pretty much the same recipe: smoked pork chops, bratwurst or weisswurst or a combination like that, and a fresh pork roast of some sort, maybe pieces of ham or bacon. I like to do the kraut with plenty of sliced onion, some caraway seeds, and a braising liquid that is part lager beer, part chicken broth. Also, I do this in a roasting pan with the meat nestled in, so that the kraut sort of caramelizes (you'll want to stir it up occasionally and add more beer/broth/water as it dries out). The classic side would be mashed potatoes, I think.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Youffraita

                      It all sounds too wonderful. I'm drooling already.

                      1. re: slofood

                        It is. I usually start with half lager and half broth--maybe a quart total. But to get the caramelization, you need to let it almost dry out a few times, stir, and add a bit more liquid. Needless to say, I do not cover the roasting pan. Your fresh pork will be nicely browned on top. The chops don't need to brown; keep them buried in the kraut. The sausages you'll want to brown a little bit; call it half-buried and flip them when you stir up the kraut. It's actually a really easy recipe to make, and I think choucroute garni is from Alsace, which would make it half-german to begin with. Alsatians would probably use white wine instead of beer; but I think lager adds to the color and is more appropriate for kraut, even when it isn't Oktoberfest!

                    2. For dessert: Pflaumenkuchen/Apfelkuchen (plum cake/apple cake). Use the recipe at www.spendidtable.org for Original Plum Torte. This is almost exactly like the basic fruit kuchen recipe in the "Bayrisches Kochbuch" I have, though using Imperial measurements. You can easily substitute thinly-sliced apples for the plums (or any other stone fruit or rhubarb - sugar accordingly). You can double the recipe and bake them in large sheet pans to serve a crowd (use parchment underneath - with extra hanging over the sides - for easy removal from pan, put a little grease under the parchment to keep in from slipping while you spread in the dough). Lay the plums/apples/whatever on the dough like shingles. We do an Oktoberfest every year and these cakes are a great hit.
                      If you have a German butcher near you, order a couple of loafs of "Leberkaese" - it's like a big loaf of balogna (has no liver in it), just heat it up in your oval crock pot or in the over. The "Amis" (Americans) love this stuff. Viel Spass! O'Zapft is'!