Rayka was born and raised in Northern Germany, in a small village on the border with Denmark. Growing up rather away from almost everything, she found her excitement in writing and visualizing life in places far away from home. Right after school, where she studied literature and anthropology, she started exploring the world.
Since 2000, Rayka has been living a nomad live, writing about traveling, plays and short stories, making art and theater in Europe, East Africa, South East Asia and North America.
She's a member of Label Gray NYC, the FREE(AK) SHOW and the founder of the Performancekollektiv for New Music and Text in the intercultural context DissOPERAlusion.
So you just can’t make it to the real Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, and there is no Bavarian beer party close to your hometown? Well, how about hosting your own little Oktoberfest-inspired event – with tasty dishes made from the original recipes, great beer and some lovely decoration ideas!
How to make it look like you’re at the real Oktoberfest?
So, the first most important ingredient for any Oktoberfest related party is beer, of course. At the original event they only serve beer from Munich. Therefore to give your festivity an authentic touch, try to find Paulaner, Franziskaner or something similar. It would be amazing if you could find the Maß beer glasses as well! These are the thick glasses used for one liter of beer – a classic!
The traditional colors of the Oktoberfest are cobalt blue and white. So how about decorating everything with these two colors – from napkins, cups, tablecloth, festoons, to basically anything else that you can think of? The typical decorations would also include anything with edelweiss, hearts and felt. Gingerbread hearts are also very popular.
Oktoberfest is a party for people – so it’s a rather simple one. Find some easy solutions like placing all forks in one mug instead of laying them out nicely on a table.
If you have a garden and you want to use it for the party – then consider setting up a tent with a table and some long, narrow benches inside. Also, if possible – ask an Oomph band to come in and play for you and your guests. If this is not an option, then just put on a playlist with some traditional Bavarian music on.
In Munich, they usually play the old folk songs until about 10 pm, and then put on more modern bands like Die Ärzte or Die Toten Hosen, or some other newer folk music, like anything from Helene Fischer. Make sure to include these songs: “Skandal im Sperrbezirk” by Spider Murphy Gang, “Wahnsinn” by Wolfgang Petry, “Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht” by Drafi Deutscher and “Hey Baby” by DJ Ötzi. Although, “Que sera sera” by Doris Day and “Country Roads” by John Denver are popular too.
For sure it would be lovely if you could dress up for your Oktoberfest party. For men that means some leather pants, a shirt, braces and a hat. For ladies a dirndl, which is a long traditional-looking dress with a large open cleavage area, plus a long blond braid placed around your head.
Lastly and most importantly – you should have fun decorating and partying in an Oktoberfest-style! (So don’t lose yourself in too many details).
How to make it taste and smell like the Oktoberfest?
One of the best parts about the Oktoberfest is definitely the food! It smells delicious instantly. So let me introduce you to a few tasty dishes which would make any Oktoberfest party a huge success and will blow your guests’ minds away.
There are a couple of items that you would probably find the easiest to buy right-away, such as “hendl” (a half roasted chicken) as well as Weißwurst (a white sausage) with some sweet mustard. To impress your guests with a bit of insider knowledge, you should only serve Weißwurst before noon. Although it’s usually served with beer, it’s considered a breakfast dish. This goes back to the times when the white sausage was prepared in the morning but would get spoiled before the evening, so you had to consume it right away. At the Oktoberfest though, you can eat it anytime nowadays – but don’t get surprised if a true Bavarian gives you a strange look.
There are other simple dishes which you can try on your own, since they’re not too complicated to make, and they taste real good. So how about preparing the ever popular “Schweinshaxn” – pork knuckles with red cabbage and some beloved dumplings?
Bavarians also love their cheese, especially the very traditional and amazing Obazda, which is usually served with a Pretzel. Oh, and those sweet yeast dumplings with vanilla sauce for dessert? Yummy! Finally, as a little extra – try to make a sauerkraut soup. It just never feels like a real German festivity without sauerkraut, does it?
So let me pass on to you some delicious recipes for these authentic Oktoberfest dishes (each serving is for 4 persons).
“Schweinshax” – pork knuckles with red cabbage and dumplings
I would personally be incredibly impressed, if I came to a private Oktoberfest party and this would be served as the main dish. Although it requires more time to prepare than other recipes, it brings together three popular dishes: pork knuckles, red cabbage and the dumplings! So let’s see what ingredients we’ll need:
For the Pork Knuckle:
- 1 kg pork hocks
- 2 tbsp salt
- garlic, olive oil, caraway seeds
For the Potato Dumplings:
- 500 g potatoes
- 100 g plain flour
- 1 egg
- 1 bunch of chives
- salt and pepper
For the Red Cabbage:
- 2 red cabbages (slice them finely)
- 2 peeled, cored and finely sliced apples
- 2 juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt, pepper
- red wine
The dumplings and the cabbage will taste best if you start making them at least one day in advance. Start with boiling the potatoes in their skin and letting them cool off. Marinating the red cabbage needs a bit more work. Add the sliced apples, spices, bay leaves, salt, sugar, pepper and wine to the cabbage. Cover it with a towel and leave it overnight.
On the next day, rub the skin of the pork knuckles with salt, oil, garlic and some caraway seeds. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the pork knuckles in a baking dish with 2cm of water and roast it for 2 hours.
Then you can come back to the red cabbage, which marinated so nicely overnight. Place the marinated cabbage mixture in a pot, cover it and braise it for 20 minutes over low heat. Taste it to see if you should add a bit of red wine. The cabbage should be soft before serving it.
You already cooked the potatoes, so now it’s time to peel their skin off, and to mash them. Add some flour, one egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg and chives and roll it into a long ‘sausage’. Then cut the ‘sausage’ into pieces and roll them into balls. Boil salted water and cook the dumplings for up to two minutes – until they float. Take the dumplings out and arrange them along with the red cabbage and the “Schweinshax” on a serving plate.
You might be satisfied with preparing this very famous “Schweinshax” dish alone as this is a very authentic meal. Just imagine how you’d serve it with a beer, turn on an Oomph-Band song and then sit down with your guests at your white and blue covered table. You’re in the middle of your own Oktoberfest already!
Of course there are other options to add a bit more of the wonderful and traditional German food. For example, “Brotzeit” which is bread served with cheese and radish, could be one of them.
Brotzeit with Obazda cheese
- 500 g Camembert or Brie
- 40 g soft butter
- 200 g cream cheese
- 150 finely chopped onions
- salt and pepper
- chopped chives
Start kneading a Camembert or a Brie then mix it in with some cream cheese, onions and butter. Season it with salt, pepper and caraway. Now add some beer and stir. Place your Obazda in a small bowl next to Pretzels and a variety of bread. Add chives and radishes on top to give it an authentic look and taste.
There’s no way you’re ever going to pass by an Oktoberfest, or any German Beer Garden for that matter, without at least seeing one sausage salad. This is an all-time favorite, and it’s so easy to make! It will certainly add even more original flavor to your Oktoberfest festivity.
What you’ll need:
- 600 g cooked sausage, such as beerwurst
- 4 dill pickles from a jar
- 4 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 4 tbsp dill pickle liquid form a jar
- 4 tbsp vegeatble oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 red onions
- 1 bunch of chives
First slice the sausage and the dill pickles. Then place them together in a bowl. Next add the vinegar, the dill pickle liquid and some oil to the mixture. Season the salad with salt and pepper. Marinate it for 15 minutes.
Finally, peel and slice the onions into rings and chop the chives. After 15 minutes you can place the sausage salad on a plate and sprinkle it with onions and chives, on top. The sausage salad also goes well with soft pretzels.
The sauerkraut is widely eaten in Germany. There’s no doubt that you should offer a dish made of sauerkraut at your Oktoberfest party. And instead of just adding it to the meat dishes, try something that’s also popular at the Oktoberfest – a soup made of sauerkraut, with a Pretzel on the side!
- 500 g of German sauerkraut
- 250 g of chopped speck or bacon
- 125 g sliced smoked sausage
- 140 ml sour cream
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 crushed large garlic clove
- 1 liter cold water
- ½ tbsp of grounded paprika
- 2 tbsp of chopped fresh dill
- salt and pepper
Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water and leave it to drain. Then place the sauerkraut, onion and garlic into a saucepan filled with cold water, add some seasoning and boil the mixture. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile fry the bacon. Then add some paprika to the sauerkraut and stir. Simmer it for another 15 minutes. Now you can add some dill and the sausage. Later add the sour cream on top, to taste.
Sweet Dumplings With Vanilla Sauce
What kind of an Oktoberfest party would it be, without at least one delicious dessert? The sweet dumplings with vanilla sauce in particular, might be one of the best desserts in the world (or at least in Germany).
What you’ll need:
- 1 kg flour
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 2 packages of yeast
- 500 ml lukewarm water
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp of salt
- Vanilla or Cherry Sauce
Knead the dough by mixing together flour, salt, yeast, sugar, water and eggs, until it loosens and doesn’t stick to the sides of a bowl. Next, cover the dough with a towel and leave it until it doubles in size. This should take approximately 2 hours.
Now you can prepare the poaching liquid. Place a large saucepan with milk, butter and sugar on a low heat, until the butter melts.
When the dough is ready divide it into 4-6 equal portions and shape them into a ball. Then place them into the poaching liquid. They should have enough space and not touch each other. Now cover it with a lid and leave it for 25 minutes on low heat. Afterwards check if the top of the dumplings are firm enough, otherwise leave it for a bit longer. Finally remove the lid and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or until all the poaching liquid evaporates.
Meanwhile prepare the vanilla or the cherry sauce. When the dumplings are ready, place half of the sauce onto a plate, followed by the dumplings in the middle, and then pour the remaining sauce over the dumplings.
* * *
Enjoy your party to the fullest with these fantastic dishes and don’t forget to tap a keg, if you can get your hands on a barrel of beer. Also make sure to shout the traditional toast: “O’zapf is!”, inviting everyone to start drinking their beer, just like the Mayor of Munich at the official start of the Oktoberfest in Germany!
Prost and Guten Appetit!