Oktoberfest is a 16 – 18 day folk festival held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany that dates back to 1810 when King Ludwig I married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Since then, Oktoberfest has become the world’s largest beer festival and traveling funfair! There’s something to be said about festivals that celebrate traditions, heritage, love of food and brings people together.
A long time ago, Miami had an authentic German restaurant named Zum Alten Fritz. It was wonderful! They served authentic Austro-Germanic home-style dishes with a large selection of German beers in an authentic German setting. It was like traveling abroad in your own backyard. I didn’t enjoy German cuisine like that until I actually traveled to Germany and ate my way through little villages on our way to Prague. Maybe that’s why I love Oktoberfest.
I wanted to celebrate this Oktoberfest with a simple menu and small gathering at home. Good beer, good food, great company – that’s a party! That’s all you need. The tropics can be unpredictable and we had 80% chance of rain, so I set up my biergarten around my dining room table! Never let a weather event cancel your party, always have a backup plan!
Left: A festive sign in a gold frame on a picture easel with a mini pretzel necklace. A Beer flight with “Zum Wohl” means to your health in German. An authentic Hofbräu beer stein from my travels in Germany. Right: A metal vase with wheat floral sprigs decorated with a pretzel necklace. Mixed beer nuts in a footed glass cup next to an apple. Authentic German beer from Munich (purchased at my local liquor store) fill a hammered beverage tub that sits over a rustic wood serving tray.
Left: Bratwurst is authentic German. You can buy it at your local grocery store. Whatever you serve, don’t serve Kielbasa (it’s Polish, not German). Right: German stone ground mustard is a traditional way to eat pretzels. Nothing like warm, soft pretzels with a little mustard (or dipped in beer cheese soup). The Paulaner Munchen beer stein was a great $2 Goodwill find! I filled it with mini pretzels, but you can fill it with anything!
Left: I purchased frozen pretzel rolls at my local bakery, thawed them to room temperature and then heated them in the oven for the sandwiches. Added extra condiments – pickles, ketchup, mayonnaise and sauerkraut in small containers. Right: Decorate a long table or sideboard with festive themed items in gold and blue colors.
I placed everything in the table family style – beer cheese soup, black forest cake & apple strudel with their assorted sauces, and chicken and pork schnitzel sandwiches.
Sideboard: A simple fall garland fills up the background space and adds a pop of color that compliments the color scheme. Note the chandelier (other photos) also has a fall leaves garland strung around it. It adds a festive pop that ties the table to the sideboard.
Apple strudel with warm vanilla sauce and black forest cake with sweet dark cherry sauce were equally delicious! While the menu was filled with strong and bold flavors, these two desserts were a sweet delight! The strudel was like an apple pie in a flaky pastry and the chocolate cake was moist with whipped cream as frosting. Notice the cake is on a wooden tray like the beer on the side board. These recurring decorative touches create a cohesive look throughout.
German potato salad can be served room temperature, but I love it best when it’s still warm! The tangy bite of the vinegar mustard dressing is absorbed by the hot potatoes! I used a metal wire tree (for coffee mugs) to hang my pretzels and showcase them as the table centerpiece.
Grilled Bratwurst – flavorful and hearty sausage that’s grilled to perfection! I love to slice and serve as an appetizer to enjoy with great beer. You can find them at your local grocery and just grill them when your guests arrive.
Buttery Soft Pretzels – love these soft and buttery pretzels! So easy to make and they are so delicious and festive.
Beer Cheese Soup (Bierkäsesuppe) – a hearty and warm soup with origins dating back to medieval times.
Pork & Chicken Schnitzel Sandwiches – a lightly breaded cutlet with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onions and mayonnaise on a pretzel roll.
Bavarian Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat) – warm potatoes tossed in a tangy vinegar dressing! Perfect for any picnic.
Easy Black Forest Cake with Sweet Dark Cherry Sauce – a decadent chocolate cake with a sour cherry sauce, whipped cream and chocolate shavings!
Easy Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel) with Warm Vanilla Sauce – because you can’t have too many desserts and this recipe is so easy!
Weeks Prior – I shopped for iconic items I needed to finish the decor concept in my mind. I shopped in-store and online. I shopped new and used.
Day Before – I decorated the space and set the table. I used clear push pins to hang the bunting and decor from the ceiling and walls. Take your time to decorate. I like to take a step back and look at my space from various angles.
Same Day – I started early and cooked all the food. Contrary to my motto “prep ahead as much as you can”, I had theatre tickets to Les Miserables and the loss of prep time set me back. I started with the pretzels since they needed to proof and take long (start to finish). I continued with the soup and so on. I took shortcuts with store bought items when I could (puff pastry and box chocolate cake mix) because there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t be afraid to solicit help from family and friends to pull it all together.
Oktoberfest Party Decor Printables from Prepping Parties | Dimple Stein Beer Mugs, Metal Tree Stand (hanging pretzels), Oktoberfest Tablecloth, Beer Garden sign, Bunting, Napkins & vertical Party Greeting signs from Amazon | Oktoberfest Paper Lanterns, Dinner Plates, Yard Sign and Bracelets from Oriental Trading | White Soup Bowls, Mustard Napkins and Beer Flight from Pier 1 Imports | Blue Tablecloth from Bed, Bath and Beyond | Vintage coasters from eBay |
I hope this Oktoberfest party helps you create your own Oktoberfest event! Explore and travel from your own back yard!