Following Foodie – Zinzinnati, USA

September 22, 2009 at 4:27 pm 2 comments

First off, my apologies for the long absence. As I said, I was gone all weekend, and then I had a slightly stressful beginning to my week, so that’s my reason for the silence. But now I’m back!

So this weekend, I again ventured down to Cincinnati. This time, I went in order to experience Oktoberfest in Zinzinnati, possibly an even bigger event than the WEBN Fireworks.

Oktoberfest in Germany began on October 18, 1810 to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Nowadays it lasts for 16 days (17 or 18 on years when the anniversary of Germany’s reunification falls on that last weekend). It’s the largest public fair in the world, hosting 6 and a half million people over the two weeks it takes place.

The last time I was in Cincinnati for Oktoberfest was when I was probably 5 or 6. I got the opportunity to go to the real Oktoberfest in Munich in 2006 while I was studying in London, so I was excited to see the differences. Cinci’s Oktoberfest is actually the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Munich, and is so big that it’s even been renamed America’s Oktoberfest. There is a huge concentration of German heritage in Cinci – 28 German groups from Cincinnati were there to open the festival!

Many of the German restaurants in the area come out to sell food, there’s live polka music, and there’s even a German beer tent or two :)

Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest is not only the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich, but it’s also one of the largest fairs of its kind – there are over half a million visitors over two days.

It also is where the record-holding largest group Chicken Dance occurred, during last year’s Oktoberfest. For those who don’t know, the chicken dance is a great music and dance combination – I grew up dancing it at weddings and other celebrations. At Oktoberfest, the chicken dance is always led by the Master of Ceremonies. This year, in honor of their 20th Anniversary (and maybe his love of food and beer), the MC was none other than Homer Simpson.

Unfortunately I missed the group dance, as it took place on Sunday, but there was plenty of it around the streets.

For the opening ceremony, there was also a music group there from Germany, and a representative from Munich, who gave a little speech. It was nice to hear some German :)

After watching the Opening Ceremonies, we began the true celebration of Oktoberfest – the eating and the drinking!

Warning: Some of the food seen below might be horrifying.

Immediately when I got there, I keyed in on the Pretzels. German Brezeln are possibly my favorite food ever, and I have yet to find a suitable substitution in America (calm down, Philly, I still love your soft pretzels, but they’re just a completely different food). These, however, came pretty darn close to the pretzels I ate at Oktoberfest in Munich.

I think they actually ship them directly from Germany for the event, so I would hope that they would be good…

Next came some deep fried madness. And I mean madness. I ate some Sauerkraut Balls,

Fried Dill Pickles,

Jalapeño Sauerkraut Balls,

and Goetta Balls.

Many of those are pretty self explanatory, but goetta might be an unknown to those people who don’t have the pleasure of living in the Cincinnati area, or growing up in a family from the Cincinnati area. So what is goetta (pronounced GET-uh, or GUT-uh)? I’ll let the local company, Glier’s, explain.

Every time I would visit my mom’s parents in Cincinnati, there would always be goetta there for breakfast. I even started making it myself a few years ago. I’d really never had it commercially before (or in ball form – usually it’s in pancake form, eaten with some bread and ketchup), and it was okay tasting. I think I’ll stick to the homemade version though :)

Oh yeah! And I did drink a beer at Oktoberfest (how can you not, really?). Surprisingly, my beer was a Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer. Now, whenever I think of Sam Adams, I immediately think of Boston, but it turns out that the creator of Sam Adams, Jim Koch, actually grew up in Cinci, and today, 35% of Sam Adams beers are brewed in Cincinnati!

Jim Koch was even there to help open the ceremony, and even brought a keg to tap to officially open the ceremony!

It wasn’t quite the same experience as being in Munich, but I think they captured the spirit of it – to eat and drink and be merry – quite nicely!

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The big 1-0, finally! Getting back on track

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Getting back on track « Following Foodie  |  September 23, 2009 at 10:40 am

    […] So the past couple of days, I’ve been eating pretty poorly (and that goes even beyond Sauerkraut Balls and the likes), mostly due to job and life related stress. Yesterday, I felt pretty awful all day, […]

    Reply
  • 2. Following Foodie – Columbus, OH « Following Foodie  |  December 6, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    […] been to Cincinnati a million times before, but I’ve actually never been to Columbus. Using a couple (non-food) blogs for reference, I noted […]

    Reply

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