Prost! Toast to Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest officially begins on the second to last Saturday in September at noon when the mayor of Munich taps the first barrel at the Schottenhamel Tent, crying "O’zapft is” (It’s open).

The German festival’s roots date back to 1810, when Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen with a multi-day celebration filled with drinking, feasting and horse races. Over the next two centuries, large beer halls were constructed for patrons, attracting revelers from all over the globe. Today, Oktoberfest is one of the world's largest festivals, including amusement rides, games, live music, and dancing that lasts 16 to 18 days, ending on the first Sunday in October.

The main theme behind Oktoberfest is the celebration of Bavarian history which, of course, includes beer (and a lot of yummy German foods).

The Food

German-style pretzels, also known as brezen, are traditionally paired with butter. When it comes to the meats, you have several options, including pork roasted with dark beer and onions (schweinebraten), roasted ham hock (schweinshaxe), and crispy roast chicken. Plus, German sausages, or würstl, of which there are a variety, including bratwurst.

The Beer

Beer is an essential part of any Oktoberfest celebration. If you want an authentic experience, there are six German lagers to seek out: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spaten, and Hofbräuhaus. For a simple celebration, start with the basics. There are more than 100 genuine German brands imported into the United States. Let our knowledgeable beer stewards help you find the right beer for your celebration.

Whether you tap a keg or crack open some bottles, as the host you should be the first to do so and proclaim "O’zapft is!"

Celebrate Oktoberfest with a Feast

Get a taste of Germany with these easy recipes you can make at home for your own Oktoberfest party. And of course, you’ll need plenty of beer to wash it all down!

Whole Roasted Chicken

Wash whole chicken inside and out, and thoroughly towel dry. Mix herbs and spices in a bowl. Rub chicken inside and out with the spice mixture. Place chicken in a baking dish filled with 1/2 inch of water. Cut butter into small pats, and place on top of the chicken. Roast at 325 degrees for about one hour, or until done. Baste with the pan juices several times during the roasting, every 15-20 minutes.

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Simmer sausage in water for 10 to 15 minutes. Brush drained sausages with olive oil and grill until skin is browned and crispy. That’s it! The most common way to cook sausage is to just throw them onto the grill or into the frying pan, but those methods can often result in dried-out meat.

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Pork Roast

Score the skin. Rub meat with spices on all sides and then place in a pan with a roasting rack. Roast at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half then take it out, add desired vegetables, pour beer over vegetables and the meat and put it back in the oven to finish roasting.

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Grilled Fish

Clean and gut fish, then thread it onto a stick (Steckerlfisch). Mackerel is the most common fish used, although salmon or trout can be used as well. Brush with butter or marinade to make the final cooked product crispy. Mount on grill with the heads near the embers. Once the fish is fully grilled, serve wrapped in paper or on a plate and eat with pretzels or bread rolls.

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Beef Roast

Combine mustard, brown sugar, garlic, and nutmeg in a small bowl; spread over roast and layer with onions. Pour beer and stock over top and season with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Add vegetables and cook 1 1/2 hours, removing lid for last 20 to 30 minutes to brown roast. Remove roast and vegetables to serving platter. Over medium-high heat, stir 1 tbsp cornstarch with cold water into pan juices. Bring to a boil, stirring, until thickened. Serve over slices of roast.

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Celebrate Oktoberfest

It's time for one of the season's greatest festivals — Oktoberfest! Vons has everything you need to get the party going. So, put on your polka playlist, raise a stein of ice-cold beer and serve yourself a hearty helping of delicious German Oktoberfest food.

From authentic grilled bratwurst topped with plenty of sauerkraut to crunchy pretzels paired with a nice selection of mustards, Oktoberfest food is sure please!

Your local Vons also has all the ingredients you need for more elaborate Oktoberfest food ideas. Combine a beef round roast with ginger, pickling spices and apple cider vinegar in a Dutch oven to create mouthwatering German Sauerbraten.

Of course, we can't leave out the desserts! Add cream cheese, chocolate chips, and maraschino cherries to gingersnap cookies and bake for a deliciously sweet plate of Lebkuchen cherry balls. And no Oktoberfest get-together is complete without a big slice of layered German chocolate cake topped with a rich coconut-pecan frosting.

No matter what you're craving, you'll find a world of fresh and flavorful dishes everyone will fall for. Shop in store or online now and check off all the items on your list from first to wurst!

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Oktoberfest Food & Drink