Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (Cincinnati) is the home of America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration, and the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich. The Cincinnati area actually has two big Oktoberfest celebrations: a smaller one across the river in Covington Kentucky and the large one in downtown Cincinnati. That’s how serious we are about Oktoberfest.
There’s music, dancing, and tons of beer and great food. And balls, but I’ll get to that.
I have deep German roots, my grandparents immigrated to Cincinnati from Germany like so many others during the WWII era. I grew up eating german food (it’s too bad my grandma was a terrible cook), and the German heritage in this area of the US still carries on today. The fountain downtown in Cincinnati actually has ties to the original Oktoberfest fountain in Munich too!
I eat sauerkraut every New Years Day, and grew up on metts, brats and potato pancakes. But there is nothing like good old fashioned festival/street food, and you know how much I LOVE street food!
You guys know this post will be heavy on the food. Sure, the dancing is fun, and the beer is great, but I really only went for the food. Here are a list of my favorite treats from Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Ok, ok, time for what you’ve been waiting for: what I ate (balls, balls, balls).
These were my all time favorite this year! They are breaded balls of goetta… wait, you’re not from Cincinnati and are probably like: “what the hell is goetta?”. It’s a unique Cincinnati meat, similar to sausage, only lighter. It’s a combination of steel cut oats, beef, pork and spices. It’s amazing. Balled, breaded and fried is even more amazing. Drool!
Here’s a picture of Dan, enjoying his balls (it just doesn’t get old).
One of these days I’ll remember to let him peel the camera out of my grasp to snap a few unattractive photos of me eating balls, but, to be fair, mine were gone so fast….
On a side note, Cincinnatians will make anything out of goetta.
Sauerkraut can be an acquired taste, but I grew up eating the stuff, and love the sour flavor. Same as goeta balls, these are breaded and fried balls filled with sauerkraut and served with spicy brown mustard.
Moving on from the ball fest (sorry guys, I only had two kinds of balls this year)…. Everyone knows this one, I should hope. Bavarian pretzels with cheese sauce are the way to my heart. My favorites are warm, straight from the oven with that slightly chewy texture. We do a lot of sandwiches on pretzel buns around here too.
Bavarian Cream Puffs
My mom used to make these pastries (mom, if you’re reading this, I’ve decided I’d like these this weekend. I’ll be over Sunday to pick them up). They’re semi-hard pastry shell with a delicate creamy center that’s lightly sweet.
Metts, Brats and Hot Dogs
Next to balls, there is really nothing better than a mett grilled to perfection, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, smothered in onions and peppers. This tied my #1 with goetta balls.
I LOVE french fries, and potatoes in general (see, I really am German!). Ribbon fries covered in cheese, ranch and chives are certainly no exception.
Is there anything better than a tender piece of fried meat? (actually, yes, goetta balls). We got a schnitzel sandwich, which was delicious but didn’t even compare to the ones in Munich, unfortunately.
We ordered Spciy Haluksa Noodles that were made fresh right there in the middle of downtown. They were delicious, thick, and had a slight bite, yet still tender and it was obvious they were homemade. Combined with the spicy broth and sweet sausage, it was a huge hit.
While technically not a food, I did manage to try several for you. Our favorites were the Sam Adams Oktoberfest and Erdinger.
As the night wore on, the crowds packed into downtown.
So many food stalls, so little time… Don’t worry, I totally had help eating my way through Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.
Have you tried any of these? Which one would you pick? If it’s not the balls, we just can’t be friends.