Octoberfest: beer and Schupfnudel

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dirndli 068In the last ten years the Octoberfest has become the largest beer festival in the world. It takes place in Münich, Bavaria (in 2013, September 21 to October 7), Germany and lasts for three weeks.

The Oktoberfest was originally a big wedding reception in October of 1810 for Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. There was a horse race and food and drink for the ordinary people, which was so popular (who does not like free food and drink) that it was put on again in 1816 (after the Napoleanic War).

In 1910, Oktoberfest had already celebrated its 100 birthday on the Theresian wiese, a big meadow named in honor of the princess. It has been moved forward to September to take advantage of the weather.

But after more then 200 years of course the city is not only famous for its beers and sausages – there is more to the Bavarian fair than that. Every year, an array of special events take place during Oktoberfest that you don’t want to miss; from colorful parades to open-air concerts, means that these Oktoberfest events give you a great taste of Bavarian culture and tradition.

Return to the October fest treatments: In addition to the most popular hearty dishes such as Bratwurst and Weisswurst one of the more famous meals served at Oktoberfest is the Schweinehaxe, a crispy bit of ham hock served with Bratkartoffeln or potato salad. One can try also a Brathendl, Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Rossspezialitaten (horse meat specialties) such as Rosswurst or Sauerbraten and Schweinebraten (pork roast). Besides the traditional, hearty fare, they also serve fun foods like potato pancakes, mushrooms cooked in wine and Schupfnudel. Since I am not really fond of starchy food after the official opening on last Saturday I felt like tasting the Schupfnudel. I have to say I really liked the combination of sour cabbage and bacon and a kind of noodle which was a bit similar to the Italian gnocchi since it was also made with potatoes.

What is Schupfnudel?

Schupfnudel (meaning rolled noodle in German; plural Schupfnudeln), also called Fingernudel (finger noodle), is the name of a type of dumpling or thick noodle in southern German and Austrian cuisine, similar to the more internationally familiar Italian gnocchi. They take various forms and can be referred to with a variety of names in different regions. They are usually made from rye or wheat flour and egg. Since the introduction of the potato to Germany in the seventeenth century, Schupfnudeln have also been made with potatoes. They are traditionally given their distinctive shape—similar to an elongated American football—through hand-shaping. They are often served as a savory dish with sauerkraut but are also served in sweet dishes.

Simple recipes only use rye flour and water for the dough, but many recipes include mashed potatoes, wheat flour and egg. The dough is kneaded and then rolled into a long, thin cylinder. This roll is cut into pieces about half an inch in width. These are rolled the typical shape of Schupfnudeln. Afterwards they are either cooked in salty water for about ten minutes or deep-fried. Many recipes include frying them in a pan afterwards as well.

Subsequently they are served in different ways: savory with sage-butter or sauerkraut or sweet with poppy seeds, sugar and cinnamon. In all cases it is necessary that the comparatively flavorless noodles incorporate the flavor of the other ingredients. Schupfnudeln can be served either as a side dish or as a main dish.

Schupfnudeln pan-fried with bacon bits and sauerkraut are commonly served at public wine festivals throughout Baden and Swabia.

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