Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Vegan Oktoberfest? You betcha!

6.7 million litres of beer, 400 million Euros, and around 3,500 lost and found items later, the Oktoberfest celebrations for 2013 officially finished a little over 3 weeks ago. To many people the celebration, which was actually originally a party to commemorate the wedding anniversary of King Ludwig I and Queen Therese of Bavaria, is synonymous with all-day beer drinking, socialising, and non-stop partying. Sadly, it has also always been associated with a large amount of meat consumption, with barely any options for us plant-based eaters. 

Not anymore. 

Here are a couple of things I found in and around Theresienwiese during the time of the celebration:

Considering it's their first time catering to vegetarians and vegans, the Herzkasperl Festzelt in the Olde Wiesn part of Oktoberfest did a pretty good job organising their menu. Along with their Hacker Pschorr beer, they also served tasty albeit pricey veganised traditions such as soy medallions with Spätzle and cream sauce, almond broccoli, and cranberries, homemade cheese Spätzle, and most importantly, apple cake in beer batter with homemade ice cream. They had not-so-traditional carrot orange ginger soup and Feldsalat with falafels too. 

On a certain day of the festival, Vegane Gesellschaft Deutschland also had a Veganes Oktoberfest celebration in Marienplatz. For cheaper traditional grub I would recommend checking their Facebook events page which day of the festival these celebrations would be. 

One of the most interesting looking dishes I found at the Veganes Oktoberfest celebration was a traditional Swabian specialty: Käse Späzle. The noodle based dish on offer was served with the perfect amount of non-dairy cheese, sauerkraut, and smoked tofu pieces. Hands down, this is the best German food I've tried so far. 

These Semmelknödel, a.k.a. dumplings, were made with bread cubes steamed in non-dairy milk before then being mixed with chopped parsley and sautéd onions. These can be served with sauerkraut or a creamy mushroom sauce, but to my disappointment it was the latter. That may just be my biased opinion though, since I do love sauerkraut. 

Based on the colour and the ridiculous price of sweet potatoes here in Germany, I thought this sweet dessert pie would've been pumpkin pie. To my surprise it was actually sweet potato pie topped with chopped walnuts. 

Fun finger food for kids: cornflake clusters coated with chocolate, accompanied by a free energy ball made of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and oats. I remember having these cornflake cluster things from Benguet when I was younger, so having these in another corner of the world brought back lots of nice memories. 

Just as I was about to leave, I spotted a stall that made seitan goulash. I figured it was worth trying just for the sake of trying new cuisine, but as usual the texture just creeped me out. Call me weird, but I just don't like the texture of seitan and other non-animal 'meats' despite my love for tofu and tempeh. 

Finally, what I've been looking for in Belgium: vegan waffles! Hot off the waffle maker and sprinkled generously with disconcerting amounts of sugar. Mmmm, perfect end of the meal just as the rain started pouring. 

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