Oktoberfest: Sampling the World in Small Bites

When you think “Oktoberfest,” you likely immediately think of beer—big steins of the stuff (Oktob-BEER-fest, anyone?) paired with jumbo salted pretzels and a fried sausage topped with kraut. Don’t get it (pretzel) twisted, we love our brews! We’re from Chicago, after all. But as custom caterers, we’re more interested in the food and the overall culinary experience of the celebration. This year, we’ve followed the worldwide health and wellness trends, adding healthier options to our menus and promoting balance and inclusivity. But what happens when a holiday or seasonal festival hits and it’s time to indulge? We believe that taking the time to treat yourself to a taste of rich, indulgent food and good times with friends and family is an integral component in overall wellness. Here are some health-conscious-ish ways we enjoy classic Oktoberfest catering.

Hors D’oeuvres in Düsseldorf

Technically, Oktoberfest is primarily celebrated in Munich, Bavaria. But, come on. Let us have this. We’re starting our celebration, (after a boozy toast to the season, of course), with soup! Beer soup is a european tradition dating back to medieval times. Typically served over or with a hefty hunk of bread, this roux-based stew is rich in flavor, thanks to the addition of sharp cheddar cheese. Since it’s only the first course, we suggest taking your soup in the form of a shooter, like our tomato basil soup shooters. It’s just enough of a sip for you to taste the flavor profile, but not so much that you can’t try all the other Oktoberfest foods!

Today, Germany is one of the main producers of Brussels sprouts. When shaved, seasoned and cooked down, they’re one of our favorite appetizers. We serve our sprouts in small portions and top with shaved pecorino and crispy chickpea croutons. Voila! A modern take on a classic winter vegetable.

Snacks in Stuttgart

By “snacks,” we mean anything that doesn’t exactly fit into any other course in the meal. Of course for Oktoberfest, we’re talking pretzels. There’s something so whimsical about that salted, browned dough, and the oversized twists are emblematic of the folk fest.

That being said, our Oktoberfest theme this year is all about experiencing little luxurious and sampling the world in bite-size pieces. We served these small soft pretzel balls with a drizzle of melted cheese as an homage to Chicago’s Wrigley Field, but they’re just as suited to be served as German party snacks.

(Mini) Burgers in Hamburg

Nothing says Oktoberfest like a juicy, meaty sandwich and a big ol’ stein of beer to wash it all down. But if you indulge in one big sandwich, you won’t have room to try all the other fall foods at the party. Here at EC, we’re big fans of tiny sliders—one or two bites of the best-tasting burger and the perfect lager to match. Some variations on the German slider include pulled pork sandwiches, brisket with caramelized onions, kobe beef on pretzel sliders, Chicago-style sausages and hot dogs, and more.

What’s your favorite twist on Oktoberfest catering?