Oktoberfest 2012 in Oakland Park: Food by the Ambry
Although beers get all the glory in Oktoberfest celebrations near and far -- from Munich to Topeka to Oakland Park -- it's the spectacular German food that ultimately helps everyone empty their endless liter mugs.
Bottom line: bodacious pieces of pork knuckle are as much a custom at the 200-plus-year-old Bavarian celebration (it honors the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig, who would become King Ludwig I, to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen) as the froth-filled Augustiner-Bräu beer steins that accompany them.
Munich-born chef Hans Huber invited us over to show off the cuisine that will be offered at the eighth annual Oktoberfest in Oakland Park, coming October 5 and 6. Since 2004, Huber's German eatery, the Ambry, has been chosen as the exclusive caterer for this ode to Bavarian bacchanalia.
Last year, Huber tells us, The Ambry pumped out more than 1,000 pounds of German sausage, 500 pounds of potato salad, 2,800 pretzels and 110 kegs of Tucher. Huber begins placing orders in May, and has his kegs of Tucher shipped directly from the Munich brewery for the occasion.
For meat this year, Huber has made the shift from roasted chicken to smoked pork chops. He will be smoking the succulent swine for over one week prior to the event. This man is serious about his hog. With over 300 pounds of pork ordered, Huber also plans on serving up tons of Haxen Semmel, which is basically the tender, weeklong smoked pork sliced up and mounted on a sandwich.
Bratwurst (pan-fried sausage sometimes made of of pork and beef -- but hardcore Germans say must include veal), knockwurst (more like a hot dog) and currywurst (beef sausage with lots of curry) will all be represented, each showcasing a different hue.
Accompanying the tasty slices of swine is a mountain of fluffy egg-based German noodles, known as Spaetzle. Frikadellen, also known as German meatloaf, will be soaked in a tomato-based sauce.
The main attraction, of course, is the wiener schnitzel. Huber breads his veal, lightly pan fries it, and serves it with a cranberry sauce.
For beers, Huber is flying in 50 kegs of Tucher Hefe Weizen, a German wheat beer with aromatic notes of lemon and coriander.
Although Oakland Park's Oktoberfest is not the largest in South Florida (that distinction goes to American-German Club of the Palm Beach's shindig in Lantana,) he feels it is the most authentic around. "For us it is not just about throwing a huge party, but maintaining tradition," Huber said. "We stick to only original Munich product, and that's what makes us different."
The eighth annual Oakland Park Oktoberfest gets underway on Friday, October 5 (from 5 to 11 p.m.) and lasts until Saturday (1 to 11 p.m.) A $5 donation is suggested for admission. For a full list of Oakland Park Oktoberfest events, visit oaklandparkmainstreet.com.
Follow @ CleanPlateBPB