Handed down to the modern world from Bavarian tradition, Oktoberfest is synonymous with getting together for a good time and enjoying good food and of course, the best beer and wine. Even though its easy to spend every night of the week out in Montreal, trying new restaurants, bars and cafes, sometimes it’s great to have a night in with your friends. An Oktoberfest at home is an excellent way to get creative and show off your favourite places to grab everything from sausages to sauerkraut.
Last week I got together with my friends Veronique (lajournaliste.com), Vincent (mazrou.com) and Caroline (ellequebec.com) for our version of a Montreal Oktoberfest. Coming from 4 different points of view, we (The Syndicate – I know, too cool) wanted to offer our readers options for a thematic dinner that featured the best local products that are easy to find and prepare. Montreal has plenty of wonderful small businesses that provide their customers with high quality local foods and microbreweries that brew up the best beers and ales for every taste.
One by one everyone arrived last Friday night and slowly the meal came together. We couldn’t start cooking until we had a opened the night with a little bubbly. Vincent brought along a wonderful sparkling white wine from the Quebec-based, Domaine de Lavoie. It was lightly sweet with a crisp finish and wonderful way to chat a bit while we cooked up a storm.
Our version of Oktoberfest put a Montreal spin on the traditional German festival. We kept the basics (sausage, sauerkraut and beer) but we added wine because we love wine and a few other things to round out the meal. For the bulk of the food we went to Les Bons Buveurs on Jean-Talon (near the market) because of their selection. Their coolers are stacked with homemade sausage, sauerkraut, mayo and more from Ils en Fument du Bon, one of the most recognizable food brands in the city. They also feature a selection of local beers, ciders, hot sauces and just about everything you might need for your very own Oktoberfest. The selection is outstanding. We tried three different sausages including bacon and cheese curds, smoked sausage and olives, feta and sun-dried tomatoes. They come in packs of 4 so for 4 people you’ll have plenty.
We also chose three different beers from Les Bons Buveurs, including microbreweries a red ale from P’it Caribou, an IPA from Le Castor and a double IPA from Tribale. Each complimented the sausages perfectly. Glutenberg also provided us with a selection of gluten-free beers that were also wonderful. The Glutenberg Blonde was particularly good and for beer lovers who have difficulty with gluten, this and all their brews are a great alternative. The IPA and Glutenberg Rousse were also notably well brewed and flavourful. Fans of red beer will find the Rousse delightful, almost a stout in its nature, the flavours of caramel and coffee are pleasant and surprising.
Because we love wine, the Société de Vins Fins provided us with 3 different wines to test and pair with our meal. The table was pretty full but we are professionals and it was our job to make sure everything we tied into a perfectly urban Oktoberfest. We tried the wines in a particular order. Having started with the sparkling white wine, we opened a bottle of Secco-Bertani ($18.35/ SAQ: 00012443) when we sat down to eat. The Italian red wine was flavourful yet supple and paired well with the meal. Next we opened a bottle of Quatro Cabernet Sauvignon ($18.55/ SAQ: 11331737) from Chile. It had a spicy yet ripe, fruity flavour, bringing us deeper into the flavours of the wine and again paired well with the spicy side of the meal. Lastly we opened a bottle of De Loach Zinfandel ($19.25/ SAQ: 00492397) from California. This was aromatic, fruity (with notes of cherry, grape and apricot) and finished with a sweet, Vanilla flavour.
To complete the meal I made some cheese covered, baked mashed potatoes and we tries several different mustards from a local grocery store. With the combination of sausages, potatoes, sauerkraut, mustards and more, we can easily call our first every Oktoberfest at home a success! It’s a great idea that gets people cooking together and makes for a relaxed yet eventful night at home.
We ended the meal with a selection of delicious caramels from Les Caramels FAA. Indonesian Coffee, Sea Salt, Maple and Cocoa were a few of the flavours we tried and loved. These are made locally and are completely amazing. You can read more about them here.
A big thank you to Ils en Fument du Bon, Les Bons Buveurs, Glutenberg, Domaine de Lavoie and the Société de Vins Fins for providing us with the essentials of the night. These products and ideas will no doubt help make your Oktoberfest at home a massive success! You can read more about our night at La Journaliste or at Mazrou.com! They both have excellent POV’s from our Oktoberfest night and there’s a recipe for my magical mashed potatoes.
Certain images credited to Véronique Harvey (ok, all of them except one!)