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Oktoberfest, the great Munich beer festival took place for the first time on October 12, 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig (who later became King Louis I of Bavaria).
The festival was such a huge success that it was repeated annually from that year on.
As the weather usually starts to get chilly in October, the festival dates were moved ahead a few years later. It now starts in the second half of September and ends on the first Sunday of October.
The Oktoberfest has spawned similar festivals in many other countries, often thanks to the initiative of German immigrants.
I suggest that you celebrate your own Oktoberfest this week with two beer-centric recipes:
Beef stewed in beer with onions, brown sugar, and herbs. This is the national Belgian dish. In some regions, bread spread with mustard is added towards the end of the cooking to give a special texture to the sauce. Rodenbach red beer is traditionally used in this recipe but any good red beer will do (possibly from Belgium).
This classic pub food of Great Britain is at its best when using an old cheddar cheese. The light version uses a low-fat cheddar.
Farfalle, which means «butterflies» in Italian, are rectangular pieces of pasta that are pinched in the middle. They originated in Northern Italy back in the 1500s.
«O’zapft is!», let the celebrations begin!
Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on September 29, 2007.