Get A Taste For Germany
Wednesday October 15, 2008
There's more to Oktoberfest celebrations than beer - there's also the food. KILMENY ADIE talks to the people working hard to ensure the region's party has enough pastries, sausages and pretzels.For the Baker St patissiers of Corrimal, this week will pass in a blur of flour, eggs and cream as they create the treats needed for an annual cultural celebration.The bakery's staff usually fill their days making a range of cakes and sweet treats, including Portuguese tarts, muffins and profiteroles, which are distributed to eateries across the Illawarra region and beyond.However, once a year, the French-inspired pastries and other cakes take a back seat to the sweets associated with Germany for the Oktoberfest celebrations.This year Baker St will supply AGA Club Germania in Kembla Grange with a mix of desserts including four slabs of bienenstich, three slabs of cherry crumble and 310 jam doughnuts.Baker St managing director Gabe Corban says the connection between his business and Club Germania dates back several years when his staff included a German patissier.Although that employee has left, Corban says the connection between the two Illawarra businesses has remained.The German club's requirements for the celebration, which also includes slabs of sour cherry cheesecake, are not the usual items in the Baker St recipe books."It's just something we are accustomed to doing each year," Corban says."It's something a little bit different for the staff and we do it because it's a little fun."In the four days leading up to the celebration of everything German, the staff at the bakery will be at work preparing and baking the various sweets.It's a similarly busy time for Barossa Fine Foods, says general manager Stephan Knoll.The South Australian company this week will ship this year's order of 2000 sausages to Club Germania.The sausages are a mix of both Vienna frankfurts and thuringer bratwurst.Knoll, the fourth generation of his family to work at Barossa Fien Foods, says the Vienna frankfurts will appeal to those who like a continental-style hot dog.The bratwurst is generally considered more an acquired taste."The thuringer bratwurst is made from a 600-year-old recipe,"Knoll says."It's a white sausage and its main characteristics are pepper and caraway."Barossa Fine Foods' history dates back to 1924 in Bavaria, Germany, where Knoll's great, great uncle Andreas began a smallgoods apprenticeship.Today, the company supplies a range of traditional foods as well as organic and game products and poultry.Their products are sold through gourmet delis in the region, including the Leisure Coast Fruit Markets.During Oktoberfest, Barossa Fine Foods finds an added interest in its goods from the Kembla Grange-based club as well as others in Canberra, Adelaide and Handorff.As well as the sausages and pastries, the Northcliffe Dr club will make and sell its own fresh pretzels during Oktoberfest.Club Germania director Olga Isaksson says it is an exciting development for the staff and patrons."They are 85 per cent prepared and all that we do is cook them. That's something we are really happy about," Isaksson says.It takes about 10 months' planning each year to ensure everyone's expectations for the German celebration are met and that there is adequate food, dancing, music and space in Club Germania's large marquees.Isaksson says she believes the multicultural make-up of the Illawarra contributes to the success of Oktoberfest."I think 99 per cent of the people who come are not German," she says."I think the fact that people have travelled overseas and so they know of Oktoberfest in Europe (has helped it)."It's also a way of getting people together."It's bringing a lot of old friends back together and it brings a little bit of Germany to the Illawarra."