There are few foods that I love as much as I love sauerkraut. The reasons for my affection are numerous. Among them are the facts proper sauerkraut is a live food made with beneficial microbes, it keeps for a very long time, and it pairs ridiculously well with encased meat products.
If I could I’d put sauerkraut on just about everything, but timidity and a sense of decorum prohibits full-scale sauerkraut abuse in my everyday life. I’ll use kraut on sausage, of course, but it’ll also accompany many other meats and meaty dishes. My favorite application is using it to top slices of pepperoni pizza. I haven’t tried it on the pepperoni pizza from Wy’east (reviewed in this week’s Last Supper), but thoughts of kraut paired with the funk of Otto’s Sausage Kitchen pepperoni and sharp Pecorino Romano cheese produce a powerful hunger.
September is the beginning of a kraut-lovers favorite season. As trees color-up, here and there the cooling air is thick with the smell of grilling Bratwurst and warming Oktoberfest Beirs. Make no mistake, I love the summer fruit festivals, but I feel much more connected to the fall and winter fests dedicated to vegetation more accustomed to the cold and dark, and the meats meant to add insulation for the frigid months.
That’s why I’m beside myself with excitement about attending tomorrows Scappoose Sauerkraut Festival. It’s like some kind of dream come: Booth after booth of kraut dishes and kraut related products from 10 am to 6 pm. Though sponser Scappoose Community Club fails to give an address for the event on its webpage, I’m assuming it’s in Heritage Park, which also hosts the Scappoose Farmers Market.
The website does, however, include this tantalizing sentence “Come try the special Scappoose Sandwich and see what all the fuss is about. Expect to wait in line, but it’s worth it!” Consider it done.
While the Scappoose fest is the only one during the season solely dedicated to Sauerkraut, there are a bevy of krauty festivals happening around the region, most of them Oktoberfests.
Hit the jump for a short list of Best Bets.
I’m willing to bet that almost every state has a special German town, wherein you can watch the Glockenspiel, eat a special chicken dinner, and buy Christmas ornaments in Germanic Tudor-style buildings. Ours is Mt. Angel. Not far from Portland, Mt. Angel is reported to have one of the biggest, and most fun Oktoberfests in the entire state. It began yesterday, but runs through Sunday. Get ready to do the chicken polka!
I have this tradition where every time I drive back from the airport after a long trip, I’ll stop into Gustav’s on Sandy to have a beer, some fondue, and some schnitzel strips. Though I was sad when they did away with the dirndls, I still consider Gustav’s a fun place to stop and load up on fatty goodness. I have never been to their Oktoberfest (held the last full weekend in September) but I have a feeling it would be a damn good time. I mean, pork knuckles and kraut? Fuck yeah!
I have heard legendary tales of Oaks Park Oktoberfest (Sept. 25th to 27th). How can you deny the power of beer, oompah bands, wiener dog races, and a host of spinning, careening amusement rides? You can’t. It’s impossible.
Further in the future, I have my sights set on the Verboort Sausage and Sauerkraut dinner. I’d never heard of this magical place called Verboort (a mere 15 miles from Portland) or of its magical sausage and kraut extravaganza before today. From what I can glean, the dinner takes place the first weekend in November, and is by all accounts a glutton’s paradise. The Verboortians make their own kraut and sausage and sell it in bulk beginning at 9 am (though the line has been known to start at 3 am). Bulk sales aside, $15 will get you admission to an all-you-can-eat sausage feast that includes the famous sausage, kraut, mashed potatoes and whatever else is coming out of the kitchen.
I’m thinking about setting up a Mercury field-trip to this event. I’ll keep you krautheads posted. In the meantime, how are you enjoying your sauerkraut these days?