Once you have gorged yourself on biers and Schweinsbraten at Oktoberfest, you should continue your path of indulgence onto the sweets. Giant gingerbread hearts known as Lebkuchenhertz are more a souvenir than a snack, but cakes (kuchen) and sweet treats abound for those more attracted to sugar than alcohol. Enjoy the sugar rush that goes along with the best desserts at Oktoberfest.
Lebkuchen, or gingerbread, are a traditional Christmas treat but they make their appearance early in the season for Oktoberfest. Designed in cutesy heart form, these cookies come with colorful frosted edges and süß (sweet) sayings like "Ich liebe dich" (I love you) or "grüße aus München" (greetings from Munich). Admire the rainbow of Gingerbread Hearts dangling from stands around the Wiesn.
Despite looking good enough to eat, these cookies are better worn than eaten. They come complete with a ribbon to wear around your neck as an oversized (somewhat) edible necklace.
Kaffee und kuchen is a tradition in Germany. A break between lunch and dinner with coffee (or tea) and cake, this can be a welcome respite from the madness of the festival.
German Cake Types
- Apfelkuchen: Apple
- Schokoladenkuchen: Chocolate
- Sachertorte: Viennese cake with chocolate sponge and a thin layer of apricot jam, all encased in dark chocolate icing.
- Käsekuchen: Translated as "cheese cake", this dessert is significantly different than the American version but still delicious.
- Rübelitorte / Karottenkuchen: Carrot
- Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte: "Black Forest Cake" is decadent layers of chocolate sponge, whipped cream, and sour cherries.
- Gugelhupf: Light sponge cake topped with fresh fruit and sweetened whipped cream.
- Zwetschgenkuchen: Thin sheet cake covered with pitted plums (Pflaumen).
- Streuselkuchen: Variety of crumble cakes
"Steam Noodles" can be sweet or savory with the dessert version of a dumpling served with sweet vanilla sauce. Heavy and dense, they are made from a yeast dough that is formed into balls. They are dropped into a mixture of lightly boiling milk and butter that steams as it cooks, resulting in the name.
Vanillesoße (vanilla sauce) is spooned over the dumplings, and they are finished with powdered sugar. For an extra level of loveliness, they may be filled with fruit or chocolatey innards.
Kaiserschmarrn loosely translates to "king's mess/stuff." Developed in Austria for Emperor Franz Joseph I, this is a filling dessert that does indeed resemble a mess when served — a mess that is fit for a king.
A dense pancake dotted with almonds and raisins, it is cut up within the pan while cooking and sugar is added to caramelize. Applesauce or a tart fruit compote is served to contrast the sweetness.
You'll smell this treat before you see them. Gebrannte mandeln are sugared almonds that release a sticky sweet scent and are served in portable papiertüte (paper cones). Grab some nuts to warm your hands and your belly as you walk around the fairgrounds.
This sweet layered pastry became popular in the Habsburg Empire in the 18th century and continues to be enjoyed today. Usually filled with fruits and nuts, the classic example is apfelstrudel with the perfect autumnal fruit of apple.
This dessert is best served with a drizzle of vanillesoße and accompanied by a strong German coffee — perfect for starting off the day or perking up after a beer-filled morning.
Ice cream may not sound that appealing as Oktoberfest is plagued with consistent rains, but as soon as the sun comes out you can bet the Germans will be lining up for some eis.
Adding to the chill, the German word for ice cream — "eis" — is pronounced like the English word, "ice".