Modern manners: A is for Absence

Posted by | September 27, 2009 | Amuse Bouche, Reads, Uncategorized | No Comments

Going to Mass has an altogether different meaning at the Oktoberfest beer festival in Bavaria, Germany.

A ‘Mass’ is a litre of beer which costs between €8.30 and €8.60. This year, festival organisers predict some six million litres of beer will be consumed at the 16-day event, which is running until October 4.

Bavaria has a long reputation of excellence in beer. One of the oldest laws regulating food and drink dates from 1516, when Duke William IV introduced Bavarian ‘purity requirements’, meaning only pure water, hops and barley could be used to brew Bavarian beer. Considering how pernickety they are about their brewing standards, you’d think they’d also manage to synchronise the name of their beer festival with the month in which it begins; it actually starts in September.

The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 to honour a royal wedding, starting on October 12 and ending on October 17, but after a few years the festival was shifted to take advantage of the better September weather and ensure tourists could meander around the tents and gardens.

Oktoberfest celebrates its 200th anniversary next year and remains as popular as ever – especially among iPhone addicts, who now have a range of Oktoberfest applications from which to choose. My particular favourite is The Oktoberfest. de Blood-Alcohol-Calculator, which has a list of all the drinks available. You just fill in your gender, weight and your drinks, and it tells you when you’ve had enough. But will you listen?

If cooking a roast dinner for just two people can feel a bit excessive, consider using guinea fowl – which has a slightly gamier flavour – instead of chicken.

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