Overflowing with the rich culture and traditions of Bavaria, Germany, the most extravagant volksfest of all time, celebrating a variety of wonderful beers and succulent meats - "Oktoberfest" commenced on a grand scale at the Hilton Colombo on the 1st of November 2018. This is the 25th consecutive year in which Hilton is organizing this spectacular festival since its inception in 1993, and will be held throughout from the 1st to the 10th of November this year.
Evidently, Hilton spared no expense in organizing this tremendous festival and succeeded in creating a traditional German atmosphere while undeniably bringing out the beauty and glamour of this remarkable festival.
A Word with Chef Robert
Arriving well before the stipulated starting time, we had the opportunity to meet a celebrated culinary expert from Germany, Chef Robert Mujagi. Chef Robert explained that his style of cooking involves the use of a wide variety of sauces and spices as in Northern Germany and elaborated that this method of cooking is much different to that in the South, where many do not like their food with such overwhelming flavour. When asked what he would recommend, we were taken around the entire meat section of the buffet as Chef Robert repeatedly denoted that each dish was ‘to die for’. Doing the same with all the deserts, and finally, after recommending nearly everything, he looked at us and said
"Well you did ask what I recommend and frankly I think everything is amazing".
And he wasn’t wrong!
The Chefs Choice of Proteins
At the chef's recommendation, we started off at the sausage section. We had Cheese and Onion, Chicken and Grilled Nurnberger Sausages. The cheese and onion, as well as the chicken sausages, were definitely spectacular and nothing like we've ever had before! The highlight, however, was the Grilled Nurnberger, a German specialty. An absolute flavoursome delight, it had the right texture and you could tell that it was unique and distinct in its own way. In addition to this, there was special mustard imported from Germany which although personally felt was a tad bit too strong, complemented the sausages quite well.
Next, heading towards the meat station, we tried a portion each from the four main meat dishes that Chef Robert recommended. The Roasted Pork Neck was fantastic, cooked to perfection and full of the right flavours. The Chicken Rotisserie, although a simple dish, was an absolute finger licking delight. The Red Wine marinated and braised beef was a sinfully good dish. The meat was unbelievably flavourful and tender.
However, without a doubt, the dish of the day was the roasted crispy pork knuckles. The pork was cooked delicately and melted like butter in our mouths just like the chef said it would. It had the perfect seasoning and was an absolutely relishing dish. On the side, we also had baked farmer’s meat loaf with sour mustard as well as the traditional Bavarian fresh white sausage and sweet mustard, and they were great well-cooked meals! The mustards complemented the meats in the most marvelous way.
We then moved on to the salads. Although I'm not quite used to have salad after the meat, Chef Robert insisted that we had our meals this way (not that I’m complaining). Salads aren't usually my favorite, but these were wholesome, refreshing and simple. It was definitely the best way to water down all the meat we had before! The Bavarian sausage salad, German white cabbage salad and the dry cured smoked ham were three most outstanding dishes at this station. They were wonderfully crisp and extremely appetizing. There was also an assortment of sweet and savoury buns which complemented the other dishes including the salads and meat quite well.
Desserts to die for
In my opinion, the desserts were undeniable the climax of the night. As Chef Robert most rightfully said, and I quote, “Each dish is better than the other but every dish is one to die for.” We started off with the liner cake which was unbelievably scrumptious and the raspberry jam topping was an absolute delight. Additionally, we tried a slice of bee string cake, honey biscuits topped with toasted almonds and vanilla butter cream which were lavish and truly glorious. The apricot stuffed sweet buns with vanilla sauce was a complete mouth watering delight and the shredded pan cake with black raisins icing sugar with apple sauce tasted just as fabulous.
The dish that stood out and compelled us to have a second helping was the homemade apple strudel with vanilla sauce. A truly authentic and tender dessert, it’s truly a taste of heaven (or Germany, for that matter!). There was also a Black forest cake, which we had together with vanilla ice cream, and it was yet another mouthwatering delight!
The ambience was one filled with celebration and festivity. There was a German band who had flown in just for the occasion, and dancers who added to the liveliness of the traditional German tunes. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the food and drinks and as the night went on they grooved their way on to the dance floor to enjoy the wonderful music.
All in all it was a spectacular event and a perfect recreation of Oktoberfest. All those who came highly enjoyed themselves. It was clear that The Hilton Colombo had made a great effort to organize this event and in all fairness it was nothing short of extravagant. It was indeed a “Night to Die For”.
“This is really amazing and I’m enjoying myself so much”
- Dinali De Costa
“The event is very well organized and food was really really good”
“There were some super tasty foods and honestly I think it's a fantastic event”
- Shehan Palihawadana
“It's a really good event and I’m having a wonderful time”
- Manesha Jayawardana
“It's really nice and much better than last year because there is such a festive atmosphere and we are having so much fun.”
- Ayeshi and Harini
“It’s my first time celebrating Oktoberfest at Hilton and it's absolutely amazing. The atmosphere is really chilled out and the food looks fantastic
- Inoka De Silva
“The food is amazing and there is so much to eat, the music is great and all of us are having a wonderful time”
- Melissa Nanayakkara
“This is the first time I’m coming to Hilton Oktoberfest. I've been to many festivals over the last couple of years but this was by far the best”
- Chamini Siriwardana
Pictures by: Damith Wickremasinghe