It all seems to have started last year in the home of Oktoberfest, the Bavarian city of Munich. Last year, in recognition of the growing vegetarian community in Germany, now numbering over 7 million, vegan meat analogues were introduced to their traditional Oktoberfest event.
For instance, in the Herzkasperl tent the Bachmaier family featured a repertoire of soy “pork” medallions with sautéed chanterelle mushrooms and the traditional cheesy egg noodle bake known as Käsespätzle – except without the egg or the cheese. Other tent owners, including the Ammers family, who are famous for their roast chicken, have jumped on the culinary bandwagon by serving up a chicken fricassee, but replacing the meat with soy cutlets.
Of course, most of the event was still meat-based. However a precedent was set. Vegan food had established a beach head in the Oktoberfest event. But for that good beginning to flower into an entirely vegan Oktoberfest, we need to take you to the New World.
This year in Santa Monica, California, the first ever all-vegan Oktoberfest will be held. All the usual sausages, pretzels, potato pancakes, chicken, sauerkraut and ice cream will be on offer – but without any animal ingredients. California-based vendors range from Sage Organic Vegan Bistro to Southern Fried Vegan to Kind Kreme. We can add the Santa Monica Oktoberfest to the growing list of veg-firsts happening far and wide.
With the world becoming ever more veg-friendly, we are hopeful that someday even the Munich Oktoberfest will be an all-veg event. How much difference would that make? Actually quite a lot, considering that every Oktoberfest they serve 500,000 chickens, 116 whole oxen and 115,000 pork sausages at the festival in just 3 weeks!