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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 02/01/16

Monday, February 1, 2016

MUNICH'S STRONG BEER (STARKBIERZEIT) FESTIVAL!




    Can you say Starkbierzeit? It's German for "strong beer festival", an event held every March in Munich. For two weeks, breweries bring out their most potent beverages, and beer halls throw noisy parties with a host of Bavarian entertainment and food. It's Oktoberfest without the tourists.
    The festival's roots go back to the Paulaner monks who, according to legend, began making an extra strength beer to sustain themselves during their Lenten fast. The beer, first brewed in the 17th century, gained a "word of mouth" following. The townspeople called it Salvator.








    Strong beer's popularity took off after Napoleon rode into town and sold the monasteries to local businessmen. Paulaner ended up in the hands of a entrepreneur named Franz Xavier Zacheri, who turned the monastery into a beer hall and mass produced the monks' beer. In an inspired bit of marketing, he promoted Salvator as a cure for the wintertime blues. Munchner's answered the call, descending on Zacheri's beer hall in droves.
    Salvator is classified as a doppelbock, which means an "extra strength" version of the Bock style. "Bock", in Bavaria, is a generic term meaning strong beer--pale as well as dark. Just how strong are doppelbocks? They start at 7.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anbd because their strength is masked by a strong malty flavor, they can sneak up on the most experienced of beer drinkers.







 
    The site of Zackeri's beer hall is still the gathering place for Starkbierzeit--especially on March 19th, St. Joseph's Day. Today, it's called the Paulaner Keller. This sprawling complex can hold 5,000 revelers, and there's room for thousands more outside. It has everything you'd expect in a traditional beer hall: sturdy beermaids; brass bands blaring out drinking songs; and plenty of malty, amber colored Salvator Doppelbock.
It didn't take long for Munich's other breweries to follow Paulaner's lead and come out with their own doppelbocks. But as a tribute to the original Salvator, they've all given their beers names ending in "-ator".
     Paulaner's biggest competitor is Lowenbrau, which brings out its sweetish--and lethal--Triumphator in March. You can find it all over town, but if you want to join the party, the place to go is the brewery's enormous Lowenbraukeller. Show up on the right evening, and the entertainment will include boulder-lifting competitions and other feats of strength.






 

    Doppelbock isn't the only style of beer served during Starbierzeit. For an interesting change of pace, head for Weisses Brauhaus, a popular destination for those who like to start their evening with a good meal. As the name suggests, it specializes in wheat beers, which Germans often call weiss, or white beers. This time of year, the brewery pours Starkweizenbier, a dark colored beer whose pronounced wheat flavor hides a big alcoholic punch.






 

    Munich's most intriguing strong beer venue is Forschungbrauerei, which means "research brewery", in English. By tradition, it's allowed to start serving its doppelbock, called St. Jakobus, a week before Starkbierzeit, it is a small, family run establishment whose entire production is consumed on the premises. It's also one of the few remaining places where beer is served in ceramic mugs which do a better job of keeping beer cold.







 
    Starkbierzeit isn't widely publicized,which is just fine with Munchners. It's their time of year to show pride in Bavarian culture and tradition. But don't let the local color scare you away, that's why millions of people visit every year! Bring a good guidebook, a hearty appetite, and a taste for strong Bavarian beer. That'll be enough to earn you a "Wilkommen" at any beer hall in town.

NATIONAL FOOD HOLIDAYS IN FEBRUARY!!!




   This may be a time for chocolates and romantic steak dinners, bu this month is also filled with several national food holidays. Check out all of the great food holidays to be enjoyed during the month of February, plus great suggestions on how to celebrate them.




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  • National Baked Alaska Day, February 1st- Who doesn't love cake and ice cream? But, you can make it even better by adding a thick layer of meringue and popping the whole thing in the oven. Be creative and choose gourmet flavors of ice cream and cake.

  • Heavenly Hash Day, February 2nd-Heavenly hash is a wonderful combination of chocolate ice cream and almonds. Be creative and make some heavenly hash ice cream sandwiches using double chocolate cookies.

  • National Carrot Cake Day, February 3rd-Take a break from cooking and baking and just grab some carrot cake cupcakes made at a local bakery.

  • National Stuffed Mushroom Day, February 4th-A great way to celebrate this national food holiday is to make mushrooms stuffed with your favorite ingredients, such as cheese and bacon.



  • National Chocolate Fondue Day, February 5th-This great food holiday is to celebrate with your significant other. Just make a simple chocolate fondue and serve it with some fruits for dipping.

  • Food Checkout Day, February 6th-This food holiday is easy to celebrate, just go pick up something from the grocery store.

  • National Fettuccini Alfredo Day, February 7th-A delicious pasta dish is just perfect for a cold winter's evening. To celebrate this food holiday prepare a simple Alfredo sauce and combine it with chicken or shrimp and fettuccini noodles.

  • Molasses Bar Day, February 8th-Molasses is such a tasty ingredient to work with. You can either make these bars or you can make gingerbread or even serve it on fresh made biscuits.

  • National Bagels and Lox Day, February 9th-This is a great food holiday for a winter morning when you need a hearty breakfast.




  • Cream Cheese Brownie Day, February 10th-If you want to take this food holiday over the top, make a brownie cheesecake.

  • Peppermint Patty Day, February 11th-This is an easy food holiday to celebrate. Just grab some York Peppermint Patties and pass them around.

  • National Plum Pudding Day, February 12th-Plum pudding is actually a cake. But, it's the perfect carb filled delight to serve on a cold winter evening.

  • National Tortellini Day, February 13th-A good way to celebrate this holiday is to use Tortellini in creative ways. Add it to a soup, serve it with different sauces, or add different fillings.

  • National Creme Filled Chocolates Day, February 14th-This is a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day.


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  • National Gumdrop Day, February 15th-Go to your local candy store and buy some handmade gumdrops.

  • National Almond Day, February 16th-There are so many great ways to celebrate this national food holiday. You can add almonds to brownies, make chocolate covered almonds, or chop them up and add them on top of some ice cream.

  • National Indian Pudding Day, February 17th-You can either enjoy this food holiday by making your own Indian pudding or look for a restaurant that serves authentic Native American food.

  • Crab Stuffed Flounder Day, February 18th-This food holiday is actually healthy. Just be careful of the ingredients you use in your crab stuffing.

  • National Chocolate Mint Day, February 19th-This is another easy holiday to celebrate. Just buy some Andes Mints.



  • National Margarita Day, February 20th-This another national food holiday that will warm your soul.

  • National Sticky Bun Day, February 21st- Can you think of a better way to start off a cold winter morning with?

  • National Cherry Pie Day, February 22nd-Celebrate this national food holiday by serving up some cherry pie topped with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream.

  • National Banana Bread Day, February 23rd-Celebrate this national food holiday by taking a homemade banana bread to work and sharing it with some co-workers.

  • National Tortilla Chip Day, February 24th-Spice things up on this food holiday by serving a large plate of nachos.



  • National Clam Chowder Day, February 25th- This is a great holiday to celebrate on a cold winter afternoon.

  • National Pistachio Day, February 28th-Eat them roasted or serve them in a pistachio pudding.

  • National Strawberry Day, February 27th-This is the month of romance. Celebrate this food holiday by dipping some in melted chocolate.

  • National Chocolate Souffle Day, February 28th-Chocolate souffle is unbelievably sinful. What better way to take your mind off those cold winter days with?

  • Surf and Turf Day, February29th-Celebrate this food holiday with a large New York steak and some lobster.

WEIRD FEBRUARY HOLIDAYS!!!





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   February's not just about Super Bowl Sunday, Valentines Day and Mardi Gras. Nope, this month has some pretty interesting days to celebrate to say the least.






  • Serpent Day, February 1st-Go out and pet a snake or if you don't like them. Pet some snake skinned cowboy boots.

  • Purification Day, February 2nd-Go out and wash real well today!

  • Cordova Ice Worm Day, February 3rd-This day is for worms found in icebergs. Alaska actually has an annual Ice Worm Festival that takes place on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

  • Create a Vacuum Day, February 4th-Go out and clean all of that pet hair and dirt out of your carpets.





  • Disaster Day, February 5th-Might be a good day to stay inside and play scrabble.

  • Lame Duck Day, February 6th-

  • Charles Dickens Day Day, February 7th-One of the best early authors of his time, he wrote "A Christmas Carol", and has had many of his books turned into movies.

  • Man Day, February 7th-

  • Fly a Kite Day, February 8th-Hope the wind is in your favor on this day.
  • Read in the bathtub Day, February 9th-Get a favorite book, a glass of your favorite drink, a nice warm bath with bubbles and some nice heavy metal music to relax to.



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  • Umbrella Day, February 10th-Maybe some rain will come your way.

  • White T-Shirt Day, February 11th-Go to your dresser and pick out a fresh one to wear.

  • Don't Cry over spilled Milk Day, February 11th-Laugh at spilled milk in the face today!

  • Get a Different Name Day, February 13th-Change your name to Ochocinco...... like that's gonna happen.



  • National Condom Day, February 14th-Go out and have some safe sex with your wife or other partner.

  • Quirky Alone Day, February 14th-This is my kind of day. We need to at least spend one day a month by ourselves doing what we want. It helps with our sanity.

  • Ferris Wheel Day, February 14th-Go out for a spin or two or three or four or...

  • Do a Grouch a Favor Day, February 16th-Go to a retirement home and make someone happy.

  • Champion Crab Races Day, February 17th-Ready! Set! Run sideways!!!



  • National Battery Day, February 18th-Take your old batteries in and recycle them don't just throw them in the trash.

  • Hoodie Hoo Day, February 20th-At high noon climb up in a tree. Stand like an owl. And yell Hoooddie Hooo!!!

  • Lover Your Pet Day, February 20th-Who doesn't love their pets?? Maybe go to a shelter and give someone a new home.

  • Card Reading Day, February 21st-You're holding the Jack of Spades! Right?



  • Be Humble Day, February 22nd-Many a man is served this from his wife. What's that honey?... Yes Dear!

  • National Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, February 23rd-Go out and buy a box and share them with the neighbor dogs. Maybe that'll keep them from barking every time you walk past their houses.

  • Pistol Patent Day, February 25th-We honor Samuel Colt on this day.

  • Tell a Fairy Tale Day, February 26th-Once upon a time.....Oh, I'll save this story for another day.

  • For Pete's Sake Day, February 26th-For Pete's Sake! Can you please get out of the bathroom! I've got to go bad!!!




  • Polar Bear Day, February 27th-If you have a zoo in your town, drive on over and throw them a couple fish.

  • Public Sleeping Day, February 28th-Take your sleeping bag with you to the park and find a comfortable bench on which to perch your body on.


  • Gone ta Pott Day, February 28th-Wait, I'll be right back. I've got to use the Pot.


  • National Tooth Fairy Day, February 28th-Oh boy! Oh boy! I could use a shiny quarter. But do I have any extra teeth to spare!!