|Ashley Cheesemen of Grand Hilton's Oktoberfest|
OKTOBERFEST!!! Grand Hilton Seoul September 23rd & the 24th. “Ein, zwei, zuffa…,” the Grand Hilton will be satisfying the hearts and livers of Seoulites once again with its annual Oktoberfest celebration. The policy of go big or go home is in full affect this year as the Grand Hilton has decided to go no holds barred. They’re bringing back a blast from the past with all your Deutsch favorites from last year along with some new surprises that will be aiming to please.
This past week I was lucky enough to sit down and have a lovely discussion about all things German with the man in charge, the executive assistant manager, Mr. Ashley Cheesemen. Hailing from England and having worked in the restaurant business since he "was a wee lad," Mr. Cheesemen has led a fascinating life. He studied the culinary arts and truly perfected his craft while living in Switzerland. He worked throughout Europe before finally making his way to Seoul. After a few years of working in various hotels and restaurants, Mr. Cheesemen found his place at the Grand Hilton. At this point, you may be asking yourself what makes him qualified to host the largest and most authentic Oktoberfest celebration in all of Asia? During his travels, he spent quite some time in Germany where he picked up the language and the culture (he speaks Korean as well). This coupled with the fact that he experienced the celebration first hand in Munich means that Mr. Cheesemen is more than capable of transforming the Grand Hilton’s convention hall into a boisterous Bavarian beer garden for a day or two.
Now back to the celebration and what can be expected. You’re probably thinking, German celebration equals beer and sausage. If this is the case then you actually hit the nail right on the head, or will be doing so during the celebration (I’ll come back to this). However, there is much more to the proper Oktoberfest then the mere staples of a Bavarian diet.
Flying in directly from Munich will be the ‘Paulaner Oktoberfest Band’ which will be playing all your favorite German drinking songs. This oompa band has years of experience. They will have you jumping out of your seat and locking arms in brotherly love with your fellow neighbors while you chant the country’s anthems, joining in on a favorite past time.
Now back to the nail on the head; hammer and nail is one of the three games that will be taking place throughout both evenings. The other two are arm wrestling and beer chug. After all, it wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without the beer chug. To the victor goes the spoils but no worries, if you don’t win one of the games then you can still participate in the giveaways. There will be drawings both nights for Formula 1 tickets and round trip flights, as well as many more giveaways contributed by the generous sponsors.
Paulaner, the Munich brewery synonymous with German ‘bier’, will be supplying bottomless barrels of two of their claims to fame. First, their best seller, the hefeweizen: a German wheat beer that is made using specially produced top fermenting yeast which creates a very balanced taste-malty and hoppy, yet smooth. The trained and untrained palate alike are able to pick up hints of banana, lemon and spice. Next, we have their Autumn seasonal Oktoberfest Bier. It has a nutty, malty, and toasty flavor with just enough hops to balance it out. Each year, the Oktoberfest Bier recipe is slightly tweaked so you are truly drinking something unique. Now if this never ending supply of delicious beer doesn’t satisfy your thirst, you can also tip back a bottle of either Becks or Becks Dark.
Buying Tickets? Mention Seoul Eats and you will receive a 20% discount!
Now for what you have all been waiting for, there will be a truly authentic Deutsche essen buffet that will not only leave a smile on your face but that of German Grandmas all over Deutschland. There will be sausage, sauerkraut, schweine hexe, schnitzel, potato salad, potato pancakes, spätzle, knödel, black forest cake, as well as various other delectable items. Come prepared to eat the delicacies from all over the region and don’t worry (in case you get filled up on your first plate) for the food will be available throughout the evening. My mouth is watering, how about yours?
Mark your calendar because you don’t want to miss this once a year event taking place on September 23rd and 24th. The doors will open at 6pm and the midnight oil will be burned well until 1 am. Tickets for Friday or Saturday night can be purchased in advance for ₩ 120,000 or you can take a risk and purchase them at the door (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 02-2287-7456). Be sure to mention Seoul Eats and you will receive a 20% discount (we love our loyal readers). So come prepared to celebrate all that is German with fellow Seoulites in what will prove to be another momentous occasion recorded in the history books.
Troy Zitzelsberger originally hails from Michigan but has lived in Chicago, New York City, Germany, and now Seoul. He is working as an actor (really, no joke) in Korea and he humbly calls himself, "an unofficial food critic." You can find out more about Troy here.