Birthday Dinner – Franconian Style

Last weekend we attended a birthday party.  It took place at a nearby brewery. (We have 4 Breweries in Forchheim and Franconia boasts more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the world!)

The party was on Saturday and everyone was invited to come from 1pm-1am.  It was a 40th birthday celebration after all.  It was kind of like an open house– people could come and go as necessary. I doubt very many people stayed the full 12 hours, but still, can you imagine a birthday party at a brewery in the US that lasted 12 hours?

We arrived and ordered drinks and toasted the birthday girl.  I ordered my recent favorite called a Russ’n. This is a wheat beer mixed either with sprite or with lemonade, very refreshing. The day was beautiful and sunny, albeit a bit chilly in the shade. The party was lovely fun and full of people with families. I’ve gotten pretty good at speaking German on the theme of babies and childbirth, so it’s not intimidating to make conversation over these topics even with people I don’t know very well.

Since I don’t drink much these days, it wasn’t so long before I started thinking about whether or not food would be served.  “Oh of course,” they said, “there is a Brotzeid platter layed out inside.”

When we entered, here is what we saw:

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I laughed imagining this kind of food as a birthday spread in the US.  To be fair, a few minutes later, bread with a cheese platter, onions, pickles and tomatoes appeared to balance out all the meat. It was truly a beautiful and delicious spread–all hand cut and hand made by a local butcher, something that would be also be unusual in the US.

I have found that birthdays are more enthusiastically celebrated in Germany than in the US. People are really diligent about calling, giving each other gifts and making plans. Another tradition is that when people in Germany throw a celebration for their birthdays and invite all their friends and family to come, whether it be for a dinner out or an actual party– the birthday person foots the bill for the entire celebration.

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To the right is a photograph of the bar bill from the party. Each beer costs around 2 euros, which is not bad, but that is a lot of drinks. Prost, und alles gute to a very generous birthday girl!

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