German

We were recently hosted by Yard House for an exclusive tasting of their celebration of Oktoberfest now until Oct 28, 2018. This Oktoberfest, they’re serving a New American twist on some German favorites.

The Jumbo Bavarian Pretzel is a Traditional Bavarian pretzel paired with horseradish mustard and beer cheese sauce. Even the smallest section of the pretzel would make you believe it isn’t soft and chewy; however, you’d be mistaken because each bite of the entire pretzel is soft, chewy and delicious. If I could, I’d eat 10 pretzels a night.

I have found Heaven on Earth and it is disguised as a Double Pork Burger: served with white cheddar, arugula, red onion, tomato, bacon tomato jam, Dijon mustard on a pretzel bun. The pork is juicy, tender and full of flavors.

Another delicious dishes is the Chicken Schnitzel, which is a traditional schnitzel chicken served with a side of ripped potatoes and Brussels sprouts topped with malt vinegar aioli. The chicken is nice and crispy, while the vegetables are seasoned to perfection. They must have heard I love Brussels sprouts because they brought out plenty for me to enjoy. Good news for me is how these Brussels sprouts can be enjoyed year round at Yard House.

Not only the Brussels sprouts are enjoyed year round, but so is the Poke Nachos full of flavor and fresh ingredients on house-made wonton chips.

To finish off, we tasted 3 different desserts in a mini trio sampler. Although they were associated with words like “mini” and “sampler,” there’s nothing small about the portions provided.

The Chocolate Soufflé Cake is like a lava cake that is rich in dark chocolate and topped with vanilla ice cream.

Cheesecake Brûlée comes out looking like flan, but tastes like a delightful cheesecake with crisp sugar like a creme brûlée.

Last, but not least is the Peach Apple Cobbler that was my favorite out of the three desserts we tried. It may be the Southern girl in me, but I can never deny a warm cobbler served with ice cream!

Yard House boasts the world’s largest selection of draft beer, and this Oktoberfest, the restaurant is pouring a number of extra beers.

  • Sam Adams Octoberfest: A blend of rich malts for a hearty, smooth flavor with notes of caramel creating a brew that’s perfect for the season
  • Weihenstephan Festbier: This Festbier produced by the world’s oldest continuously operating brewery has a rich body with a balanced finish and represents the Bavarian way of celebrating
  • Ayinger Oktoberfest: A beer with a deep golden color tinted with amber, lightly sweet with a malty nose balanced with floral hops
  • Paulaner Oktoberfest Wiesn: This German beer has a deep golden color and is full-bodied from Munich and Pilsner malts with a balanced fragrance of hops
  • Goose Island Oktoberfest: A bold American take on the German style, this beer provides a dry, malty body with notes of toffee and burnt sugar

After our tasting, we were able to go upstairs and check out the amazing keg room that overlooks the dining area. How does this look? Amazing, right?

If beer isn’t your fancy, check out some cocktails like this one that changes color when adding some agave to a tequila cocktail.

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I can’t tell you how much I really love the Magnolia Square Market, a German market and deli run by the Hollerbach family in Sanford, Florida.

You may be familiar with Hollerbach’s Willow Tree in historic downtown Sanford, but right around the corner is this hidden gem of a German market, featuring authentic German deli meats, bratwursts, cheeses, beers, German chocolates, and even gluten-free baked goods. Now, you can take all the German sausage and sauerkraut fun from Willow Tree home with you after the night is over.

Theo Hollerbach has always dreamed of having his own German Deli. When he grew up in Kyllburg, Germany, he lived with his mother and grandparents, who owned a small butcher shop in his little town. His mother was also one of the first women to become a certified butcher in their area. Ever since his journey to America, he has always longed for the smells and tastes of the little town he was a child in. Now, he finally has the opportunity to bring his memories to life with the Hollerbach’s Magnolia Square Market.

I especially love all the different imported chocolates and house made cakes and pastries here.

The staff here were all very kind and gracious with suggestions as well, helping us find just the right deli meats and allowing us to sample different cuts to find out their taste. On a recent visit, we got quite a few sandwiches and meat cuts to go, and they even stored it for us at the restaurant to keep cold until we were done with dinner at the Willow Tree.

Definitely check out this market the next time you are in Sanford, especially while waiting for a table at the Willow Tree.

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Hollerbach's Magnolia Square Market on Urbanspoon

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If you’ve ever been out to Lake County on scenic County Road 48, you probably have heard of this authentic little German bakery called Yalaha Bakery, housed in a rather quaint country village building off the road – like out of a scene from the Sound of Music. Known for their hearty multigrain and rye breads and mouthwatering pastries, Yalaha Bakery has been a culinary staple in Lake County for over 17 years now with many a foodie venturing out to the shop there to sample their freshly baked goods.

In August of 2011, co-owners Juergen and Anna Marie Klumb opened a charming little neighborhood outpost near downtown Orlando off of Orange Avenue just across from Lake Ivanhoe (in the Ivanhoe Village District, just a few shops south of Ethos Vegan).

Anne Marie Klumb manages this location, staffed by friendly and helpful workers who are eager to help out with suggestions. The local Yalaha Bakery in Orlando has their breads and pastries shipped in from their home-base bakery in Lake County fresh each morning.

An impressive wall of freshly baked German style bread loaves and rolls line up one side of the bakery, ranging from pretzel breads to rye to pumpernickel and more. The bread here is of high quality and made with fresh, natural ingredients – free of preservatives and chemical additives. A case of traditional German deli meats, bratwursts, and sandwiches sits on one side of the shop, and an espresso machine stands nearby ready to serve up some great cappuccino and coffee for the early risers.

But to me, the main attraction is the beautiful display of colorful, sweet pastries and cakes at the center.

German apple pies, peach and apple strudels, black forest cake, apple Normandy, lemon ginger cookies, frangipan butter cookies filled with raspberries, and more, line the display, beckoning your sweet tooth to bite in through the glass case. So many choices – it can be a bit overwhelming when you want to try them all.

I would recommend the bee sting cake, a unique, moist cake filled with Bavarian cream and topped with almonds and orange blossom honey, a truly delightful treat. It comes as a huge square, big enough to share, but you won’t because you’ll want to savor it for later, thinking of those rolling hills and country village houses, the place where Yalaha bakes magic into their pastries and breads.

Yalaha Bakery on Urbanspoon

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Artistic interpretation of the Yalaha Country Bakery in Lake County

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Pretzel cheese loaf – try it

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Display of pastries

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List of daily bread

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Black forest slice cake

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The bee sting, filled with bavarian creme, topped with almonds and orange blossom honey

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In historic downtown Sanford north of Orlando, near the banks of Lake Monroe, Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe welcomes patrons in with German music, authentic German food, and German beers. It’s an ode to the great German beer halls, a place where it is always Oktoberfest on Thursday – Sunday evenings. Through the Willow Tree Cafe, owners Theo, Linda, and daughter Christina Hollerbach do their best to bring the experience of authentic German Gemuetlichkeit, a sense of well-being and happiness that comes from enjoying the company of friends and family while savoring good food and drink.

I recently travelled up to Sanford with my fiance, and friends Pearleen and Al Buchala of Megayummo.com to try the Willow Tree Cafe out for the first time and also support the local businesses of Sanford.

When they first opened in 2001, owner Theo Hollerbach told me that the cafe took up about 1000 square feet and now they are up to 14,000 square feet with over 75 employees with an impressive outdoor dining area. The place gets very busy here, with reservations often booked out weeks ahead, often for special occasions and family celebrations. On certain evenings, you can see the jovial, bearded Chef Theo walking from table to table, welcoming guests, and sharing the festive air and drinks with restaurant patrons as he makes his rounds. We also got to share a wonderful 2-liter boot of German beer with Chef Hollerbach on this evening. Our friend Kendra Lott of Edible Orlando Magazine also got a chance to join in on the beer party.

Chef Theo Hollerbach explains: Watch for the Swirl at the bottom of the boot

The Willow Tree serves over 50 different German Beers and wines and live entertainment in the form of the popular oom-pah band complete with tuba and accordians. The beer is always flowing freely here, where every few minutes you can hear cheers of the German drinking toast “Zicke, Zacke, Zicke, Zacke, Hoi, Hoi, Hoi!”. Bring a group of friends and family and enjoy some beer in a “boot” which comes in 1, 2, and 3 liter sizes.

The Hollerbach family comes from the small town of Kyllburg in Germany where Theo’s grandfather was a master butcher and the family was famous for their sausages. Their recipes include many of the old world traditional, and family specialties and they serve up dishes like bratwurst sausages, numbergers, veal, pork, and chicken schnitzels. Start off with some nice freshly baked Wiesn Brezn (giant pretzel) with a sweet mustard sauce.

My favorites include the potato cakes sides and the Eisbein, the very flavorful, tender, and lightly smoked pork shank, served with sauerkraut and Heaven and Earth mashed potatoes. End the meal with some German Apfel Strudel made in house with fresh apples, rum-soaked white raisins, cinnamon and sugar. The Willow Tree Cafe is a place that is festive and fun and definitely a place to enjoy yourself with family and friends. Prosit!


Eisbein, the very flavorful, tender, and lightly smoked pork shank, served with sauerkraut and Heaven and Earth mashed potatoes

Sausage platter with bratwurst

Pork Schnitzel with potato cakes and red cabbage

Apple Strudel

Hollerbach's Willow Tree Café on Urbanspoon

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