The Hippo


Jun 18, 2019








Courtesy photo.

Schnitzelfest New Hampshire

When: Saturday, Sept. 23, noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Butler Park, 5 Central St., Hillsborough
Cost: Meal tickets are $15 and include your choice of grilled schnitzel, fried schnitzel, bratwurst or knockwurst, plus two sides, bread and a water or soda. Beer, wine and desserts are available at additional costs.

Schnitzel, wurst and strudel
Schnitzelfest brings a taste of Germany to Hillsborough

By Matt Ingersoll

 Authentic German schnitzel, potato salad and sauerkraut are just a few of the main dishes you’ll find at Schnitzelfest New Hampshire, an event that celebrates all things German through food, entertainment and culture.

The event, which is being held for the 15th year on Saturday, Sept. 23, from noon to 5 p.m. at Butler Park in Hillsborough, has grown to attract thousands each year.
Jim Bailey, a member of the Greater Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce, which organizes Schnitzelfest New Hampshire, said it was originally started by German John’s, a now-closed bakery in town.
“The Chamber ended up taking it over … as an effort to bring awareness toward downtown businesses,” he said. “It’s definitely accomplished that. We bring a ton of people in and serve thousands of meals.”
All of the food is homemade by volunteers and Chamber members, according to Chamber President Susie White. The highlight of the festival is the schnitzel — pork that is pounded, breaded and deep fried. The schnitzel will be available either grilled, or fried and served with red cabbage. Other meat entree options are bratwurst and knockwurst, which Bailey said are made by the Sausage Source in Hillsborough.
The German potato salad, one of the most popular side dish items at the festival, is vinegar-based and made with pickles, bacon, onions, oil and vinegar. There’s also red and white sauerkraut made with callaway seeds and a beef broth.
“Every year we tweaked the food a bit, but we always try to keep the menu as authentic as possible,” Bailey said.
In addition to water and soda, there will be a small selection of German-style Oktoberfest beers.
White said all items can be purchased alone, or you can make your own meal out of them.
“You can buy a piece of schnitzel [by itself] or get it as a meal, and that comes with two sides and a piece of bread or a roll,” she said. “The desserts are sold separately.”
Bailey said most of the food is prepared as soon as Thursday and Friday prior to the festival. Cooking starts around 11 a.m. just in time for the first visitors.
“People that come all the time know to get there early,” he said. “All the food is underneath a tent, so even if it’s misty or rainy, we still get a pretty good crowd.”
All of the desserts and breads are made fresh as well, and come from just over the state border at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vt., Bailey said. Around 70 loaves of bread are baked, like harvest grain, Vermont sourdough and ciabatta rolls. Desserts include carrot cake, lemon raspberry cake, apple strudel, brownies and more.
For those not interested in German food, there will be standard options like chicken fingers, hot dogs and french fries.
Live music by the Zouerkraut Bavarian Band will be held for the duration of the festival, and about 30 craft vendors will set up shop inside the park, selling clothing, jewelry and other items. The German Club at ConVal Regional High School in Peterborough will be back again to perform songs and dances.
Bailey said there seems to be no historical significance to hosting a German-themed food festival in Hillsborough, and the event draws plenty of out-of-towners.
“I would say only about 25 percent of the people that come out actually live here, while the other 75 percent are from outside the area,” he said.

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