It’s almost May – which means Spring is finally here (hopefully)! May Day marks a traditional Spring Festival in Germany celebrated with merriment, food, and of course – the iconic maypole / maibaum. One of the most traditional offerings at any German May Day Festivity is Maibowle – or May Wine – made with white wine infused with Sweet Woodruff syrup. Personally, I had never heard of Sweet Woodruff – it is a sweet, pleasantly-scented wild flower native to Europe – and it is called Waldmeister in German. Food.com has a recipe to make your own Maibowle, if you can get your hands on some Sweet Woodruff. Sweet Woodruff can also be used in a variety of desserts as a flavoring, and you can even buy Waldmeister syrup online. The Oma Way has a tasty-sounding recipe for Sweet Woodruff cheesecake, and Spoonfuls of Germany has a recipe for Waldmeister ice cream, for those of us with a sweet tooth.
A German Maibaum by Awaya
Though May 1st, “May Day” goes by pretty much unnoticed in the US, it is a major holiday in Europe, akin to Labor Day. Throughout Northern Europe, along with being a national holiday, it is celebrated as the arrival of Spring, complete with festivals, maypoles and an abundance of tasty foods. In Finland, May Day (called “Vappu” in Finnish) is celebrated with Tippaleivät, which are similar to mini funnel cakes. These simple treats are a perfect light and fluffy (fried!) treat for Spring. Unleash your inner Scandinavian and try making some.
May day celebration in with Finnish tippaleivät and sima (sparkling Finnish mead) by kahvikisu
May Day, May 1st, is celebrated as Lei Day in Hawai’i, a celebration of the islands’ culture and heritage. Of course, it is also a celebration of Hawaiian food. The talk of May day has us thinking of Hawaiian favorites like Kalua Pork, Plate lunches and shave ice. Here are some more suggestions from the Honolulu Star Advertiser and All Recipes.