Mt. Angel Hazelnuts & German Market

Me with Santa in front of the Mt. Angel Sausage Company

Marlene, who keeps a blog at insearchofitall, likes German things, and has a special affinity for German Christmassy things. It was a no-brainer that when I heard about the Mt. Angel-Silverton Hazelnut Festival with a German Holiday Market, the person I wanted to share the day with was Marlene.

The hazelnut (also called the filbert) is Oregon’s state nut. And here you were thinking that *I* was Oregon’s state nut. On the Oregon hazelnut website, it states that about 800 Oregon farmers grow hazelnuts on 70,000 acres. The total value growers received for hazelnut crops in Oregon averaged nearly $70 million in the last 5 years. The website does not herald the most important nut fact: Hazelnuts are delicious!

On the way to Mt. Angel we drove through the beauty of the Willamette River Valley. I stopped to take a photo of an eye-catching tree. I thought at first it was the most enormous juniper tree I have ever seen, but I am not sure what kind of tree it is. I am impressed with the massive size of its trunk.

Typical field in the Willamette Valley.
I was watching the tree, but the sheep were watching me.

We parked just before 11am in this lovely small town with a German & Swiss heritage. While we waited to walk into the Glockenspiel restaurant to ask for directions to the festival, their 49-foot clock tower came to life. Hand-carved, life-sized figures rotated to the center window, and each figure had a corresponding song. There was a Native-American-themed chant with drums for the Kalapuya Indian brave, a Pioneer-themed song for Robert and Katrina Zollner, Catholic church music for Father Adelhelm Odermatt and Sister Bernadine Wachte, and it ended with the song Edelweiss. Other tourists next to us began to laugh, commenting that Edelweiss is an American song. They are correct: the song was written for the 1959 Broadway show, The Sound of Music. I don’t see the sense in disparaging the song choice however. Mt. Angel isn’t claiming to be European, but American with early German-Swiss settlers, and the song is lovely.

This building holds the Glockenspiel restaurant & tower, and senior housing in the upper levels.
Kalapuya Indian represents the first occupants of this area.
Abbot Odermatt represents the small group of Benedictine monks that founded an abbey here in 1882 after leaving Switzerland.

Marlene and I walked a few blocks to the big festival hall that was packed full of vendors of handmade wares and many local products. It is the Christmas season and my thoughts should be on gifts for others, but we immediately began spotting things we wanted for ourselves!

The outside of the festival building.
The inside
Marlene said that if there is music, she will dance. I was a witness when she danced with the accordion player.

Marlene stocked up on handcrafted artisan pasta from Esotico,Β and then raved about the nut butters from Bliss. Keeping with the theme of the day, I purchased hazelnut pasta and hazelnut butter with cranberries. Of course I picked up stocking-stuffer-sized packages of flavoured hazelnuts snacks for Tara and their partner Brynnen, from King Fresh. I bought a pound of wild rice from Arrowhead Wild Rice Co. I found some locally made candies, ornaments, and window sparklies for more stocking stuffers.

We also happily tasted wines and spirits from the region. I was swept away by the flavours of Townshend’s tea liquor- spirits made from tea. I had never heard of such a thing. I also picked up a bottle of Crater Lake vodkaΒ from Bendistillery infused with hatch green chili and peppers. I’ve been craving peppers and hot stuff lately – must be because it’s 26 degrees outside. Just a dash into a glass of fruit juice and then you have a drink that warms you from the inside. Next I want to try it in hot chocolate.

By this time we had worked up an appetite and were thinking about the Glockenspiel again, but on our way back to the Jeep we passed the Mt. Angel Sausage Company. Santa was out front, waving to people on the street. It was a sign, and I told Marlene that’s where I wanted to eat lunch. She was on board. I had a bratwurst with onions and sauerkraut, and marlene had sausage in a sandwich with a pretzel bun. Yum! I chose a beer to go with lunch and it came in a pint bottle so I couldn’t finish it – so sad to leave beer on the table.

Me looking at the menu and trying to choose a sausage.
Frosty beer, ready to be tasted

We then prowled the shop counters on the other side of the restaurant, and found a thousand more tempting treats in the form of German chocolates and cookies. Neither one of us could resist them and more purchases were made.

We continued our chatting on the drive back home through the picture-perfect Willamette Valley, and I dropped Marlene safely at her house, then texted her when I arrived at my own home an hour and 15 minutes later. I’ve been having so much fun with friends lately and it was good to catch up on Marlene’s news and to get into the Christmas spirit!

Santa and Marlene. Her hat says: How’s My Attitude? Call 1-800-eat-dirt (How can I resist her?)



16 thoughts on “Mt. Angel Hazelnuts & German Market

  1. That was so much fun and you captured it here perfectly. I’ve not had the energy to write yet and lucky to be reading. I have enough pasta to last all winter and into the summer company. Thanks so much for driving us there. Next September, we’ll have to do the Octoberfest. That’s always fun. We got some good pictures, didn’t we? πŸ˜‰

    1. We got some great pictures and I didn’t credit yours! Well, I’m sure people can figure out who took the ones of me, ha ha!

      You had a busy week and weekend and it makes sense that you have had to lie low since then. It’s only been a couple of days. I’m happy that you liked how my post came out, so if anyone asks how your Sunday went, you can send them the link. πŸ™‚

      Oktoberfest sounds great! I’ve been reluctant to go to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth because I am told it’s a madhouse. But Mt. Angel is a small town and I think it would be perfect. My girlfriend Maria recommends the library at the Abbey. If the Abbey accepts visitors, that would be nice to see as well. I checked out their website and they have a St. Benedict festival in the Fall that I’d love to partcipate in.

      1. I don’t need credit for anything. I do love that photo of you looking over the menu though. So peaceful looking. I’ve been sewing for days but my back gets tired so I’m sitting in my chair with heat on my back resting and reading a moment. It takes me so long to write a blog. ;(

  2. Another fulsome record. I’m still laughing at the State nut. That’s because, before I read the next sentence I thought I would post that that is what I’d thought πŸ™‚ Talk about synchronicity

    1. I believe we are kindred spirits, Derrick! Two nuts, indeed. πŸ˜‰

      Thank you for joining my friend and I while we explored a little bit of Oregon in the wintertime. The morning began with rain, but as you can see by the sheep/tree photos, the low clouds were clearing up by the time we got there and it was a perfect day.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Jo! I enjoy finding little spots in the US where immigrant families have recreated some of their favourite things from their homeland. It’s part of what makes this country good.

    1. How lucky did we get that when Marlene and I found each other in blog-land we discovered that we live near enough to visit! I would go to the Hazelnut Festival with ALL my blogger friends if they were only an hour and twenty minutes away. πŸ™‚

      I love Marlene so much. She’s the kind of person I would have chosen for family, if we got to choose family.

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