If your holiday destination happens to be Germany this year and you like eating fried sausages, there’s no better place than the Deutsches Bratwurstmuseum in Thuringia to test your culinary knowledge. For many people German holidays conjure up images of beer festivals, oompa oompa music in tents, Christmas markets and cruises down the rivers Rhine and Moselle.
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But away from tour operators’ brochures Germany presents a fun-loving national identity that flies in the face of the old prejudice that Germans have no sense of humour. They do, it’s just very different to their neighbours’ !
Celebrating nearly Three Millennia of Fried Sausages
Founded in 2006, the Bratwurstmuseum has since delighted thousands of visitors with its entertaining, educational and often hilarious exhibits. Germany is a country where butchers and customers take their sausage meat seriously. With more than 1,000 different types of sausage available, it comes as no real surprise to Germans that the humble Bratwurst should boast its own museum. Isn’t the Currywurst Germany’s national dish and thus the most famous fried sausage of all?
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Located in Holzhausen in the community of Ilm, the Deutsches Bratwurstmuseum offers visitors an intriguing insight into the country’s culinary heritage. Exhibits include one of the world’s oldest bills for sausages and butchers’ equipment from days gone by. In-depth information about certain types of sausages, such as the much-loved Thiiringer Bratwurst, which is a popular snack at beer festivals, market days and trade fairs, allows visitors to understand how recipes for certain specialities spread across the country over time. There are sausage skin piping machines, fried sausage-related anecdotes and stories, paintings and sketches, historic documents and curios from all corners of the country.
The museum is particularly devoted to the Thiiringer Rostbratwurst, which as the name suggests comes from the region of Thuringia. The long, thin Bratwurst is made from both pork and beef, sometimes also containing veal. With around 25% fat content, it’s one of Germany’s less fattening sausages. It derives most of its tastiness from the herbs and spices used to flavour the sausage meat, which include garlic, caraway seeds and marjoram. Measuring about 18 cm in length and 2.5 cm in width, the sausage is usually served grilled or fried on a thick hunk of bread with mustard.
This particular favourite among the museum’s exhibits gets an early mention in Johann Jacob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen’s bawdy story about the 30-year-war, published in 1696. In the adventure story about the “Abenteuerlichen Simplicius Simplicissimus”, a reluctant hero who pretends to be a simpleton in order to survive the horrors of the long war, the author praises the delicious Thiiringer Bratwurst as a local delicacy.
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