Nuremberg Bratwurst - tradition for more than 700 years
During Advent, the sausages are grilled at the world-famous Nuremberg Christmas Market. There, where the booths are lined up one after another, clouds of smoke waft out of the nearby bratwurst kitchens and spread a delicious scent of roasting sausages. Here, Nuremberg Rostbratwurst are prepared the traditional way on an open beech wood fire. Because they are only as thick as a finger, they develop a particularly robust grill aroma. Whether you come from Nuremberg or are visiting, just order the Franconian way: “Drei im Weggla” – “Three in a bun”.
A long tradition has produced numerous legends and myths surrounding the Nuremberg Bratwurst. One legend says that they are made so small to allow innkeepers to sell them through the keyholes of their taverns during closing hours. Another says that their size was determined by a hole in the wall of the Nuremberg dungeons. The prisoners, according to legend, were fed by sausages pushed through the tiny opening, hence the German name of the jail: Lochgefängnis – the prison with a hole!
The reality is much more mundane. It was most likely rising commodity prices in the 16th century that caused the butchers of Nuremberg to shrink the size of their sausages. Only then could they maintain their high quality standards at the same price. Nuremberg bratwurst were first mentioned in 1313. A city council regulation required local butchers “sweynen lendpraten in die wurste (zu) hacken”, that is, to only use the best whole pieces of pork loin to make their sausage meat.
The heyday of these little sausages came in the middle of the 19th century. At that time, Nuremberg, with its late medieval architecture and reputation as “Germany’s little treasure chest”, became a place of inspiration for followers of the Romantic.
The artists and intellectuals were soon followed by the first tourists. They discovered – along with the Imperial Castle, St. Lorenz’s Church and Albrecht Dürer’s House – Franconian cuisine.
The embodiment of old-fashioned Nuremberg bratwurst culture was the Restaurant Bratwurstglöcklein. It is here that the Nuremberg sausages were first served as they are today – in even multiples, with sauerkraut and potato salad on the side and horseradish as a condiment. During World War II, as the city was bombed in 1944, the most famous sausage restaurant in the world was also destroyed.
After the war, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt first reopened in 1948 and began to spread its magic. Again, Nuremberg bratwurst took up their established role on the Main Market Square.
Today, there are six bratwurst kitchens in the city – “Bratwursthäusle”, “Bratwurströslein”, “Bratwurstglöcklein”, “Bratwurstherzle”, “Zum Gulden Stern” and “Goldenes Posthorn”. There, visitors can experience true bratwurst culture. There are baskets of pretzels on the wooden tables and bull’s eye glass windows, post-and-beam walls and old-fashioned tin plates create the right atmosphere to foster an important part of Nuremberg’s cultural history.
A Nuremberg Original
The history of enjoyment of the Nuremberg bratwurst is closely tied with its city of origin. In the meantime, this Nuremberg specialty is loved and treasured internationally. The little sausage has become a symbol of the city. This bratwurst tradition began in 1313. To ensure that it remains the same in the future, the European Union awarded the Nuremberg bratwurst a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) – in 2003, as the first sausage in Europe. This seal guarantees that all “Nuremberg Rostbratwurst” are produced within the Nuremberg city limits according to a prescribed recipe.
More curious tales, things to know and interesting facts about the Nuremberg Bratwurst can be found at: www.nuernberger-bratwuerste.de.