Tag Archives: german restaurant

A Brief History of the Bratwurst

24 Nov

Any meat-lover will tell you that a well-made bratwurst is one of the best dishes out there. Born out of necessity and perfected over centuries of tradition, the delicious sausage we now affectionately call the “brat,” has a unique history that continues as a German restaurant and hotel staple to this day. Explore the unique history of this tasty creation below, and complete your experience by visiting an authentic German restaurant!

Bratwurst

Bratwurst

The Origin of the Word “Bratwurst”

A lot can be learned about bratwurst history through a study of the etymology, or origins, of the word “bratwurst” itself. Many etymologists trace the origins of “bratwurst” back to the Old High German word “Brat,” meaning without waste, and “wurst,” which means “sausage.”

And that’s exactly what bratwursts are: unwasteful sausages. A bratwurst is typically made using scraps of meat held together in a thin casing (originally made out of animal intestine). Centuries ago, bratwursts were a means of survival for many German people. During harsh winter months, not even the smallest scraps of meat could be wasted, so they were gathered, encased, and preserved into bratwurst sausages. The same the process continues in German restaurants to this day (though many sausage makers elect to use synthetic casing instead of intestine).

The Earliest Bratwurst

The exact origins of the bratwurst are still not entirely known, though most believe it to have originated in Germany several hundred years ago. It has been a long-standing argument between the people of Thüringen and the people of Franconia, two German regions, as to which region developed the bratwurst first. Recently, a hobby historian, Heinrich Hollerl, discovered a list of ingredients for Thuringian sausage over 600 years old. It is currently the oldest known recipe for German sausage. However, Hollerl’s discovery did not settle the debate. Hollerl himself believes that the bratwurst was originally invented by the Celts and was later introduced to the Franconians and Thuringians.

The Bratwurst Today

Today, the bratwurst is a popular food for people around the world. With several varieties and sizes developed over the centuries, it has been embraced throughout Europe, the United States (especially in Midwestern states like Wisconsin and Michigan), and several other countries. A delicious and ingenious creation, the bratwurst is still done best by those who first created it. When you’re feeling like eating a hearty handful of brat, be sure to stop by the closest traditional German restaurant or German hotel in your area.

What Everyone Needs to Know About Blaukraut

21 Nov

Now closely associated with German culture and cuisine, cabbage first came to Germany in the 1100s but doesn’t show up in print until the 1500s. Since it’s early days, we’ve learned that red cabbage is a nearly perfect food—low in calories, high in riboflavin, fiber, and vitamin c—and it tastes great raw or cooked. It is also credited with anti-inflammatory properties and is still used as a poultice.

Red cabbage

Red cabbage

One the most widely eaten cabbage dishes, blaukraut is nearly ubiquitous in restaurants and homes across Germany. Also known as Rotkraut or Rotkohl, depending on the region of Germany, this dish goes back generations with each family having their own family recipe.

German hotels and German restaurants now serve it as a popular side dish with pork, sausage or beef rouladen. The seasoning may change slightly, with ingredients being added or taken out depending on the region and the cook.

Each recipe starts with red cabbage, which is also known as blue cabbage in some parts of Germany because the color can change depending on the pH levels of the soil it’s grown in. Other ingredients can include apples, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, onions, fruit jams, caraway seeds, garlic, wine, raisins, and any number of spices.

With sweet apples and tangy vinegar as a constant in almost all recipes, a balanced flavor is the goal. The balance between sweet and sour is not easily accomplished and those who succeed are very proud of their product.

German restaurants aren’t the only place this dish is revered—German families adds it to the bill of fare for festive occasion as well as everyday meals.

Perhaps the best part of this culinary wonder is its longevity. It tastes better a day or two after it is cooked making it the best leftover in the house. Many times a jar of Blaukraut is taken along for a filling snack or a quick lunch.

Blaukraut is not just a dish of cabbage; it is a source of national pride that is as pretty to look at as it is to devour.

References: http://germanfood.about.com/od/German-Vegetables/tp/German-Cabbage.htm