Steamed, scalded, cured or fried – in Germany’s “wurst region” Thuringia, sausage-making has, through the centuries, evolved into a genuine culinary art
Go on the wurst trail, explore the region’s festivals on the way and learn all about some special serving do’s and don’ts …
The Eichsfeld region in Thuringia’s northwest is famous for its air-dried sausage specialities. The meat, mostly pork, comes from home-reared animals and is of top, organic quality. Consumers can rest assured that there is no intensive livestock farming involved but instead traditional methods, close to nature.
Dive deep into the local “wurst culture” at the Klausenhof in the town of Bornhagen where visitors can learn all about sausage-making traditions in the Eichsfeld region and sample some delicacies. The traditional inn offers first-class home-cooking, a romantic herb garden at the foot of an old castle ruin plus an on-site wurst museum. And: your hosts speak English!
Thuringian bratwurst – the original
Every year, about 400 million “Thüringer Bratwürste”, the region’s famous fried sausages, are produced in Thuringia. Most of them, about two thirds, are actually eaten in Thuringia itself and while the average German consumes approximately 30 Bratwurst sausages per year, the average Thuringian manages 80! The original Thuringian bratwurst consists of minced pork, salt, pepper, marjoram, garlic and caraway seed. There are also local variations with pork and beef mixtures or without caraway seed. In this context, the famous Rennsteig hiking trail in the Thuringian Forest marks the so-called “bratwurst equator”, i.e. north of it, the bratwurst contains caraway seed and south of it, people insist on preparing it without. For all the calorie counters out there: 100 g have approx. 270 kcal and the average Thuringian Bratwurst has a weight of 100 g to 150 g and a length of between 15 cm and 20 cm.
Bratwurst – do’s and don’ts
Traditionally, the Thuringian bratwurst is sold from stands in the street and best prepared on a charcoal grill. It is “sandwiched” in a bread roll and eaten with mustard. If you want to be down with the locals, never ever use ketchup with it! Finding your closest bratwurst stall is easy with the “Bratwurst App” website: Just enter the name of the town where you are, e.g., Erfurt, and it will display a map with addresses.
Go bratwurst at festivals and events
Thuringia’s town festivals and traditional events are the best places to taste the original bratwurst, along with local beers. Here are a few upcoming options:
- Erfurt’s wonderful Merchants’ Bridge Festival in the surroundings of the historic old town is on from 15 to 17 June
- About an hour further south, the Rudolstadt Festival from 5 to 8 July is an international open-art festival with a focus on world music and lots of opportunities to sample culinary delights in the historical town centre
- From 25 to 26 August, Gotha (30 min west of Erfurt) is in the spotlight with its yearly Baroque Festival at Friedenstein Castle in the former residence of the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Book your break here.
- Last but not least, there’s nothing better than enjoying a Thuringian bratwurst at Weimar’s Onion Market in autumn (12 to 14 October). The traditional town festival features music, traditional onion dishes, wine – and wurst.
The Cultural Heart of Germany, www.cultural-heart-of-germany.com, is a tourism initiative of Saxony Tourism, www.visitsaxony.com, and Thuringia Tourism, www.visit-thuringia.com. The neighbouring states of Saxony and Thuringia feature a unique cultural heritage and rich musical tradition.