Weisswurst…knackwurst…leberkaese…YUM! We had a German feast for dinner the other night. No, it wasn’t the standard bratwurst most people associate with German food, but rather some of the traditional meats that are more difficult to find in the U.S. We’re fortunate to have an authentic European meat market, bakery, and deli here in Minnesota. Kramarczuk’s is over 50 years old, and they sell just about anything you can imagine in the way of European sausages, meats, and baked goods. They even have a small grocery section with imported items like Milka chocolate bars, Haribo gummy candies, and Bavarian mustards.
Weisswurst are white sausages that hail from the Bavarian region of Germany. These sausages are made with veal, pork, and parsley and are typically made fresh in the early morning and eaten by Germans no later than mid-day because they are highly perishable. To eat them, Germans will either cut them in slices and remove the skin or cut the ends off and suck the meat from the casing…a honed skill known as “zuzeln”. No weisswurt meal is complete without some sweet Bavarian mustard (weisswurstsenf), a tall weissbier, and a pretzel on the side. We like ours with spaetzle!
Knackwurst are short, fat sausages with a deep orange hue that taste quite similar to beef hot dogs. They are traditionally made from veal, pork, garlic, and other spices and are often served with sauerkraut and potato salad.
Leberkaese is basically German meatloaf, and it’s DELICIOUS! The name literally means liver-cheese, although it contains neither. It typically is made with corned beef, pork, onions and spices baked in a loaf pan. When I lived in Bavaria, I ate this just about every day, and it’s by far the food I miss most from there. A thick slice of Leberkaese on a Kaiser roll (Leberkaese Semmel) is the much tastier Bavarian version of our fast food hamburger. Leberkaese can be served warm or cold. I typically slice it and fry it for a few minutes on each side until slightly browned. Then we’ll eat it with a crusty loaf of artisan bread and a side of spaetzle or a German mixed salad.
Your Turn: What’s your favorite German food? Where do you find it in the U.S.?