Hot dog! 'Green viagra' or gin and tonic sausages, anyone?


By AGENCY

Butcher Matthias Freund has won numerous awards for his creative varieties of sausage, with flavours such as gummy bear, nettle or gin and tonic. — Photos: dpa

Spaghetti bratwurst. Gin and tonic bratwurst. Cranberry-bacon bratwurst. Truffle bratwurst. What sounds like a list of flavours made by a creative first-grader can in reality be found at a shop in, where else, Bavaria.

A stroll along the counter at the Freund butcher shop in Sailauf, near Aschaffenburg in southern Germany, reveals more than 200 strangely spiced sausages. There are so many varieties, in fact, that the shop made the Guinness World Records in 2018.

“We always have hundreds of home-made bratwurst varieties in stock, ” says Matthias Freund, who runs the shop with his wife, Stephanie.

Matthias Freund, who runs the shop with his wife Stephanie, says that they always have hundreds of home-made bratwurst varieties in stock.Matthias Freund, who runs the shop with his wife Stephanie, says that they always have hundreds of home-made bratwurst varieties in stock.

Quinoa and spelt have made guest appearances in the casings, as have chocolate and pistachio. While the contents of most sorts can be figured out through the name, some of them can be a bit harder to puzzle out – the Europa bratwurst, for example, which was made with blue algae and cheese cut in the shape of stars.

Similarly, the Viagra bratwurst isn’t filled with what you think. Matthias Freund explains that it was inspired by a report he heard on the radio that nettle is the “green viagra”.

Not surprisingly, the large selection at Freund has won it popularity beyond the local region. “Our customers sometimes go far out of their way and drive in from Munich or the Netherlands, ” says Matthias. He recalls that the love for experimenting was born at a regional bratwurst summit in 2015. Since then, he says, sales have grown more than 50%.

Matthias Freund with his spaghetti bolognese bratwurst.Matthias Freund with his spaghetti bolognese bratwurst.

Their creativity has helped the Freunds defy the changes that have hit many others in their industry as butcher’s shops have become rare mainly due to lack of personnel, says Stefan Ulbricht, spokesman of the Bavarian Butchers’ Association.

Also to blame are new regulations or price battles with grocery store chains. Ulbricht says that hopefully, in light of the coronavirus, people are once again interested in regionally produced meat. German slaughterhouses came into focus after they became hotspots for large outbreaks of the coronavirus.

“The coronavirus crisis has given a significant boost in the first half of 2020 to private households buying meat products and sausages, ” says Klaus Huehne from the German Butchers’ Association. In all, however, a decline is still expected.

The butcher trade shouldn’t only get attention when a scandal occurs, says Matthias Endrass, who works at a family-owned operation in the Alps. “As a rule, we usually get bad press from animal rights scandals or the incidents with Toennies, even though we’re not at all responsible for it, ” he says, in reference to the slaughterhouse known for the virus outbreak.

The 32-year-old Endrass consciously tries to bring more positive attention to the trade, for example by taking part in the 2018 butcher world championship in Northern Ireland.

Other butchers sell their own flesh to gain attention – albeit in calendar form. An association in Bavaria publishes a yearly calendar in which its roughly 100 members showcase their profession and themselves – some more liberally than others.

Matthias Freund preparing his famous gin and tonic sausage.Matthias Freund preparing his famous gin and tonic sausage.

With their flavours, the Freunds are even able to draw in new customers, even if their offerings are not to everyone’s taste.

“The gummy bear bratwursts tasted more like Red Bull, that didn’t go over so well, ” recalls Matthias, who said in that instance he didn’t mind if customers drowned them in mustard.

The Protestant bratwurst was created by the Freunds for the Martinushaus in Aschaffenburg on commission. They found that there was a typical Protestant bratwurst that had been handed down. “It’s pretty simple, but very delicious. It’s roughly minced and then seasoned with pepper, salt, nutmeg and some marjoram, ” he says. Of course, then there had to be a Catholic counterpart, made with white wine, among other ingredients.

Matthias says that he’s not afraid of running out of ideas for new bratwurst varieties. For example, there’s still not one celebrating Oktoberfest. “In my mind, I envision a bratwurst with radish and Bavarian weisswurst mustard, ” he says.

“Of course it’ll be deliciously spicy.” – dpa/Carolin Gissibl and Frederick Mersi

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