The Nuremberg Sausage: A Symbol of Love?

By Abi King | Food

Jan 28
The Nuremberg sausage or bratwurst

The Nuremberg sausage or bratwurst

Understanding the Nuremberg Sausage

The city of Nuremberg may have an international reputation for some of the worst events on earth. But the Nuremberg sausage shows another side of the city. Whether called bratwurst of a Nurnberger, here's the inside info on 700 years of sausage making history. Oh, and it tastes pretty good.

Introducing the Nuremberg sausage...

Sentimental and chivalrous may not be the first two words you think of when you hear the word Nuremberg.

But you may change your mind once you hear about their sausages.

Heart shaped pewter serving dish with Nuremberg sausages

Heart shaped pewter serving dish with Nuremberg sausages - a traditional way of serving the bratwurst

The invention: love hearts and the plague

Smaller than the average German wurst, in both length and girth, the Nuremberg sausage often arrives on heart shaped metal platters, in an uncertain gesture of romance. They come this size, so the legend says, because during the medieval plagues it was too dangerous for people to leave their homes in order to go in search of food (this also, incidentally, was the time when people drank beer instead of water (including children) because it was deemed to be the healthiest fluid around.)

To qualify as a Nuremberg sausage, the sausage must be no longer than 9cm and weigh no more than 25g. Nuremberg bratwurst contain mace, pepper and marjoram in a recipe that dates back to the city's heyday as a medieval trading town. A Würstlein, or sausage supervisor, was appointed in 1315.

One day, some canny sausage-maker stumbled upon the Nuremberg style and shape, so slim it could slot right through the keyholes of the plague infested doors. He threw some marjoram in with the pork, and behold, the Nuremberg sausage was born.

Insider Tip

Ask for Drei im Weggler.

 It means  "three in a bun" and can be eaten on the go.

Boiled onion or cabbage served with a traditional Nuremberg sausage

The Nuremberg Sausage: How It's Served

Today, it's served boiled white with an onion and vinegar sauce or rost above open flames accompanied by salted pretzels and sauerkraut. You'll also often see a heart-shaped pewter serving platter.

Such love have the citizens of Nuremberg for their under-endowed sausage that they sought protected EU status for both the recipe and the result.

There are more than 1500 different types of sausage in Germany. That's more than there are types of cheese in France.

Accordingly, under the power of European laws, a Nuremberg sausage is only a Nuremberg sausage when produced (and eaten?) in Nuremberg.

Tourists eat them with potato salad and horse radish, locals feast on Drei im Weggler: "three in a bun."

So, now you know. If you really love someone, send them a sausage.

And if you really love a sausage, send it to the EU.

Where to Stay in Nuremberg

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Have you ever tried a Nuremberg sausage?


I travelled to Nuremberg through the #mustlovefestivals project, supported by the Nuremberg Tourist Board. As ever, as always, I write whatever I like here on the blog. I also ate all the sausages. No outsourcing whatsoever, no sir.


About the Author

Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.

  • De'Jav says:

    I haven’t tried a Nuremberg sausage. They do look good and yummy needless to say.

  • Darlene says:

    I didn’t have a Nuremberg sausage when I was there but I loved their lebkuchen; it was the best gingerbread I’ve ever tasted.I love the heart shaped platter.

  • Uma says:

    Interesting how such a well-loved culinary treat had its origins in one of the worst periods in European, if not world history. It does sound quite delicious though!

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