The Unforgettable Story of the Nuremberg Sausage

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The Nuremberg sausage is a symbol of the city and a tasty, pork filled treat. But there’s so much more to it than that. Here’s what you need to know about the humble Nürnberger Bratwurst.

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.

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 or a Nurnberger, here’s the inside info on 700 years of sausage making history. Oh, and it tastes pretty good.

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

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.


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Boiled onion or cabbage served with a traditional Nuremberg sausage
Nuremberg Sausage is typically served with onion

The Nuremberg Sausage: How It’s Served

Today, it’s served boiled with an onion and vinegar sauce or rost above open flames and comes 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.

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7 thoughts on “The Unforgettable Story of the Nuremberg Sausage”

  1. I had my first Nuremberg sausage at a Christmas market in Wisconsin! A German guy named Wolfgang comes every year to this market with his sausages. They were delicious!

  2. We had our first Nuremberg sausages at a restaurant around the corner from the cathedral in Munich. Just found a package of them at an Aldi store!

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