Being the carb lover I am, after a year of living in Germany, I developed a strong affinity for all carbs German: bread, spaetzle, potatoes and most importantly pretzels or brezeln. If you ask a German who has spent any significant time out of Germany what they missed the most while abroad, they will tell you the bread – you know it’s good.
Pretzels are a daily occurrence in Germany, served with everything from butter with chives to sandwich fixings. I’ve tried to recreate this magic at home, but with little success. Williams-Sonoma makes a decent mix and occasionally a specialty farmer’s market stand will provide a treat, but for the most part, I go without. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I found a whole bag of pretzels at Berkley Bowl! The REAL German kind, with the skinny crispy twists, and soft bready middle. I couldn’t believe my luck. I picked it up quicker than you can say ‘I love pretzels’ and rushed off to get some toppings.
Salami, cheese and wurst were my go to for nightly bread toppings, so I picked up some dry salami, brie and headed over to the deli to discuss my wurst choices. ‘Wurst’ is technically just German for ‘sausage’ – mostly finely ground, but it can be anything from mortadella to bologna. But it’s SO much more than the Oscar-Mayer lunch meat that we are all familiar with. Wurst comes in various sizes, colors, meats, sometimes with bell pepper or other secrets inside. It’s always sliced thin, so it’s delicate and full of flavor – don’t wrinkle your nose, I promise it’s good! Anyhow, after talking with the deli guy, I landed on the Vienna Bologna. It had pistachios inside and some veal for a more in depth flavor.
I practically skipped out of the store with these gems in my bag and prepared my very own pretzel platter upon arriving home. It was, quite simply, amazing. I was so pleased with my sausage choice, the flavor brought me right back to the Weylands breakfast table – they say scent is the closest sense related to memory, but I would venture to guess that taste runs a close second… I hope you to try German pretzels the next time you cross their path and just perhaps you’ll give bologna another go, knowing that when chosen right, it rises far above a childhood staple.