You might ask yourself 'why do I need to know how to eat Weisswurst?' Well, Weisswurst is a very traditional dish in Bavaria, Germany. Therefore eating Weisswurst the wrong way runs the risk of breaking with traditions, dining etiquette and, in the worst-case scenario, offending the feelings of Bavarian natives.
This entry will give you the facts you'll need to know to enable you to eat Weisswurst properly. With this knowledge you will be able to confidently withstand any critical glares you may receive from the native audience when ordering Weisswurst in a real Bavarian public house.
Of course, first you should know what Weisswurst is. Weisswurst is a white sausage which is made of veal, pork and spice, which are all stuffed into animal intestines. Afterwards the whole thing is scalded in hot water.
What are the main considerations of the art of eating Weisswurst? Firstly, side orders; and secondly, the technique of consumption.
To properly eat Weisswurst you need three additional things: mustard (Senf), pretzels (Brezn) and beer (Bier or Weissbier).
A few words on mustard. There are several kinds of mustard available, but only a few mustards are an appropriate side order for Weisswurst. The mustard you need is called 'sweet mustard' or 'Weisswurst mustard'. 'Weisswurst mustard' is coloured brown with a slight touch of green and tastes very mild and a bit sweet as opposed to hot mustards which are of a yellowy-green colour and taste very spicy. All other kinds of mustards ('half-hot mustard', 'hot mustard' or any kind of mustard blends) are definitely not for use with Weisswurst.
Some people eat their Weisswurst with the wrong mustard or even worse, with ketchup. This is considered to be a sin in Bavaria. Some very traditional public houses won't even serve Weisswurst with something other than 'sweet mustard'. If you order Weisswurst in a public house like this you will get Weisswurst with the correct mustard, or no Weisswurst at all.
If you order Weisswurst, you normally don't have to worry about ordering the correct mustard, because it will be served automatically, or it will already be on the table.
A few words on pretzels. Pretzels are also very important. Eating Weisswurst without pretzels is impossible for most Bavarian people, because they always go together. There are some arguments about the correct 'Weisswurst to pretzel ratio'. Some people say you should eat one pretzel with each Weisswurst, others think that one pretzel is sufficient for a pair of Weisswurst - this is also the most common practice.
This also shows you that Weisswurst is normally ordered in pairs, ie normally you order one or two pairs of Weisswurst. It should be added that most adults won't eat more than two pairs of Weisswurst, since you are very likely to get sick of it when eating more.
Now to beer. Weissbier is the most common drink that is ordered with Weisswurst. It is not a must, but it is strongly recommended. Ordering other kinds of beer is OK. Ordering other kinds of beverages will be tolerated, but be warned that some drinks are considered to be very strange in combination with Weisswurst. So, if your waiter looks a bit bewildered when you order Weisswurst with wine or milk, the reason is because the drink is not OK. Just order beer and everything will be fine. For kids, order 'Spezi' (Coke mixed with orange lemonade), or other fruit lemonades or juices.
There are several ways of eating Weisswurst. The most common techniques are:
- First slicing, then peeling
- Ripping and slicing
Zuzeln is the only way of eating Weisswurst that has a special name - the other methods have no explicit name.
All techniques result from the fact that you normally do not eat the peel of the Weisswurst. Of course you won't die if you eat the skin anyway, but it is not common practice.
Zuzeln is a term in Bavarian slang and means sucking. The technique is as follows; the first half of the Weisswurst filling is sucked through one open end of the Weisswurst. After that, the rest of the Weisswurst filling is sucked through the other open end. You may notice that in order for this technique to succeed, the Weisswurst must be open at both ends. Therefore you have to cut off the knots and metal clips that may sit on the ends of the sausage before starting to suck. You should also notice that you use your hands for this technique - don't even try to work it out with a knife and a fork.
You should be warned that Zuzeln is the most complicated technique. If you are not trained to eat your Weisswurst this way, it might end in a mess. It is an art to use this technique without disgusting the other guests.
First you should probably watch this technique several times before applying it yourself. For your initial tries you should especially be careful with your teeth, since the Weisswurst peel is very delicate. If the peel becomes perforated by your teeth, sucking will become impossible. The second thing that is very hard to accomplish is the elegant handling of the empty Weisswurst half when starting to suck at the second end. Since the empty half looks like a condom - which is not very appetizing - you should cover it with the palm of you hand. The same applies if you have finished eating the whole Weisswurst. Then you should try to elegantly put the peel on the plate without dangling it around.
First Slicing, then Peeling
This is an easier technique for eating Weisswurst. First you have to cut your Weisswurst in slices of about one or two centimetres in thickness. After that the trickier part starts. You have to remove the peel from each of the slices. If you are skilled in handling a knife and fork this will be not so hard - for children it might be much harder. After that you just eat the slices.
Ripping and Slicing
This is the easiest, but also the most brutal technique. First you rip the Weisswurst along one side. Then you remove the peel, and finally you slice the sausage and eat the slices.
As you can see, eating Weisswurst is in fact an art. But don't be shy - just try it - it's worth it. Weisswurst is a real delicacy.