Saucing the best of the wurst

Dedication: A pictorial dedication in Berlin’s Deutsches Currywurst Museum to Herta Heuwer. Photo: Deutsches Currywurst Museum

Dedication: A pictorial dedication in Berlin’s Deutsches Currywurst Museum to Herta Heuwer. Photo: Deutsches Currywurst Museum

BERLIN street food-vendor Herta Heuwer would never have thought back in 1949 that a snack she ran up would one day become a virtual German national dish.

Herta swapped some hard-to-get booze (for which she had remarkably fortuitous access,) for equally hard-to-get tomato sauce and curry powder, of which grog-thirsty British troops still stationed in the city after the war had plenty of supplies.

Herta went home and beat-together the sauce and curry powder, and a few other spices she had as well.

Several days later she began offering her concoction slathered over grilled pork sausages she sold to construction worker customers re-building the war-ravaged city.

She dubbed her dish currywurst (wurstbeing the German word for a sausage,) and by the end of that week the cheap, filling and tasty snack had patrons lining the pavement at every meal break.

Other street vendors quickly mimicked Herta’s recipe.

Within a couple of years currywurst was not only the Number One street snack in Berlin, but in several other German cities as well.

Herta herself sold a mind-blowing 10,000 every week.

Today currywurst is so popular across Germany with locals and foreign visitors alike, that some 800 million are downed annually.

Seventy million of them are sold just in Berlin…and  these days usually accompanied by French fries. 

And a museum that opened in Berlin in 2009 dedicated somewhat bizarrely to the snack, the Deutsches Currywurst Museum, today gets 350,000 visitors a year… who each receives a hot currywurst as a ‘Thank You’ for visiting.

Worldwide, Germany offers the largest selection of wurst.

Bratwurst, Knockwurst, Bockwurst they are all part of the wurst family. In fact there are more than 1500 different kinds of wurst. They may all sound very similar but they are very different.

You have your pork varieties, then your veal varieties and then there is the veal and beef varieties and so on. 

As with breads and beers, these flavoursome sausages are a main component of German cuisine and a must-try for visitors to the country.

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