History

Qutation

“For you should know,
 that where Hans Sachs once ate, I too have eaten small 
sausages,”
Nuremberg campaigner for women’s rights and author Helene von Forster (1859–1923)
Butcher Hans Lengenfelder

Portrait of the butcher Hans Langenfelder, who died in 1436. The butcher is shown chopping up a joint of pork.
In the background you can see large sausages attached to a hooked rod.

Source: House book of the Mendel's Twelve Brethren House Foundation, volume 1, Nuremberg 1426 -1549

Over 700 years of tradition

Why is the Nuremberg Rostbratwurst so small? It is just 7 to 9 centimetres in length, weighing no more than 25 grams. These are probably unusual measurements for a sausage! The reasons for the invention of this little delicacy probably go back centuries.

In the year 1313 the Moritz Chapel was built next to the sublime St Sebald’s Church near the main central market and the Town Hall. A few years later there were reports of the “cooks at St Sebald’s “ to which the needy were summoned to be given food by the sounding of the “little blue bell.” The most famous tavern in Germany, the Bratwurst Glöcklein or Little Sausage Bell grew out of the tavern and cook shop which adjoined the St Moritz Chapel.

Bratwurst Glöcklein
Bratwurst Herze

This little restaurant, together with the whole city and of course its famous sausages, have survived times when they were visited by emperors and kings as well as those when there was shortage of meat and wars. The Nuremberg sausage successfully adapted to any conditions in order to ultimately become probably the most famous sausage in the world. Follow the history of this famous little delicacy through the centuries.

Time Bar

  • 1313 

    How it all began

    The first evidence of a sophisticated tradition of sausages in Franconian Nuremberg goes back to the year 1313. A Nuremberg City Council statute of 1313 stipulated that “pork loins should be finely chopped at put into the sausages.” The same statute also prescribed the role of meat inspectors who were given the job designation of “little sausages.” Even in those days only specialised pork butchers were allowed to manufacture Nuremberg sausages and they had to submit them for inspection to the sworn butchers and masters of the market. These master butchers subjected to the sausages to the strictest inspections for adherence to the recipe and tests for their structure, composition and water content. Any sausages which were found to be of inferior quality where sent flying straight into the Pegnitz river!
  • 1419

    The Golden Star (Restaurant "Zum Gulden Stern")

    The building which today houses The Golden Star Tavern was first mentioned in a written source. This is at least what the Tavern’s own chronicle reports. This tavern has survived the turmoil of the ages and its business has also survived, with some interruptions until the present day. The Golden Star therefore claims to be the oldest sausage restaurant in the world.
  • 1497

    The Nuremberg Order of Butchers

    The Nuremberg Order of Butchers regulates both the size and the prices of Nuremberg sausages. The butchers were instructed to make five sausages from a pound of finely chopped pork for the cook shops and four sausages from the same quantity of meat for private customers. But as meat became dramatically more expensive in the 16th Century, the quality of the ingredients suffered everywhere. Nuremberg was, however, the exception to this rule: The City Council permitted smaller sausages to be made so that the quality, taste and good reputation of the Nuremberg sausages could be maintained.
    Source: www.die-nuernberger-bratwurst.de
     
  • 1554

    The Stromer sausage

    The judge and Town Council member Hans Stromer was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Debtors’ Tower for “criminal speech and evil suspicions of being disloyal to the city.” As a member of a patrician family he was allowed to make one request and Mr. Stromer asked to be allowed to eat two sausages every day. His request was granted: During the 38 years of his captivity he consumed around 28,000 Nuremberg sausages and he became the proverbial Stromer sausage. “The sausages must have been very good if he did not become tired of them,” wrote the city chronicler. Source: www.br.de
  • 1558

    Excerpt from a butcher’s ordinance

    This shows that the quality of the meat in Nuremberg has always been an important issue. The ordinance provides comprehensive regulation of all aspects pork butchering including, amongst other things, the need to use exclusively “meat from pigs” and up to the annual allocation of butchers’ stalls.
    Actum 13. October 1558 - Nuremberg City Archives
    Inv.-No. B 31 No.1 (Court of five judges No. 1: Official records)
  • 1573

    In the middle of the 16th Century the people of Nuremberg were already showing just how much they loved their sausages. Constant falls in market prices for sausages made the butchers inventive and 25-gram "light" sausage was born. The price per kilo was almost six times higher than that for other sausages. This made the town Council furious, but it could not stop people’s hunger for them! The Wörschdla only became fully legal some decades later.
  • Schembartlaeufer
    1614

    In the year 1614 Nuremberg’s butchers were still able to anticipate mouths being opened for their produce when “on Ash Wednesday, 9th March they processed through the city’s streets in fine order.”
    In a somewhat extravagant sentence construction, the chronicle records that, “The pork butchers’ boys went through the city with oboes and bagpipes carrying a sausage made of good ingredients which was 493 ells (320 m) long which they would willingly have increased to 500 ells.
    Source: www.die-nuernberger-bratwurst.de
  • Strafgebührenfestsetzung
    1720

    Determination of fines

    Prohibition of pre-selling of cattle and other problems attracting fines
    As of 16th September 1720 from the Nuremberg City Archives, Inv.-No E/5 47 No. 44/26 :
    “[...] the often banned and highly damaging practice of pre-emptive selling [...has...] taken hold to such an extent again [...] that now there are not only few cows, but also just a few sheep and pigs [...] which are actually making it as far as the public market to be sold.”
    The text goes on to describe how cattle buyers go to meet dealers selling cows on their way to the market and buy the animals before they get there. This was damaging to the butchers and to the entire population. The result was: “A lamentable and unnecessary increase in the price of meat.”
  • 1806 

    Nuremberg Romanticism

    Nuremberg Romanticism: In the early years of the 19th Century Nuremberg became a place of longing for many in the early Romantic movement. The beauty of the city’s medieval buildings was also being discovered at this time and it made the whole of the Old City into a tourist attraction. The sausage restaurants were especially adept at seeing this as a marketing opportunity and profited from the trade increasing number of visitors. The Bratwurst-Glöcklein, which was said to be Albrecht Dürer’s favorite tavern, became one of the most famous guest houses in the German Empire.
     
  • 1809

    Prohibition of pig keeping in the city

    On 25th May 1809:
    The keeping and fattening of pigs has already been completely banned in this city by means of ancient and lordly commands because such actions go completely against the order of the city, but also especially because the foul smell emanating from the pig stalls is extremely noisome and unpleasant for the neighbourhood.
    Nuremberg City Archives, Inv. No. A 6 No 3149
     
  • 1905

    In the Bratwurstherzle at the Liège World Exhibition of 1905

    “Even the Shah of Persia sent a telegram saying he would like to have another one on the fork!” The sausage restaurants had by now become the epitome of German hospitality and thus became a gastronomic offering at the Liège World Exhibition.
     
  • 8. Mai 1945

    Zero Hour

    The Second World War is over and the historic Nuremberg has been destroyed. And with it most of the time-honoured sausage restaurants. Some will never be re-built, others emerged in the post-war period in another location, as is the case with the Bratwurstherzle.
     
  •  18. März 1998 

    In the City Council it is all about the sausage!

    For centuries the Nuremberg City Council has been concerned to maintain the quality of the sausages produced in the city - another basic pillar of the success of the Rostbratwurst sausage. 1998 was the last time it met to decide on the quality and measurements which were to be laid down as official specifications for the sausages. In the same year the Nürnberger Rostbratwürste e.V. Sausage Protection Association was founded.
    Source: BR 
     
  • 2000

    The oldest sausage restaurant in the world

    Where is the oldest sausage restaurant in the world? Is it in Nuremberg or in Regensburg? This is hotly debated by the people of Franconia and those from the Upper Palatinate. People have generally agreed that Regensburg is the oldest sausage restaurant, but Nuremberg has the oldest sausage restaurant.
     
  • 16. Juli 2003 

    The European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) scheme

    The designation of “Nuremberg Rostbratwurst sausage “has been protected with the seal of the European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) scheme since 2003. This seal confirms that all the products labelled as being “Nuremberg Rostbratwurst sausages” have been made in the city area of Nuremberg and following a prescribed recipe. This meant that the Nuremberg sausage was the first sausage in the world to be awarded the rights of a food speciality with a protected designation of origin (PDI).
     
  • 2004

    The first Nuremberg Sausage Prize

    The Nuremberg Sausage Prize was awarded for the first time in 2004. This prize was awarded to Kerstin Greiner, journalist on the Süddeutsche Zeitung: She sent 22 food hampers containing German specialities to places all over the world. The Nuremberg sausage therefore emerged as the clear winner in the race which included competitors such as Kiel sprats, stuffed cabbage, blood sausage, Aachener Printen (Aachen gingerbread Lebkuchen) and brawn. The biggest loser was precisely the Munich white sausage.
     
  • 2005

    The last sausage before America

    In 2005 Wolfgang Bald was awarded the Sausage Prize for his “Last Sausage before America” In Portugal. In the Cabo de San Vicente, at the far western tip of Europe, he runs a snack-bar called "The Last Sausage before America" which sells about 1,000 small sausages every day.
     
  • 2006

    EU Commissioner, Dr. Franz Fischler receives the Prize for the best Bratwurst Sausage

    The former Austrian EU Commissioner, in signing the EC Regulation No 1257 of 15th of July 2003, granted the Nuremberg Bratwurst sausage / Nuremberg Rostbratwurst sausage - as the first sausage in the world - the rights of a food speciality of protected geographical indication (PGI).
     
  • 2007

    Bratwurst sausage prize goes to artist Gisela Hellinger

    Thanks to her delight in sausages, she has succeeded, - sometimes mischievously, more often affectionately, but always full of humour - in giving Nuremberg sausages the place in art which they deserve. The exhibitions and publications under the title “The Sausage - an artistic treat" provide the sausage with an eloquent and illustrated testimony.
     
  • 2008

    An honour for the Protection Association

    A special type of measuring fork was specifically developed for measuring Nuremberg sausages. Dr. Hartmut Frommer, Vice President of the Nuremberg Sausage Protection Association, is happy to use it to vividly demonstrate just how small these Nuremberg specialities are! He too was awarded the Nuremberg Sausage Prize in 2008 for his tireless work in promoting this delicacy.
     
  • 2009

    The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

    The “3 im Weckla” serving portion was invented during one of the traditional Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkts. This is why this institution was awarded the sixth Nuremberg Sausage Prize in the year 2009. This was an acknowledgement that the “3 im Weckla” serving portion had become ideally suited for polite society at events.
     
  • 2010

    Prize for tireless commitment

    Because of his tireless commitment and the continuation and maintenance of the Nuremberg tradition of the "cooks at St. Sebald’s" with his sausage restaurants the Bratwursthäusle, the Goldenen Posthorn (Golden Post Horn) and the Bratwurstglöcklein im Handwerkerhof, Werner Behringer was awarded the Sausage Prize in 2010.
     
  • 2011

    Our Club - 1. FCN

    The Nuremberg Football Club (FCN) sells about 350,000 bratwurst sausages each season at its Bundesliga matches. This contributes to the fact that the "Nuremberg” sausage is not just an important part of every home game for the Nuremberg fans, but is also becoming ever more popular with away fans from other regions of Germany. The club was therefore awarded the eight Nuremberg Sausage Prize in 2011.
     
  • 2012

    Prize for the star chef

    Alfons Schuhbeck received the 2012 Prize for being a star chef, who, like the Nuremberg sausage itself, is closely connected with his homeland while at the same time moving at the highest international level. “The simplest is the best if you have a good basic product." This means that the paths of the chef and the sausage have crossed frequently in his career as well as in his book entitled "My Classic Dishes". Thus, Alfons Schuhbeck has also contributed to the high-quality dissemination of the small and fine Nuremberg sausage.
     
  • 2013

    The Sausage Prize goes to the Nuremberg Guild of Butchers

    2In 2013 The Nuremberg Guild of Butchers was awarded the tenth Sausage Prize on behalf of all the butchers of Nuremberg because it was the butchers of Nuremberg who created the "Nuremberg Rostbratwurst sausage" and gave it those qualities - especially the taste and quality - that have made the "Nuremberg Rostbratwurst sausage" a distinctive premium product and at the same time to a world famous symbol of the city of Nuremberg. Indeed they have done this in such a sustainable way that it has remained such a product for centuries even though for most of that time it did not enjoy any legal protection.
     
  • 2014

    Special exhibition on "9 cm of Nuremberg”

    In conjunction with the awarding of the Nuremberg Sausage Prize to Mayor Dr. Ulrich Maly in September 2014 the special exhibition devoted to the "9 cm of Nuremberg - A cultural history of the Nuremberg sausage” was opened.