Sunday, April 29, 2012

Franconia’s Mini-Bratwurst in Nuremberg

The mini-bratwurst are often served with tangy sauerkraut and pretzel or rye bread and hot mustard
Nuremberg is a small city with a big history. The unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, it was a powerful trade center in the Middle Ages and the cultural heart of the German Renaissance in the 15th century. The modern city is no less energetic; it heads up the pretty Franconian region, where wine competes with beer and the sausages are delicious little bratwurst.

Probably invented by Chinese butchers in the 6th century BC, sausages began as an efficient way of using edible meat scraps.
With the addition of herbs and spices, they quickly became popular enough for the idea to spread west, giving the ancient Greeks and Romans a chance to really popularize them. In medieval times, the Germans made them into a culinary art form, inventing around 1,200 different types, most of which were smoked, dried, or precooked. But in the early 15th century, cooks in the Nuremberg region invented the most popular German sausage, bratwurst – a fresh sausage that was designed to be cooked.
Central Nuremberg looks like a city frozen in time, from much the same era. It lost most of its medieval glories in the bombing of World War II, but some survive in the old town, where crooked half-timbered houses and surviving city walls hug twisting alleys and tight cobbled streets. A large part of enjoying the town is simply strolling around and soaking up the atmosphere. The Hauptmarkt, its bustling focal square, is often filled with colorful market stands and is overlooked by the Frauenkirch, a beautiful Gothic church. The next square to the north, the Rathausplatz, is equally attractive, thanks partly to the presence of the town hall and the 13th-century St. Sebald church, with its impressive bronze Gothic shrine. But the city’s most magnificent single sight is its Kaiserburg (known locally as “The Burg”), the city’s huge medieval castle, which took 400 years to complete and whose position above the old town provides impressive views over its red-roofed core.
Eating out in Nuremberg is a treat. Franconian fare is hearty and filling, and often served with the very good local wines. But beer goes best with wurst, and the wurst here is some of the finest in Germany.
The Nürnberger Rostbratwurst was standardized by town council decree in 1497; each sausage must be 3 inches (7–9 cm) long and 0.8 oz (25 g) in weight.
This was probably due to the high prices of meat at the time, but it turned out to be as important to the sausage as its ingredients. It makes for a large surface area around the marjoram-and-caraway-flavored pork, and the crispy outer skin readily absorbs the traditional beech-wood fire aromas. The tangy flavors beg for mouth-wateringly sharp German mustards, so the other natural accompaniment is something mild and forgiving, such as potato salad or sauerkraut.
But the little sausages seem to taste best served three abreast on a warm bun, as comfort food on a cold day.

Nürnberger Rostbratwürste are a favorite from the market stands in the city, where they’re sold Drei im Weckla (“three in a bun”)

A Day in Nuremberg
Bombs obliterated Nuremberg’s heart in World War II, but meticulous rebuilding since has reproduced the original, charming medieval core, ideal for enjoyable wandering.
MORNING : Get a feel for the lively downtown at the Hauptmarkt, the focal market square, before taking in the attractive venerable buildings around the neighboring square of Rathausplatz. Then climb steadily on narrow cobbled streets north to the Kaiserburg to view its imperial living quarters and the old town from above.
AFTERNOON : Cross Nuremberg’s walled core to explore the city’s two best museums on its southern side. Choose from stimulating your mind with the contemporary art of the Neues Museum or getting a better grip on German history in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, which has many intriguing artifacts, including the world’s first globe.
EVENING : Head to a beer hall such as the Barfüsser Hausbrauerei (Hallplatz 2) to absorb the traditional atmosphere of a vast cellar where you can enjoy handcrafted blond and dark German beers and Bierbrand, a schnapps made of beer.
Getting to Nuremberg
Nuremberg’s international airport is 4 miles (7 km) from the city and has a subway to the downtown. There are buses and direct rail connections to many European cities.
Where to stay in Nuremberg
Elch (inexpensive) offers simple lodgings in a 14th-century house.
Dürer Haus (moderate) has bright and airy rooms near the castle.
Le Méridien Grand (expensive) is a premier hotel with sleek styling.

No comments:

Post a Comment