Brat, Curry and Leber could all well be the last name of a trio of inventors, scientists, or corporate power personified. However, in this case, they’re not.
Prior to my trip to Hamburg, I’d been advised to try a few delicacies. These dishes aren’t strictly limited to this city, but Hamburg is famous for one of them. Although not without some controversy over its origins.
First, let’s start with the bratwurst. Typically grilled or pan fried, it originated in southern Germany, but can be found all across the nation varying only slightly in its presentation, and side dishes. It’s simply more than the average sausage. Succulent, flavoursome, and goes perfectly with hot mustard and sauerkraut.
Second, the leberwurst. For this, I tried the pâte version of it and used it as a spread on some rye bread for breakfast. I didn’t know exactly what it was made of. My host Anna looked at me in anticipation of my first bite, which didn’t exactly put me at ease.
I glanced back at her and she said, “I’ll wait for you to try it before I tell you what’s in it.”
Great. I took my bite, and another, and looked at her.
“It’s the parts of the animal you don’t normally eat. Like eyes and…” She gestured towards her stomach. “Oh, intestines”, I replied. To which she nodded.
Cool. I can tick that off the bucket list. But honestly, it was actually quite tasty. I later researched it and leber translates to liver (should’ve guessed). It has a saltier, and more bitter taste to it but even though I don’t go out of my way to eat liver, I’d gladly but this pâte.
For the final dish, the currywurst. Given the almost obvious translation of leberwurst, currywurst is no exception. It’s a sausage served with fries topped with mayonnaise and ketchup, and covered in a generous amount of curry powder for an explosive taste. The ingredients may seem unorthodox but the flavour is enlightening.
So where does it originate from? Berlin’s Herta Heuwer is credited with its creation and a plaque even commemorates this moment in 1949. Hamburg’s response – where’d you get the curry from?
With Hamburg having been the largest port in Germany and second only to Amsterdam in Europe, they have a case. But then again, I’m yet to hear it from the people of Berlin.
Either way, I’m just glad someone decided to fuse the ingredients so people like me can eat it. This wurst is far from the worst.