Monday, September 23, 2013

Pretzel Story

Just in time for the Oktoberfest in Munich*, an article in the Badische Zeitung addressed the beloved Laugenbrezel (lye pretzel) called Brezn in Bavaria. I, however, learned that not only names are different but the composition of a Brezn compared with a Brezel too. This was the main argument of the Bavarian bakers when they sent a letter to Brussels to have the name Brezn entered into the EU-register of protected designations for local products such as French Camembert.
*The original Oktoberfest is rather a Septemberfest for the beer-drinking always starts way in September and already ends the first weekend in October. In 2013 the starting date is September 21, and the ending date October 6. This year die Maß - in principle one liter but generally insufficiently filled (schlecht eingeschenkt) - costs a record 9.85 euros.

With 1.5 to 4% the Brezn contains less fat than the Brezel with 4 to 8%. The decisive argument however is their different shape: Während bei schwäbischen Brezeln der Ansatz der Ärmchen sehr tief liegt und dadurch der obige Bogen als Bauch bezeichnet werden kann, sitzt er bei den typischen bayrischen Brezn deutlich höher (While in the case of the Swabian Brezel the attachment of the little arms is extremely low and the arc above may be described a belly the little arms of the Bavarian Brezn are significantly higher).

Bavarian Brezn with highly attached arms (©Wikipedia)

Swabian Brezel with a belly showing a hernia (©Guido Augustin)

What a tempest in a teacup. Being in Freiburg, my grandchildren could not care less in particularly when a Brezel or Brezn is horizontally sliced and slathered with butter. Now being older, they still like Butterbrezeln for breakfast but do the buttering themselves. Mothers in town well know that the best way to keep toddlers calm in their prams is to feed them Brezeln.

American pretzel (©Sodahead)
Medieval Brezel in Freiburg's Münster church on the stained glass window donated by the bakers' guild. Note the rather Bavarian form of a Brezn

So that war may not break out in the border region between Bavaria and Swabia, the Bavarian bakers are proposing a pragmatic approach. The Swabian bakers should send a letter to Brussels too. Will this help? I bet that specialists are already working to find specific differences between a Swabian Brezel and one baked in Baden so that another border conflict is likely.

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