NORTH HESSIAN AHLE WURSCHT
North Hesse‘s culinary inheritance
Traditionally manufactured Ahle Wurscht is without doubt one of Europe‘s best raw sausage specialities. The centuries old manufacturing tradition has its roots in rural self-sufficiency. Even up until a few decades ago, almost every household in North Hesse kept its own pig, the meat of which secured the family‘s basic income. Slaughtering took place in the winter months and the meat was then preserved by turning it into sausages. To ensure maximum flavour throughout the year, different types of sausages were prepared, and the shelf life was determined by the thickness of the sausage.
The North Hessian Ahle Wurscht is a slowly matured raw pork sausage, made from heavy „sausage pigs“ slaughtered at an age which guarantees optimum meat. The meat is then processed to raw sausages while still warm, or at the very latest on the next day. After carving, the meat is minced which gives the sausage meat a medium coarse consistency and prevents it from getting hard even after long periods of maturity. The only accepted additives are salt and saltpetre, and freshly ground spices which vary according to the manufacturer and give each sausage its own individual taste. All other chemical additives which might affect the maturity are prohibited.
The North Hessian Ahle Wurscht then matures for between 3 to 9 months, depending on its thickness. During this time it is carefully cultivated, which also affects the final unique flavour. No two Ahle Wurscht sausages will ever taste exactly the same. The pork, spices, climate and maturity all contribute to a wide variety of flavours.
The „Friends of the Ahle Wurscht“ Association
The „Friends of the North Hessian Ahle Wurscht e.V.“ Association was founded in October 2004 upon the initiative of Slow Food North Hesse, with the aim of maintaining the traditional manufacturing methods and promoting the diversity of flavours. The association comprises manufacturers and other sponsors; most of them are also Slow Food members. The association is to be understood as a lobby for quality and taste. The work of the association is divided into the following four, equally promoted, areas:
The quality criteria defined in the association‘s charter, e.g. origin and weight of the pigs, date of sausage manufacture, spices, maturing and ripening, are regularly controlled by audits.
The aim is to increase the brand recognition of this sausage speciality beyond the region and thus form an economic basis for maintaining the traditional methods of manufacturing.
North Hessian Ahle Wurscht is a unique taste experience. The taste should be described and defined, and this should serve as a guideline for sensory quality.
North Hessian Ahle Wurscht is traditionally firmly anchored in the local population and serves identity development throughout the region. It is a core element of North Hessian (gastronomic) culture. This cultural wealth needs to be publicized and widely experienced.