Spicy sausage that is worthy of a shrine in Berlin

Musuem to open in honour of Germany's favourite meat snack, the currywurst

It is Germany's answer to fish and chips, fried pork sausage chopped into slices, drowned in ketchup and sprinkled with curry powder. Buy one at any Berlin kiosk and you will invariably be asked whether you want it served with or without its intestine.

Revolting to some, the humble currywurst (or curried sausage) is considered one of the delicacies of Teutonic cuisine. The Germans have been eating 800 million of them a year since the snack was first offered to the war-ravaged nation in 1949. And today, to mark the snack's sixtieth anniversary, Berlin will open its very own Currywurst Museum, a 600sq-metre shrine to the spicy smothered sausage.

Behind the city's former Cold War crossing point, Checkpoint Charlie, the €5m museum is a currywurst Disneyland. Visitors are greeted by a human-sized currywurst puppet and a replica Berlin sausage-stand before embarking on an interactive tour which traces the dish from its humble origins up to the present day. "The exhibition is a tribute to the currywurst phenomenon," said Birgit Breloh, the museum's director. "No other German dish inspires such excitement."

Being Berlin, a museum devoted to the consumption of meat has already attracted ideological protest. At a media preview, demonstrators from Germany's Vegetarian Society gatecrashed the exhibition, sporting pig snouts and arguing in favour of a humane alternative, a vegetarian currywurst. The museum, which hopes to attract some 350,000 visitors a year, devotes a large section to the inventor, Herta Heuwer.

The Berlin shop assistant lived in the city's British military sector after the Second World War and is credited with creating the popular snack from ingredients obtained from a British Naafi (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes): ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder. It was an attempt to offer Berliners something a bit more exciting than dull post-war rations.

As at countless kiosks across Germany and Berlin today, the sauce was poured over a chopped-up sausage on a paper plate. Customers are asked before the sauce is administered, whether they want the darm, or skin, on the sausage left on or taken off.

Ms Heuwer's currywurst proved such a roaring success that she employed a staff of 19 to run a stand in West Berlin's Charlottenburg district during the Fifties and Sixties. She patented her sauce, called Chillup, in 1951 and a metal plaque honouring her contribution to sausage cuisine today marks the spot where her stand once stood. Nowadays Berlin's leading currywurst stand is in the east Berlin district of Prenzlauerberg and patronised by such worthies as Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor.

The stand has been in the same family since 1942. Its owner "discovered" the currywurst in West Berlin in the 1950s before the building of the city's infamous Wall, and imported the recipe to the communist east.

Martin Löwer, the museum's curator says the sausage is a cult icon in the city, with Berliners scoffing 70 million a year. "People from all walks of life enjoy the experience," he said. "Its uncomplicated and that's what people want." But the city's claim to the sausage is the subject of a still unresolved dispute with Hamburg, which insists that its sausage-sellers invented the currywurst two years before Ms Heuwer.

Irritating as Hamburg's counter-claim may be, the currywurst is, in any case, no longer the favourite snack of Berliners. The spicy sausage was knocked off its perch in the capital decades ago by the Turkish doner kebab.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam