Guten Appetit: Eat like Luther!
Imagine sausages grilling over charcoal: even the thought is mouth-watering. In LutherCountry, that appetizing smell wafts across cobbled squares in towns and cities. But these are not just any sausages. They are Thüringer Rostbratwurst, the same Thuringian sausages that Martin Luther loved.
In the year celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Luther’s favorite foods and beverages are still part of daily life in what are now the German federal states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. Start with that Thuringian bratwurst. Just as it did all those centuries ago, today’s recipe calls for pork, with a secret blend of salt, pepper, garlic, caraway, and marjoram. And, on menus in LutherCountry, 75 miles south of Berlin, there are many other treats that the Great Reformer would enjoy.
As well as thick pea soup, dumplings and sauerkraut (cabbage, white wine, caraway seeds), Luther would recognize Thuringian plum cake. Then, there is Luther Bread. Packed with candied fruits, raisins, almonds, honey, and apricot jam, it was created by Katharina von Bora, Luther’s wife. At least, that is the legend. Whatever the reality, this yummy treat is baked for Reformation Day, October 31st.
For a complete 16th-century dining experience, it has to be a Luthermahl or Lutherschmaus, a medieval meal of smoked pork chops, roast pork or chicken, red cabbage and bacon dumplings. Long tables are set with flickering candles, wooden platters and pottery drinking vessels. Cutlery includes knives and spoons, but never forks, because in Luther’s day, they were considered implements of the Devil. These suppers are offered in Lutherstadt Eisleben, Eisenach, Erfurt and Lutherstadt Wittenberg, communities where the Great Reformer walked, preached and lived.
In 2017, locals still drink what Luther drank: “Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long does not sin; whoever does not sin enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!” Back then, most brewing was done at home and Luther particularly praised his wife’s brew. Today, breweries in LutherCountry make a variety of beers, using centuries-old recipes.
Coffee, of course, was unknown in Luther’s day. But his enjoyment of good company continues with a Kaffeeklatsch, literally a chat over coffee. This is the perfect way to meet locals in their homes and find out more about everyday life in LutherCountry. In Lutherstadt Wittenberg, this program is offered at the tourist information office.
Wherever you are in LutherCountry, food is a link between past and present. In Weimar, for example, the annual Onion Market (October 13 - 15, 2017) has long been a harvest-time tradition. At one of the stalls, order up a slice of Zwiebelkuchen, warm, freshly-baked onion pie. But, at outdoor markets throughout LutherCountry, the tempting smell could be a sweet treat, called Baumkuchen. Rich with eggs, butter, sugar, and flour, this waffle-like snack is baked on a spit over an open fire. Delicious in Luther’s time, 500 years on, Baumkuchen is still delicious now. And whatever you eat, "Guten Appetit!” as they say In LutherCountry: "Enjoy your meal!"
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About LutherCountry: Where you can walk in Luther’s footsteps
Would you like to step inside the very room in which Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German, or admire the pulpits from which he preached and where pastors still preach today? Do you want to taste beer brewed the way Martin Luther liked it? Then come and visit LutherCountry, where you can explore Luther’s old stomping grounds and much more!
LutherCountry is situated in the heart of Germany and has so much to offer, from fascinating churches and museums for the believers and history or culture fans among you, to beautiful landscapes that could be straight out of a children’s picture book.
What do the places in LutherCountry all have in common? Centuries ago, they were the stage for Martin Luther’s tumultuous life and thus played a special role in the Reformation, which changed the way people thought about so many aspects of daily life. Martin Luther’s influence spread through Western Europe and, with European settlers, to the United States.
Although Luther lived five centuries ago, his presence is still tangible today. Grab your suitcase and come experience the unforgettable –LutherCountry is waiting to be discovered!