Life in Gols:
Learning to make Geselchte Würste (Smoked Sausage)
Sausage – or Würstel – is a staple of the Austrian diet and the varieties available are endless. They can be smoked, boiled, baked, grilled or fried but my favourite of all is the Geselchte Würste found at Maria’s Heuriger zur Alten Scheune.
If you don’t know what a heuriger is, don’t worry. Before moving here, I hadn’t heard of a heuriger either! Heurigens first started appearing in the late 1700s as a way for winemakers to offer tastings of their new wines and – with any luck – sell a few bottles. Over time, heurigens began offering snacks to their patrons which usually consisted of cold cuts and sausages made in-house, semmel (bread rolls) and locally produced cheeses.
At Maria’s heuriger, all of the meat is butchered and prepared by her husband Reinhold. A butcher by trade, it was a real treat when Reinhold invited me to his shop one morning to learn how to make Austrian-style smoked sausages.
Since my father is also a butcher back home in Canada, I already had an idea of how sausages were made. However unlike the sausages my father used to make – infused with maple syrup or Italian seasonings – Reinhold’s sausages are smoked and have a definite heat to them. Heavy in Paprika and other herbs and spices, they carry a distinct regional flavour that I’ve become completely addicted to.
The day began long before sun rise. Although the snooze button and I had a deep relationship that morning, I was finally able to drag myself out of bed, get dressed and be at the shop with a thermos full of hot coffee by 4 am.
As early as it was, we were soon greeted by some young blokes making their way home from a hard night out on the town. Eager for a bite to eat, they stayed and chatted for awhile before heading home to bed. Before long, the older men trickled in to gossip about the latest news and slug down a schnapps or two before breakfast.
Meanwhile, Reinhold put me to work curing and seasoning the meat. Soon it was time to try my hand at stuffing the meat into the casings before hanging the chains of sausage and rolling them into the smoker.
We left that day with some lessons learned, a weeks’ supply of sausage we’d made and smiles from ear to ear.
Stay tuned for our next visit to Reinhold’s shop and our very own attempts at making Geselchte Würste at home!