German cult sausage gets own museum

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - In the year that Berlin’s best loved sausage, the Currywurst, celebrates its 60th Birthday a new museum showcasing the cult snack will open in the capital this weekend.

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The Currywurst Museum, which claims to be Germany’s first dedicated to the popular dish, opens its doors on August 15, welcoming visitors with the slogan, “Currywurst is more than just a sausage - it’s one of life’s experiences in Germany.

“No other national German dish inspires so much history and has so many well-known fans,” said museum curator, Martin Loewer, who came up with the idea for the museum four years ago.

Of Germany’s wide range of sausages, the currywurst is a national favorite, made from sliced pork sausage served with a sauce made of ketchup and curry powder.

Germans consume about 800 million currywursts annually -- 70 million are eaten in Berlin alone each year.

An array of interactive exhibits guide visitors along a ‘sauce trail’ through the history and variety of the beloved dish that has worldwide connoisseurs and even inspired a song by German musician, Herbert Groenemeyer.

Guests can climb inside a currywurst van, slice and prepare their own computer generated offerings against the clock and watch Grace Lee’s 22 minute documentary film, “Best of the Wurst” (2004).

A spice chamber scents the air with curry powder as guests relax on the giant ‘sauce sofa’, shaped like a squirt of ketchup while an eco-alley assesses the environmental impact of fast food.

Tickets cost between seven and 11 euros ($15.70) and the museum expects about 350,000 visitors annually. Merchandise ranges from kitchenware to cuddly currywursts retailing at 29.90 euros.

Loewer said he expected the museum to be popular despite the current economic crisis.

“Precisely in times of crisis (the Currywurst) is an excellent ambassador for the experience of Berlin. If nothing else the currywurst was born out of a time of crisis.”

According to the museum, the currywurst was concocted by Berliner Herta Heuwer in 1949 when rationing was still in place in West Berlin. She began experimenting with ingredients provided by British soldiers living in the capital.

Nowadays hungry punters at one of Berlin’s 2,000 currywurst stands have the choice of with or without intestine.

“Both are very popular,” said Wolfgang Klamt, 56, who works at Bier’s snack bar at Friedrichstrasse train station. “But I prefer mine with intestine - that’s the proper hearty Berlin sausage.”

Editing by Paul Casciato