A beloved Swiss sausage, the St. Galler Bratwurst is enjoyed throughout Switzerland, but especially in the city of St. Gallen. How well do you know this white sausage? I recently visited Metzgerei Schmid in St. Gallen to learn more about how they make it. Test your knowledge with the 10 facts below…
1. Documented evidence indicates the St. Galler Bratwurst existed during the 15th century. A publication from 1438 by the butcher’s guild of St. Gallen outlines the requirements for producing this sausage. Since that time, the fundamental ingredients of this recipe have not changed.
2. This meat product earned an IGP (Indications géographiques protégées) designation in 2008. Sausages that have the IGP label, among other requirements, must be made in the cantons of St. Gallen, Appenzell Inerrhoden, Appenzell Ausserhoden or Thurgau. In addition, the pork used for this sausage must come from pigs born, raised and slaughtered in Switzerland.
3. This bratwurst contains veal and pork. It has a white color, in part, due to the milk added to the sausage. To receive the St. Galler Bratwurst IGP label, butchers must use salt, white pepper and mace (the grated shell of nutmeg). Other ingredients, such as onion, lemon, cardamom, coriander, celery and ginger are allowed, but not mandatory. Butchers use pig intestines for the casing of these sausages.
4. There are currently four types.
- St. Galler Bratwurst – The classic version of this bratwurst weighs between 110 and 130 grams.
- St. Galler Kalbsbratwurst – This sausage has a veal content of at least 50 percent.
- St. Galler OLMA-Bratwurst – In the autumn, the city of St. Gallen hosts a large agricultural trade fair known as OLMA. Held for the first time in 1943, OLMA stands for the Ostschweizerische Land- und Milchwirtschaftliche Ausstellung (East Switzerland Agricultural and Dairy Exhibition). During this fair, one of the most popular food items is the OLMA Bratwurst, which weighs 160 grams.
- St. Galler Kinderfest-Bratwurst – Weighing 220 grams, the Kinderfest-Bratwurst has the largest size. You’ll find this special bratwurst during the St. Galler Kinderfest, which takes place every three years.
5. Butchers can use ice when grinding the meat to prevent it from cooking prematurely from the heat created by the machine. These bratwurst have a very fine texture, so the meat is ground until the mixture becomes smooth and the ingredients evenly distributed.
6. Butchers cook this bratwurst; they do not smoke it. In general, butchers cook them for around 20 minutes in water heated to about 70°C (158°F).
7. Approximately 40 butchers currently make the IGP version of this sausage. This includes Metzgerei Schmid in the city of St. Gallen, which has been in business for over 100 years. You can purchase sausages to cook at home or grilled sausages in its retail shop starting from 8:00 AM, from Monday through Saturday.
8. When you eat one of these bratwurst, it usually comes with a St. Galler–Bürli. This crusty roll bakes in pairs, which people separated when serving. Unlike a hot dog, often placed inside an elongated bun, the St. Galler Bürli has a slightly irregular round shape that you eat separately from the sausage. Commonly found at festivals, such as the OLMA fair or Silvesterchlausen in Appenzell, you’ll receive a bratwurst in a small paper bag, so you can eat it with your hands — no fork or knife required.
9. To fully enjoy the taste of this bratwurst, people from St. Gallen insist that you should never add mustard! They argue that the flavor of the sausage is good enough that you shouldn’t have to add anything else. The mustard, they believe, unnecessarily masks the flavor of an otherwise delicious sausage!
10. In the summertime, a popular way to prepare this bratwurst is on the grill. Another typical way to have this sausage is pan-fried with an onion sauce.
Metzgerei Schmid, St. Jakob-Strasse 48, 9000 St. Gallen, +41 (0)71 244 81 16
- St. Galler Bratwurst (IGP), Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse
- Sortenorganisation – St. Galler Bratwurst
- St. Galler Bratwurst, Association suisse des AOP-IGP
Please note: I visited Metzgerei Schmid as a guest of Switzerland Tourism and St. Gallen-Bodensee Tourism during the Influencer Summit 2019. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are purely my own.
Updated: January 9, 2023