Photo by Charlotte Eberwein
Chez Michel Blutwurst
While the vegan frenzy isn’t dying down anytime soon, a growing number of Berlin foodies are craving fresh blood... sausage! Here are three ways to get your iron fix.
Since 1996, butcher Marcus Benser has been making handmade Blutwurst fresh every morning at his shop Blutwurstmanufaktur in Rixdorf. The trade runs in his blood – his family are an old traditional butcher family from Weimar, and he still uses his grandfather’s secret recipe to make a blood sausage that is famous throughout Europe.
It’s a serious business – there is an Order of the Knights of the Blutwurst, of which Benser was made a member for his services to the sausage. The production takes place every morning in the butcher shop, using only fresh blood from local pigs, which have undergone a personal quality control inspection by Benser himself.
Fat from the back, onions and a secret blend of spices are added; Benser will only reveal that marjoram from Thuringia, pepper from Brazil and a hint of cinnamon are used. A single Blutwurst weighing 180 grams costs €1.68 and can be enjoyed cold, although it is at its full-bodied, smooth-textured best when fried and served with a big plate of mashed potatoes, apple sauce and roasted onions. UK
Karl-Marx-Platz 9-11, Neukölln, U-Bhf Karl-Marx-Str., Mon-Fri 8-18, Sat 8-13
At A Chau 24, the largest supermarket in the maze of Lichtenberg warehouses known as the Dong Xuan Center, a trip to the butcher station is an exercise in organ identification. Next to plastic crates full of pig kidneys, goat livers and cow stomachs, you’ll see glistening red links of Vietnamese blood sausage, made in-house by stuffing a mixture of pig’s blood, fat, mung beans and herbs (including Vietnamese basil and coriander) into pork intestines.
It’s a relative bargain at €5/ kilo, and if you brave the chaos around the front counter and find a sales clerk who speaks German, they’ll gladly steam up a link or two for you at no extra charge.
At first, the combination of the earthiness of the blood and the vegetal tang of the herbs is overbearingly funky. Dunked into a mixture of fish sauce, lime juice and chillies, however, doi becomes a perfectly serviceable beer accompaniment – which is usually how it’s enjoyed in Vietnam. RG
Dong Xuan Center Halle 3, Herzbergstr. 128-139, Lichtenberg, M8 Herzbergstr./ Industriegebiet, Wed-Mon 9-21
There are a few places in Berlin where carnivorous bon vivants can quench their thirst for French blood (sausage), or boudin noir. A no-nonsense well-seasoned mix of pork blood, fat and cooked onions (and none of that extra stuffing found in its white-skinned cousin, the boudin blanc), it is to be enjoyed gently browned in butter and served with cooked apples and/or potatoes.
In Berlin you can purchase at the Galeries Lafayettes food court or Chez Bruno, a Zehlendorf delicatessen boasting an impressive collection of cheeses and a few boudin types for €16.50-19.50 per kilo. When it comes to having it served to your table, beware: prices vary greatly from €18.50 at Chez Maurice (accompanied by thyme-caramelised apples, mash and onion marmelade) to €8.50 at Chez Michel! They actually all come from the same French provider (delivered fresh from Rungis, near Paris, every Thursday).
We loved the Kreuzberger’s bargain version: oven-roasted, served on a light bed of greens with a sweet-sour side of Jonagold apples and butter-roasted potatoes. After the steak frites, it’s one of Michel’s most popular courses (he dishes out up to six kilos of the black roll each week).
For first-timers: make sure to combine boudin, apples and potatoes with each bite, to maximise the experience. Mustard (hot, Dijon style) is optional, but adds a spicy tinge to it! FP
Chez Michel, Adalbertstr. 83, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Kottbusser Tor, Mon-Fri 11-22, Sat-Sun 17-22
Originally published in issue #122, December 2013.