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Butcher makes world’s priciest Kobe bratwurst

A butcher in Hesse claims to be making "the most expensive bratwurst in the world" after he was commissioned to make sausages from outrageously expensive Japanese Kobe beef. But one expert chef told The Local it was a total waste.

Butcher makes world's priciest Kobe bratwurst
Dirk Ludwig with some of his Kobe beef bratwurst. Photo: DPA

Dirk Ludwig, a master butcher from Schlüchtern in Hesse, says that he was given the contract to produce sausages from the beef – which costs between €300 and €500 per kilo – by a luxury restaurant.

“My first attempts were unappetizing,” Ludwig said.

He had to make several tries to find the right combination of spices and the secret ingredient – cane sugar – to produce bratwurst his mystery customers thought fit to grace their plates.

The master butcher says that he sells the sausages for around €30 each – but even those with a taste for luxury and the money to pay can't get them, as he's only producing them under contract.

'Missing the point'

“I personally find such a product is very regrettable,” Michael Böhnke, chef and meat expert at Berlin's Grill Royal restaurant – the first restaurant in Europe ever to obtain a license to serve Kobe beef – told The Local.

Cows destined to produce Kobe beef – a geographically-protected term like champagne – come from families that can be traced back for hundreds of years and are cared for in a way unimaginable to farmers used to Western mass-production methods, Böhnke explained.

The time farmers spend fattening up the cows and the special care taken over the husbandry makes for meat that's delicately marbled with fat and extremely tender.

“It has a special texture and a fine balance of taste between the fat and the meat,” Böhnke explained.

“If you make it into sausages, then all that would be destroyed. If you ask me, I'd say it's too bad. Of course you can do that, but you're totally missing the point.”

He argues that the real art of sausage making is in how the butcher chooses to combine the beef with spices and other ingredients – not how expensive the meat was in the first place.

Not the first

Ludwig isn't the first German to use Wagyu beef – an umbrella term covering a number of Japanese varieties including Kobe – in processed meat products.

There are plenty of trendy restaurants, especially in Berlin, that offer Wagyu beef burgers in pursuit of big-spending, luxury-hunting guests.

“Since there's only a very small supply on the market, it's very expensive,” Gero Jentzsch of the German Butchers' Association told DPA.

Experiments to try and tempt wealthy palates to table are nothing new among German butchers, he explains, thinking back to sausage sushi, chocolate sausage meat or pig's stomach pralines.

Ludwig himself has a history of playing with liquids, creating “aqua aged” meat by marinading it in carbonated water and attempting the same trick (unsuccessfully) with champagne.

He's also thought up a way to treat meat with beechwood ash and has fresh plans to create steaks in a coconut water marinade.

With DPA

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POLITICS

Paris Agriculture show returns for 2022 event

The Paris farm show is back after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Set to be held one month before the presidential election, the 2022 event will be politically loaded.

French President Emmanuel Macron checks the quality of a cow during the Paris Agriculture show.
French President Emmanuel Macron checks the quality of a cow during the Paris Agriculture show. The event returns in late February after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. (Photo by Ludovic Marin / POOL / AFP)

The organisers of the Salon de l’agriculture, an annual farm show held in Paris, have announced that the 2022 event will be held from February 26th – March 6th.

The 2021 edition was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic – and the 2020 event was cut short – and there had been fears that this year would suffer the same fate. 

“This edition will not be like the others,” wrote the organisers in a statement, out of “respect for the health guidelines.” 

Mask-wearing rules, added ventilation inside exhibition tents and special measures to facilitate tastings during the pandemic will be implemented. Visitors will need to hold a valid health pass. 

The event falls just over one month before the first round of the presidential election, set for April 10th – and candidates will be sure to milk the opportunity to score political points. 

The event is the annual highlight of the agriculture sector – which employs about 759,000 people in France – and many more rely on the agricultural sector indirectly for employment. The sector was valued at €81.2 billion in 2021.

“This is a highly anticipated event, not just for the farming community, but also for citizens, political leaders and the media,” wrote the event organisers. 

Former President Jacques Chirac pioneered the use of the farm show as a political event, visiting almost every year from 1972- 2011. 

Former President Jacques Chirac inaugurates the 2007 Paris farm show.

Former President Jacques Chirac inaugurates the 2007 Paris farm show. (Photo by PATRICK KOVARIK / POOL / AFP)

In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron spent 14 hours strolling through the farm show, shaking hands and speaking with producers. This marathon visit set a new record for a sitting president. 

Previously, Francois Hollande is reported to have paid a 10 hour visit, Jacques Chirac 5.5 hours and Nicolas Sarkozy just four hours. 

The Local visited the show in 2020 to find out why it was so important for politicians to attend. 

READ MORE Why petting cows at the farm show is crucial for French politicians

The event, which is held at the Porte de Versailles in the south of Paris, isn’t just for farmers and politicians – it’s hugely popular with the public and thousands of people usually attend. 

The full ticket price is €15, for children between 6-12 it is €8 and children under six can go free. There are also group discounts available. 

Tickets can be bought online here and at the venue itself. 

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