Three things to know about Switzerland's protected 'blood tongue sausage'
The Berner Zungenwurst - or ‘blood tongue sausage’ - a traditional delicacy from Bern, is the latest Swiss dish to achieve EU protected status.
The protection prevents imitators from producing the sausage, unless they do so under a different name.
The Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture awarded the protection in the Federal Register of Protected Designations of Origin (GGA) on Thursday.
The dish dates back to 1798 and is an integral part of the Bernese Platter, a local meal which includes an assortment of cured meats, potato and sauerkraut.
Is it made with real tongue blood?
The literal translation of Zungenwurst is tongue sausage. Unlike other traditional dishes which do not translate well - we’re looking at you, Leberkäse (liver cheese), which contains neither liver nor cheese - Zungenwurst originally featured tongue as a prominent ingredient.
A cookbook from 1835 states that two or three pig tongues should be used as ingredients, along with meat and blood from pork and beef.
These days however the tongue has been phased out, but the name remains. Contemporary cookbooks call for Zungenwurst to be made from pork and beef meat, along with crackling and spices.
A reward for fighting off the French
Part of the sausage’s important cultural value comes from its wartime origins.
Legend has it the dish was first served as part of a victory banquet after the Swiss defeated the French troops at the Battle of Neuenegg.
Due to food shortages, participants brought whatever they had in stock - which included more than a handful of pork tongues.
Geographic protections in Switzerland
Zungenwurst becomes the 39th food or drink item on the list of Swiss protected products, which include schnapps, cakes, coffees as well as cured animal products like meat and cheese.
In addition to the Zungenwurst, some well-known protected products include Swiss cheese (Emmentaler), Zuger Kirschtorte, Walliser Raclette and Tête de Moine, otherwise known as Monk’s Head Cheese.