My dear friend E just returned from Switzerland with a bag full of wonderful Swiss sausages called Servelats
and Rivella. (I wrote previously about Rivella here
) Now, being Swiss and growing up in this wonderful country Servelats do have a special meaning for me and for a fact, to most Swiss. (Read below) There was absolutely no grilling party, BBQ, feast or any other event without Servelats! That 25 of these are consumed in average by each person in Switzerland during a year is a surprise to me; myself have eaten in the past two days five of them!!
is often referred to as the national sausage of Switzerland. Some 160 million Servelats weighing 27,000 metric tons
are produced in Switzerland annually, which is equivalent to a consumption of 25 Servelats per person per year. Grilling Servelats over an open fire, with the ends cut open so that they expand like a butterfly’s wings, is a childhood memory for nearly every Swiss person and as a result, many Swiss are emotionally attached to the sausage.
A New York Times
report noted that “the possible demise of Servelas visibly upset the Swiss, a normally even-tempered people”. The Servelat production crisis has been covered closely by the Swiss media, and in a newspaper poll, 72 percent of those surveyed stated that the Servelat had to be saved. The Servelat crisis was also the subject of a parliamentary debate, in which State Councilor
and president of the Swiss Meat Association Rolf Büttiker
highlighted the national sausage’s social significance, calling it a “cult sausage” and “the worker’s steak”.
Grilled Servelat with a creamy pork meat risotto and Appenzeller cheese (posting is here
) is just another alternative dish, combining the best ingredients!
, also spelled cervelas
, is a type of cooked sausage produced mainly in Switzerland and in parts of Germany.
In its modern Swiss variety, it consists of a mixture of beef, bacon and pork rind
that is packed into zebu intestines,
slightly smoked and then boiled.
Name and History
The sausage is called cervelas
in the French-speaking part of Switzerland
in the German-speaking part. Both variants ultimately derive from cerebrum
, the Latin
word for brain, in reference to the brain that used to be part of the recipe.
The term “Cervelat” is the older of the two. It was first recorded in 1552 by Rabelais
, and is derived from zervelada
, a Milanese dialect word.
or, in Italian, cervelato
, referred to a “large, short sausage filled with meat and pork brains”.
The contemporary recipe is derived from a late nineteenth-century reworking of the traditional recipe that was invented in Basel.
Production and preparation
are made of roughly equal parts of beef, pork, bacon, pork rind and ice, as well as spices, curing salt and cutter additives. The ingredients are very finely minced in a cutter, packed into cow intestines, smoked for an hour at 65 to 70 °C
and then boiled at 75°C.
Traditionally, Swiss cow intestines were used, but producers switched to Brazilian zebu intestines after the local materials became too rare and expensive.
can be prepared in numerous ways. They can be eaten cooked
, grilled or fried. They are also served raw, either as part of a salad or as a whole with bread and mustard.