Bern sausage awarded protected product status

Spot the tongue: a traditional "Bernese platter". Keystone / Yoshiko Kusano

Two centuries after it first graced Bernese tables, the Zungenwurst, or “blood tongue” sausage, has been added to the country’s list of geographically protected products. 

This content was published on September 26, 2019 - 15:25

The accolade was announced on Thursday by the Federal Office for Agriculture and means the sausage will henceforth be entirely protected from imitations produced elsewhere in Switzerland or the European Union. 

The Bernese Zungenwurst, literally “tongue sausage”, was first recorded in 1798 when it was a prime dish for the Swiss banquet following a victory over France at the battle of Neuenegg. 

Food being scarce at the time, participants arrived with whatever they could find – which included plenty of pig tongues. 

Since then, the sausage has gone on to become an essential component of any self-respecting “Bernese platter”, a traditional dish that includes samples of various meats along with potatoes, sauerkraut and mustard. 

Since then, however, it has lost its eponymous ingredient, even if it has maintained the name: modern Zungenwurst is made from pork meat (but not tongue), beef, crackling and spices. 

It becomes the 39th specialty on Switzerland’s list of protected products, all of which may be manufactured only in the geographic region with which they are associated. 

The first to receive the gong, in 2000, was Etivaz cheese. Various sausages, cheeses, breads and liqueurs have since been added to the list.

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