Throughout eastern Europe, no matter where we went, there were certain foods we encountered over and over again. Yes, there was the shnitzel and yes, there was the goulash, but better than all of that, topping the charts, always there was the spicy, tangy bratwurst. Sausages were everywhere – piping hot off the grill at stands on the street, in the markets, seemingly in every nook and cranny of the cities and the countryside, even in the underground metro — they were ubiquitous, like gelato in Italy or crepes in Paris.
Our arteries may have been screaming, but we couldn’t resist. So we indulged whenever we could and tried a variety of those gorgeous brats. There were some with cheese inside, some with curry sauce, some more mild, and some spicy–spicy. They were sometimes put on a plate with crusty bread and sauerkraut, but most often they were served inside large sourdough rolls that had been hollowed out to allow the sausage to fit right in with nothing but a little mustard in there with it. Man oh man, those were just amazing. We used any excuse to buy one — “We need one for the train ride” or “We should have something to tide us over until dinner.” We were shameless and on the prowl for the best of the wurst, and although we’d be hard pressed to name our favorite, we’d have to say those in Vienna and Prague were the most irresistible.
Served with a local pilsner beer (and a baby aspirin before bedtime), we were in hog heaven.