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All About Pretzels

Apr 17, 2013

Hard or soft, salty or sweet, there’s no denying that pretzels are a snack food that never fails to please, but how much do you know about them? The story of pretzels is just about as loopy as a pretzel itself – find out more in All About Pretzels!

Pretzels Past

Like with most popular snack foods, there’s more than one origin story. The word pretzel comes from the German word “Brezel,” (which may, in turn, come from a Latin word) but one story claims that they were originally invented by an Italian monk who used the unmistakable folded doughy treat to reward children who learned their prayers – he called them “pretolia” which means “little prayers.” Another story claims that they were invented by monks in France, who had based them on Greek ring bread. And there is yet ANOTHER story that pretzels were invented by German bakers who were held hostage. Some scholars claim that pretzels came into being after the church banned baked goods made in other religious shapes by non-Christians, and pretzels were meant as a replacement. No matter who came up with them first, or how they were invented, everyone agrees on one thing – they’re delicious!

Pretzel Fun Facts!

  • Pretzel-baking is very popular in Southern Germany, and a large part of their cultural tradition
  • The Pretzel is used as the Emblem for German Bakers’ Guilds
  • In the Catholic Church pretzels were considered important because they could be eaten during Lent since they can be made without eggs, lard, milk or butter
  • Historically pretzels were also hidden on Easter, just like how we hide eggs today!
  • In Luxembourg there is a holiday called “Pretzel Sunday” which falls on the last Sunday of Lent
  • German immigrants brought Pretzels to the US in the 1800s – those immigrants became the Pennsylvania Dutch, which is why Pennsylvania has a tradition of pretzels and bakeries!
  • Chicago, Philadelphia and New York are renowned for their soft pretzels
  • Not all pretzels are looped (although that’s the traditional shape), some snack companies call the straight, salted sticks pretzels as well.
  • In 1993 a Pretzel Museum was opened in Philadelphia
  • National Pretzel Day is April 26th, and if you happen to be near the Philly Pretzel Factory they’ll hand you a free pretzel that day!

Ever wonder what the life of a pretzel looks like from start to finish? Check out “How It’s Made: Pretzels” below!                                                                                                                                                           

 

Have Your Say

Do you like pretzels? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

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