The European Commission is looking to put Bavarian pretzels on the protected origins list along with Champagne, Parma ham and Cornish pasties,
That means only pretzels produced in the southern German state can be sold as such.
Fortunately, it won’t affect the chewy, mahogany-coloured, rock-salted pretzels made from scratch in Calgary.
A true Bavarian-style pretzel gets its deep colour and characteristic taste and texture from a quick dip in a food-grade lye bath. The alkaline solution reacts with the dough, helping it turn a deep, glossy brown.
If you’re after the real thing, here are a few places to get your fix.
The Big Pretzel at WURST
It’s the biggest, best-est pretzel in Calgary; made in-house the proper way, using food-grade lye to create that slick mahogany crust. It’s perfectly doughy and chewy in the middle, crunchy in the arms and comes with house-made sweet, hot and grainy mustards and butter for your ultimate pretzel pleasure ($8).
WURST, 2437 Fourth St. S.W., 403-245-2345, @WURSTCalgary
Pretzel buns at the Rustic Sourdough Bakery
The dense, chewy buns at Rustic Sourdough have been a thing for decades. It used to be they were only available on weekends. Smaller than regular buns, they’re topped with coarse salt and have the texture of a pretzel — perfect for snacking on or stuffing with cured meats and cheeses.
Rustic Sourdough Bakery, 1305 17th Ave. S.W., Symons Valley Ranch and Kingsland Farmers’ Market
Warm Lunch Pretzels at Wilde Grainz in Inglewood
Alongside artisan loaves, cinnamon buns, homemade granola, wee cakes and tarts and scones, you’ll find warm pretzels on offer at around lunchtime.
Bavarian deli sandwich at the Waldhaus
Just an hour jaunt outside Calgary (in Banff) and a short walk down into the forest outside the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is the Wauldhaus, an alpine pub that may be the ultimate spot to sit with a pint and watch the hockey game. (Or come in to warm up after a hockey game on the frozen pond outside.)
And the Bavarian deli sandwich stacked with bündnerfleisch (air-dried cured beef), venison salami, ham garlic coil and raclette cheese with dill pickle, sweet mustard and garlic aioli on a chewy, salty pretzel bun ($18) is totally worth the pilgrimage.
The Waldhaus at the Fairmont Banff Springs, 405 Spray Ave., Banff, 403-762-2211, @FairmontBanff
Beer cheese spread & pretzel bread at the National
Because a good, chewy pretzel makes one pine for dippy cheese and beer, the pretzel bread at the National is served with a beer and cheese spread (similar to fondue) as well as the requisite pickle and mustard — perfect for beertime snacking.
The National, 341 10th Ave. S.W., 403-234-9078 or 550 17th Ave. S.W., 403-229-0226, @ntnl17