Do you ever find yourself biting into a delicious slice of German sausage and wondering, ‘Where did you come from you beautiful stick of meat?’ Don’t worry; you’re not the only one who’s experienced this existential concern. It’s certainly something worth considering because the answer is actually quite interesting. In fact, we owe the pleasure of these delicious meats to a community of people who came to our country as refugees on boats.
We sniffed out a sausage company in Australia who can trace its roots all the way back to Germany and came up with Continental Kosher Butcher which is based in Melbourne. As the name implies, the company was founded by German Jewish immigrants who came to seek refuge in Australia. After WW2, approximately 8,000 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia arrived in Australia. Melbourne’s Jewish community in fact has the highest percentage of Holocaust survivors of any Jewish community in the world. It is this thriving Jewish community based in Melbourne to which we owe the pleasure of eating authentic German wurst on our humble Australian shores.
The founder of Continental, Heinz Gluecksman came to Australia, as a refugee and brought with him some delicious recipes and unique know-how. Continental’s roots lie in Carlton, where Heinz Gluecksman and Benny Goldfarb worked as indentured butchers during World War II at Batagol Bros & Co in North Carlton. I’m not sure if I’m just ignorant of historical vocabulary but I definitely didn’t know what indentured meant without googling it. So to save you the trouble of doing the same, I’ll tell you that it was a system where immigrants worked as slaves for a fixed number of years and were then free to work on their own. Yep, we have a long and shameful history of mistreating our refugees, but these men were luckier than our present day refugees because instead of being imprisoned indefinitely, they were soon able to start their own business. They established their store, Continental Kosher Butchers on St Kilda Road in 1945.
We’re pretty lucky to have such a rich and diverse cultural mix here in Australia as it means we ultimately have the opportunity to eat real quality German wurst rather than a watered down imitation. The company still keeps up its strict quality controls and remains loyal to its history. A prime example of this is that the managing director Stephen Lewis personally gets up at one thirty every morning in order to inspect the meat delivery to make sure it’s up to scratch. If getting up at an ungodly hour to inspect raw meat isn’t true passion then I don’t know what is.
The company is extremely proud of its refugee history and authentic traditional methods and recipes. The brisket, garlic wurst and the frankfurters have stood the test of time, are still made from the original recipe, and remain among Continental’s most popular products. Their traditional garlic wurst carries a photo of the Jewish refugee, Heinz Gluecksman, who brought the recipe with him from Germany which is still used today. The Jewish community has been enjoying this trademark wurst for generations, but as Australians have become more interested in foreign foods, we’ve come to love it too.
Food is just one of the areas in which our refugees contribute to our nation’s prosperity and cultural richness, but it’s definitely an area worth contemplating and appreciating. So the next time you sink your teeth into a perfectly seasoned garlic wurst, bratwurst, chickenwurst, brisket or liverwurst send a little thank you to the hardworking refugees who made it possible. And always make sure it’s authentic, because life’s too short not to eat the best wurst in town.
The team at I Ate My Way Through made a massive sacrifice for you all by sampling many many smallgoods so we could report back on our suggestions for the best Continental products. Our favourite product was the massive garlic wurst, which is pictured above. It was lightly salted, with a full bodied meaty taste and a subtle but delicious garlic flavour. Our runner up was the pepperoni which somehow managed to have the characteristic deliciousness of pepperoni whilst simultaneously giving a wholesome, natural and healthy impression. Both of these products tasted so authentic and devoid of any baddies that we felt very little guilt about pigging out on them all day.
Where to get it
Continental products are available at a variety of retailers including selected Coles and Woolworths
Click Here to see a list of retailers.
Continental Kosher Butchers
155 Glenferrie Road, Malvern VIC 3144.
Phone: (03) 9509 9822
Continental Kosher Butchers products were supplied for promotional consideration; as usual, all opinions are our own