Berlin west, neighbourhood of Charlottenburg, September 4th 1949. Herta Heuwer misses her Imbiss, little bar to eat a quick bite. It is pouring rain, and the client is rare. To pass time, she imagines a new recipe. She mixes tomato purée with several spices, adds a few drops of the famous English Worcestershire sauce with which she coats a pork sausage that is fried in slices and sprinkles all of it with curry powder. She tastes it…and finds it absolutely edible.
The Currywurst is born and very quickly the citizens of Berlin queue to taste this new creation. Beyond her dreams the success is immediate. In 1959, she protects her invention with the Munich Patent Office under the name « Chillup », word inspired from « chilli » and « ketchup », and names her shop: « First Currywurst rotisserie in the world ».
In 1963, Friedhelm Selbach, a craftsman’s son from Radevormwald, invents a machine that will revolutionalize the daily tasks of a sausage vendor: the Currywurst cutting machine. Equipped with a rotary blade, she reminds one of the meat mincer.
Since, the Currywurt has become a true institution in all of Germany. We eat it standing up, at all street corners and at what ever time of the day, served in a carton container with corrugated sides to fit perfectly in ones hand. The other hand is used to eat the small sausage slices with a little wooden or plastic fork. Served with fries or with a little white bread, the « real » curry sausage must be prepared without skin and fried (and not grilled as some say).
One of its most famous fans is the former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder that dared to serve it to its official guests during his mandates. In Germany, 800 millions of Currywurst are eaten each year (including 70 million in Berlin), that is 1500 per minute ! It is today’s German culinary specialty the most renown in the world, and is exported in numerous metropolises, excepting Paris for now.
With such a success story, what was to happen happened: a museum dedicated to this cured meat specialty in its sixties, which opened its doors on August 15th 2009 in Berlin. It is called the Deutsches Currywurst Museum ( www.currywurstmuseum.com ), located two steps from Checkpoint Charlie. In an interactive and ludic decor, the visitor is invited to roam through very saucy landscapes, penetrates through an Imbiss and lets himself go to the sound of the famous singer Herbert Grönemeyer praising the Currywurst, with a ketchup bottle for a microphone. Herta Heuwer is not forgotten; her memory is also evoked.
Actually since 2003, a commemorative plaque in her honour indicates the location of the « First Currywurst rotisserie in the world », where is now built the n°101 of Kant street.
Located at 31 Richelieu Street in Paris, Le Stube opens its doors in April 2010. The Currywurst is offered in a pure beef and poached version, low in fat, coated with a vegetable base sauce slightly spiced and sprinkled with curry. She is served with salt-crusted potatoes cooked in the oven or of a Kartoffelsalat. A Parisian-style Currywurst!