IN THE BERLIN BLUTWURSTMANUFAKTUR YOU WILL FIND THE BEST BLUTWURST IN EUROPE
Marcus Benser is not just a butcher, but a blutwurst knight. In 2004, his products were elevated to culinary noble heights by the French Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte-Boudin. Officially, this native of Weimar and seventh-generation butcher is considered a blutwurst knight. His butcher shop is situated in the Berlin area of Neukölln, it is a picturesque, welcoming shop as he describes. Visitors are often taken aback when entering the shop and see the artfully painted tiles, and those are not even the stars of the business on Karl-Marx-Platz, only supporting actors to the amazing blutwurst.
Blutwurst is also known as Blood Pudding or Blood Sausage.
You make the best in Europe: How did all this involvement with blutwurst come about?
Well, they have been a long tradition in Berlin, however, they originate from the French: The huguenots brought them over to Germany in the 17th century, and the butcher shop that we are standing in today, has been operating in Neukölln for the last 150 years. It’s well known, loved and has always had blutwurst. At the beginning of the industrial revolution, it was considered a poor person’s meal by the way. There was a competition back then for the best blutwurst in Mortagne-au-Perche, Normandy, and we won.
So, how do you make your blutwurst?
Our blutwurst is made from fresh ingredients, more specifically, a handful of blood, pork rind, pork belly, onions, salt, Thuringian marjoram and cloves from Zanzibar. There are no added chemicals or artificial fillers.
What obstacles do you face?
It was a sausage for really poor people in earlier times, but has since lost that stigma. From the end of the 1990’s it was rediscovered in practical terms. “Back to the roots”. It still has a niche existence, and one that resides with scraps. Colleagues of mine are still constantly bringing there collected scraps from cold kitchens as a tribute.
What sets your blutwurst above the rest in taste and what differentiates them from factory made products?
The traceability of the ingredients. You can taste and pull out each ingredient with every bite. It’s not difficult due to the amount of ingredients. You taste the blood, the pork rind, and the spices. We bring it together from a recipe we have been using for over 80 years. Even for the layman the ingredients are clearly understandable, and that surprises most. Our blutwurst is simply free from any enhancers.
The recipe from your grandfather hasn’t changed. Where does the blood come from?
That comes directly from the slaughterhouse. From the pigs that we recieve, the blood is collected in a sterile fashion in bags and delivered. It’s important that the blood is fresh, it can hold for two to three days as fresh. It is also an internal organ, and therefore very perishable.
Why is regionality so important?
It has become even more important. After the food scandals the last couple of years and some decades before, more and more, people ask: Where is this coming from? Who else had their hands on this product? The curious thing: throughout the scandal, nobody could be found who was responsible, nobody was held accountable. It is absurd that we import strawberries from China when we have the growing areas right here in Germany. A lot of people are asking to go back to the roots, to buy from the local bakeries, butcher shops and marmalade stands so we can strengthen our local economies. They ask: Where do the products come from? From who? I always say: I am the face behind the sausage.
What are the steps involved? How do you get blutwurst from blood?
The blood is first collected. In a large bowl goes a big amount of pigs blood. Then you mix it with freshly chopped onion and pre-cooked and chilled pork rind, they help give structure to the finished sausage. After that, warm pork belly is folded in, followed by salt, seasonings and the marjoram.
The kilo costs a surprisingly affordable €11,90: How do you calculate that price?
It ends up that way because we order our raw ingredients directly from the slaughterhouse. So those added savings can go into labor costs as we do everything ourselves. In addition, we own the building that houses the butcher shop so we don’t pay horrendous rent here.
You sell the legendary blutwurst not only in your shop but also other places!
We distribute our blutwurst through other resellers, including “Wurst und Schinken HAASE”. We also have have partners in cooperation such as Holsteiner Räucherkate. As far as regional restaurants, we deliver to the the restaurant “Alter Krug”, the “Brasserie Gendarmenmarkt” and the “Gaffel Haus”.
How did you find yourself in the Butcher profession?
Through my father. I have to add, I am the seventh generation master butcher. He was the 6th generation but didn’t really want to do it, he wanted to go into baking. He wanted his children to have regular working hours and a prestigious profession. So, I did an apprenticeship in a bank: It was absolutely no fun at all. Something has to have a beginning and an end for me. You don’t get that in a bank, you don’t see results from just the daily activities. In the end I couldn’t do another day. My father was so angry that I had to spend a whole year with him in this hard job. So I ended up doing my apprenticeship with my dad and realized: Wow, I love this. So that job turned into a profession.
Why are you still continuing? You once described it as outdated.
Well, you are independent, professionally and personally. You work from 6 in the morning until seven at night. It’s pretty hard but it’s also satisfying to split a pig in half at 6 in the morning, have blood sausage, bockwurst and bratwurst in the display in the afternoon, and in the evening a full cash register.
Are you curious about what the Blutwurstmanufaktur and blutwurst knight Marcus Benser have to offer? Interested in our award-winning blutwurst? Find more under: https://blutwurstmanufaktur.com/
In Rixdorf, a rural part of the Berlin suburb Neukölln, you can find the picturesque butcher and meat production shop of Marcus Benser. Since 1996 this master butcher has been providing award-winning blutwurst, other meat specialties and hot lunches (https://blutwurstmanufaktur.com/warme-braten.html) to gift baskets (https://blutwurstmanufaktur.com/geschenkkoerbe.html) and hearty snacks (https://blutwurstmanufaktur.com/spanferkel-und-laemmer.html). On top of that, this specialist shop offers catering and party services (https://blutwurstmanufaktur.com/kalte-platten.html). On the webshop you can find specialties to collect and order yourself (https://www.blutwurstmanufaktur.com/catalog/).