Back to Eindhoven from A to Z

Eindhoven from A to Z: Worstenbroodjes

As true Brabantians, we get excited about the simplest things. Sausages in a bun, for example. Together, we consume around 25 million of them per year. If you've been in Brabant for more than a week, we don't need to explain to you why the "W" stands for Worstenbroodje. Don't worry if you're new in town, we'll get you right up to speed. Either way, sit back, grab a worstenbroodje and enjoy some amazing facts about our beloved snack.

For readers who are new to the region, let's start with a crash course. What exactly is a worstenbroodje? Originally, a worstenbroodje is nothing more than a sausage made of minced pork with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg in a bread roll made of yeast dough. Don't confuse it with the ‘saucijzenbroodje’ or sausage roll, which is a sausage in puff pastry. Thanks to the arrival of exciting spices, you'll often find mace, ginger powder, onion powder, coriander, and clove in the sausage nowadays. And that sausage is no longer always made of pork. Half-and-half, vegan, or halal with lamb: the good old worstenbroodje has taken on many forms by now.

In West-Brabant, the ends of the worstenbroodjes are open, while the Oost-Brabanders seal their worstenbroodjes. A sealed end is better for shelf life, but with an open end, you don't get that doughy bite at the beginning and end. There's something to be said for both!

The origin of this brilliant snack

No one knows exactly when the very first worstenbroodje was made. However, we have an idea of why someone came up with this ingenious invention: if you bake minced pork in dough, it lasts longer and is easy take with you for lunch. During tougher times when meat was scarce, it was also a perfect way to hide offal. Spice it up, roll it into a sausage, wrap some dough around it, and enjoy.

Traditional worstenbrood moments

In the early 20th century, the worstenbroodje deeply rooted itself in Brabantian traditions. It was mostly consumed during special occasions. After midnight Mass at Christmas and during Carnival, for example. It was also a beloved snack at weddings and funerals, an indispensable part of the Brabantian coffee table. Nowadays, we eat it whenever we feel like it, but bakers still see a peak in sales around the holidays.

Houben Worstenbrood
Houben Worstenbrood

Worldwide recognition

Since 2016, the Brabantian worstenbroodje proudly graces the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage, alongside the Groninger eierbal (similar to a Scotch egg), Twentse krentewegge (raisin bread), and oliebollen (sweet fried dough balls) from bakery stalls. As you might have guessed, that greatly boosted our provincial pride. 

The tastiest Brabantian worstenbroodje

With a province bursting with enthusiastic worstenbroodje bakers, it's no surprise that there are plenty of worstenbroodje competitions. The foundation 'Het Lekkerste Brabantse Worstenbroodje' (the tastiest Brabantian worstenbroodje) organizes the annual competition of the same name. Vocational students from all over North Brabant participate, as well as hundreds of enthusiastic homebakers. A jury of mystery shoppers also chooses the best professional baker every year.

Want to sink your teeth into such a delicious worstenbroodje?

You won't have to look far. Walk into any bakery, and you'll definitely find worstenbroodjes. Do you have specific dietary preferences or refined taste buds? Then, pay a visit to Houben. There, you'll find vegan and halal worstenbroodjes, as well as worstenbroodjes developed in collaboration with Michelin-star chefs. Quite fancy! Bart Houben tells you all about it in this interview. Enjoy!

Eindhoven from A to Z

Curious about what defines Eindhoven? We asked newcomers, enthusiastic visitors, and locals alike. The outcome? The ultimate Eindhoven alphabet – from Area 51 to the Z of 'Zachte G'. No idea what that means? We'll tell you all about it! 

Discover the Eindhoven alphabet