Today, and every April 26th, the nation celebrates the absolute best on-the-go snack, the soft pretzel. This twisted treat is sold on practically every street corner of Manhattan, Philadelphia, and Chicago, is seen by many as the greatest food ever invented while drinking, and really, who goes to a baseball game and doesn’t buy a pretzel? Whether you enjoy savory or sweet, salty or buttery, stuffed with meats, cheeses, or vegetables there’s a pretzel with your name on it.
The origins of the pretzel aren’t necessarily clear but the general consensus is that the pretzel is centuries old with different variations and names throughout Europe. The first bakers of the pretzel were most likely Christian monks around 610 AD due to the theory that the pretzel resembles hands folded in prayer. Another theory of the pretzel’s origin is based on the bread being similar in design and shape of the pre-Christian symbol, the sun cross. Most commonly, the pretzel has become widely associated with Germany’s Bavaria region and Oktoberfest celebrations where visitors enjoy pretzels as large as their heads along with their beer steins full of fine Bavarian brew. In Bavaria, located in southern Germany, the brezel has long been associated with German bakers and were incorporated into the crest of baking guilds as early as the twelfth century.