Butchering is a dying job

Weltmeister-Metzger - Metzgerei in Langendorf has 20 different sausages - some of them with gold medals

Butcher in Langendorf has 20 different sausages - some with gold medals

The Swiss favorite grilled food is still a bratwurst. Anyone who is particularly familiar with this area is Remo Meier, owner of the Fischer butcher in Langendorf. "The largest selection of sausages in the region" can be read on a sales stand in front of his specialist shop on Ischimattstrasse.

In fact: if you add up the different types of bratwurst on the counter, you come to a whopping 20 different ones.

These include exotic sausages such as chocolate, whiskey, olive, pizza or apple sausage. But meat lovers will also find the normal farmer's sausage and veal sausage at the Fischer butcher's shop.

Remo Meier is a passionate butcher, in 2007 he took over the business together with his wife.

"The tinkering and trying out, the search for a new, fine sausage recipe spurs me and my employees on every day, and the customers appreciate this very much."

In the Fischer butcher's shop, slaughtering is no longer carried out - a butcher colleague from the neighboring village takes care of that - but the 12 employees are fully dedicated to all other work.

In addition to sausage making, there is also ham production and of course boning, dressing and the perfect storage and refinement of pieces of meat.

"There aren't many companies in the canton of Solothurn that still process the meat themselves to this extent," explains Meier. This requires the right infrastructure and machines on the one hand, and well-trained specialist staff on the other.

A dying profession?

You could say that the art of butchering is slowly but surely dying out, regrets Meier.

An indication of this is that in the entire canton of Solothurn, just two apprentices are completing a meat specialist training this year. Some time ago the Swiss Professional Association tried to adapt the apprenticeship “butcher” to the general social conditions.

"Today there are three professional areas for which you can be trained as a future meat specialist over a period of three years," explains Meier.

The «extraction» (professional slaughtering and boning), the «processing» (cutting, sausage, shop preparation) or the «finishing» (serving, production of catered products, cold plates, etc.).

For this purpose, a two-year basic training as a meat specialist is offered as well as a retail trade training. “We always ask ourselves how we can be more attractive. But what could be nicer than a lot of positive customer feedback every week? "

The butcher from Langendörfer is convinced that if you want to survive as a small business alongside major distributors, you need a lot of commitment and strict concentration on your core business.

“We learn every day that with top quality and professional service, the customer is ready to go on a longer shopping trip. In any case, Meier is satisfied with his current course of business, even if the barbecue season is making slow progress this summer.

“The European Football Championship helps,” he says. Part of his success is certainly the good location of his shop. And: “We still have a good mix of retailers in Langendorf. However, it is important to have cheap parking spaces. Parking spaces for the little ones too, not just for the grown-ups ».

Stumbling block bureaucracy

In addition to the tough competition from the major distributors, the excessive bureaucracy and the large number of regulations made life difficult for the smaller butchers, Remo Meier knows. There are some professional colleagues who gave up the business because of the many bureaucratic hurdles. But Meier also says that the traceability of the origin of the processed meat is important and correct, and he sums it up:

“Overall, animal husbandry in Switzerland is good. Nothing can happen to anyone who works seriously. Food legislation should serve food safety, not job creation in offices. The current consultation process for the new ordinance is 2500 pages long. Who else should see through that?

Grilling tips from the professional

How do you get your ideal grilled sausage? “As a rule, the sausages are grilled too hot. Start slowly with a lower temperature, only give the right color for the last two minutes. A pre-cooked sausage (veal sausage) needs about half as long grilling time as a raw one.

“If it's about to explode, it's good. The sausage must still have bite. If it is dry, it has been grilled too long, and this usually makes it too salty and floury. "

This information applies to charcoal or gas grills, informs the butcher. And one more thing: It is very important that the sausages are not preheated in hot water before roasting.

"People like to do this wherever a lot of sausages have to be fried at once". The sausages get warm, but they can hardly be browned afterwards and tend to get mushy. «You should take your time to grill a sausage. Then it works. "

Butcher Fischer wins gold several times

On the occasion of the leading international trade fair for meat processing (IFFA) in Frankfurt, the German Butchers Association (DFV) regularly organizes an international quality competition. The IFFA competition is considered the quality world championship for the butcher's trade. Participants include companies from all over the world. An international jury of more than one hundred and sixty qualified sensory experts needed four days to sample the entries. The jury evaluates all meat products according to their shape and texture, appearance, color, smell and taste. Remo Meier and his team have sent ten products to Frankfurt for assessment. Their six sausage products had to prove themselves with 1,800 other sausages, and the four types of ham danced with 420 other ham products over the palates of the sensory experts. The success of the products from the Fischer meat shop is unique in Switzerland and was even rewarded with an honorary cup in the overall ranking. "For us, such awards are an incentive and show us that we are on the right track," says Remo Meier. The meat specialist Fischer was able to take home nine gold medals and one bronze medal. The critical jury was enthusiastic about the exceptional quality of the farmer's bratwurst from Fischer. In addition, the veal and wild garlic bratwurst, cervelat and landjäger were all awarded gold. Among the ham products, the fine Jura ham, the model ham and the juicy ham received gold. Remo Meier is particularly proud of the gold award for his still young product, smoked chicken breast. (mgt / frb)