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Swiss House Shop – The Swiss “Landjäger”

Ever wonder why a Landjäger is called a Landjäger? Here a brief history of this famous Swiss sausage.

Swiss House Shop – The Swiss “Landjäger”
Landjäger is a semi-dried sausage traditionally made in Switzerland, southern Germany, Austria, and the Alsace, and its history can be traced back to the 19th century. It is popular as a snack food during activities such as hiking. It also has a history as soldier's food because it keeps without refrigeration and comes in single-meal portions. As a meal, Landjäger sausage can be boiled and served with potatoes and fresh greens. It is however most popular to eat it uncooked with bread or potato salad.

Well that’s all fine and dandy but where does the name come from? A long long time ago, a retired gentleman visited our school in Switzerland to introduce himself and his professional background – “I used to be a Landjäger”. It goes without saying that we all wondered what kind of job he was referring to and if this would be a career path to follow to become a bunch of dried sausages. Later on we learned that the Landjäger used to be a kind of mounted police in some provinces. But what does that have to do with the sausages?

According to the Swiss German Dictionary, the name Landjäger was possibly derived from the dialect expression “lang tige” (smoked for a long time, air-cured for a long time) and so has nothing to do with naming of the 'mounted police'. The French name for the smoked air-cured sausage, “Gendarme” is an apparent translations of the folk-etymologized German name "Land-Jäger" and is a direct, simplified, translation from the German, meaning "land hunter".

Landjäger sausages are made of roughly equal portions of beef and pork with lard, sugar, red wine, and spices. They are each 15–20 cm in length, made into links of two. Prior to smoking and drying, they are pressed into a mold, which gives them their characteristic rectangular cross-section of about 2 1⁄2 cm × 1 cm. Swiss House Shop imports the Landjäger from Grischuna in Switzerland fresh that can be enjoyed cut thin, with a slice of bread, some mustard, and of course a Swiss beer!

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