BERLIN: Sausages on the menu, sausage motifs on the wallpaper, sausage mobiles hanging from the ceiling — and to top it off, a sausage-shaped pillow on your bed.
What sounds like a vegetarian’s nightmare is the audacious dream come true of Claus Boebel, a fourth-generation butcher and proprietor of what he calls the world’s first and only sausage-themed hotel.
Located in a tidy village, a 40-minute drive south of the German city of Nuremberg, the Bratwurst Hotel has done brisk business since its opening in September, with guests from across Europe and overseas popping in for a visit.
In a slope-roofed stone house, the inn with seven rooms and two conference spaces caters to foodies and tourists looking for a splash of local colour.
Behind the quirky initiative is a Hail Mary bid to keep alive the local butcher’s shop — an institution in most towns that was once a pillar of Germany’s “Mittelstand” economy of small and medium-sized businesses — in the face of big-box store competition and slacking meat consumption.
“I want to show that small craftsman shops like mine can survive when you have clever ideas,” said Boebel, seated on a stool shaped like a tin of minced sausage.
“Plus I love life here in the countryside and, rather than leave, want to draw customers here to Rittersbach,” population 300, he added.
The Boebel family has produced and sold meats here since the 19th century.
But Sunday roasts, big multi-generational meals at home and a heavily carnivorous diet are fading from German life, with meat consumption down eight percent since 1991.
And despite a slight increase of late in food spending in Germany, to around 10.6 percent of monthly household expenditure, the people of France (13.2 percent) and Italy (14.2 percent) still fork out significantly more.
Thus family businesses that pride themselves on quality produce often need to get creative to bring in the punters.