Maultaschen – The "Little Ones Who Cheat the Lord"

A Swabian Regional Specialty similar to the Ravioli:

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Maultaschen © Tourism Marketing Baden-Württemberg

One of the most famous regional specialties you will come across on your travels in the state of Baden-Württemberg is the Maultaschen. This Swabian specialty is rather similar to ravioli, but are a little bigger in size.

The Maultaschen are filled with meat and spinach and are traditionally served in a broth (“in der Brühe”) or can be eaten either baked in butter and sprinkled with boiled egg (geröstet) or with onions fried in bacon fat (geschmälzt).

The Baden-Württembergers joke about the Maultaschen – some saying that they are like the people here: “nothing to write home about outwardly, but precious inside”.  But what amused me about this dish is the legend behind its creation.

Believe It, Believe It Not

Legend has it that Maultaschen were invented during Lent in the Maulbronn Abbey. To get around their obligation to abstain from meat, the monks conceived the idea of covering meat with pasta dough believing that God could not see the meat under cover of the dough. They chopped the meat up finely and to camouflage it further, they mixed it with spinach and herbs. This dish has the humorous nickname of Herrgottsbscheißerle which roughly translates to “little ones who cheat the Lord”.

“Schwäbische Maultaschen” has been recognized as a regional specialty by the Gazette of the European Communities. This means that genuine Maultaschen have to be produced in Swabia, Baden-Württemberg, or the Swabian speaking areas of Bavaria.

So next time you travel in the Baden-Württemberg region, be sure to try these “little ones who cheat the Lord”, but hopefully not at Lent.

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