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Slices of liverwurst
Liverwurst, boiled and smoked

Liverwurst, leberwurst, or liver sausage is a kind of sausage made from liver. It is eaten throughout Europe, as well as North and South America, notably in Argentina and Chile.

Some liverwurst varieties are spreadable. Liverwurst usually contains pigs' or calves' liver. Other ingredients are meat (notably veal), fat, and spices including ground black pepper, marjoram, allspice, thyme, ground mustard seed, and nutmeg. Many regions in Germany have distinct recipes for liverwurst. Adding ingredients like pieces of onion or bacon to the recipe make each variety of liverwurst very important to cultural identity. For example, the Thüringer Leberwurst (Thuringian liverwurst) has a Protected Geographical Status throughout the EU. Recently, more exotic additions such as cowberries and mushrooms have gained popularity.


The word liverwurst is a partial calque of German Leberwurst (pronounced [ˈleːbɐˌvʊʁst] ) 'liver sausage', and 'liver sausage', a full calque.[1]

A fourteenth century mention in Latin however uses the term "liverworsted":[2] "Hec fercula dari solent magna sulta, porrum, pulli, farti seu repleti, ferina apri, carnes piperis, XII tybie gesenghet, XII pulli in suffene seu sorbicio, liverworsted gherostet, assaturam, magnas carnes, oblatas et crumbrod."


Liverwurst from the Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany

In some parts of Germany, liverwurst is served sliced on a plate, often with mustard or pickled cucumber. It is most commonly eaten spread on bread, as it is very soft.

In the Netherlands, liverwurst (Dutch: leverworst) is customarily served in slices, often with mustard. Groningen and The Hague are known for their own types of liverwurst: Groninger leverworst in Groningen and Haagse leverworst from The Hague.

In Hungary, liverwurst is customarily served on open sandwiches, or with cheese as a filling for pancakes which are baked in the oven.

In Romania, liverwurst is called lebărvurst, lebăr, or cârnat de ficat.[3] Unlike the German sausage Leberwurst that uses beef, the lebăr uses only pork.

Lebăr is eaten mainly for the winter holidays. It tastes fragrant and sweet with liver pâté. It is generally used as Christmas Eve dinner, sliced on bread with mustard and murături.[4]

Liverwurst is typically eaten as is, and often served as traditional or as open-faced sandwiches. It is popular in North America with red onion and mustard on rye or whole grain bread. In the Southern and Midwestern US, liverwurst is served with slices of sweet pickles (gherkins pickled with vinegar, sugar, and mustard seeds). In the Northeast US, liverwurst is served with dill pickles (gherkins pickled with vinegar, salt, and dill).

In the Midwestern US, liverwurst is also known as liver sausage. If smoked, it is known as braunschweiger. Liverwurst is typically served on crackers or in sandwiches. It is often sold pre-sliced.

The Polish pasztetowa is made using calf's liver. It is often served on rye bread with horseradish-style mustard. Pasztetowa is popular throughout the year, but is most frequently served at Christmas and Easter.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "liverwurst". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  2. ^ Konrad von Furstenthal; Friedrich Johann Anton von Gonzenbach (1853). "Aufzeichnung über die Güter und Einkünfte des Domkapitels". Urkundenbuch der Abtei Sanct Gallen: Vom Jahre 821-1200. Huber & Co. p. 1068.
  3. ^ "Bon appétit !". Bucarest hebdo (in French). Archived from the original on 2016-10-27. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  4. ^ "Lebarvurst". Ele (in Romanian). Archived from the original on 2010-11-09.