Twists and Turns: The History of The Pretzel

April 10, 2018

To many, the pretzel is just a salty snack to be enjoyed at any outdoor event, but did you know that the history of the pretzel actually goes back more than a thousand years?

Believe it or not, it all started with some Catholic monks who enjoyed baking!?!

Bracellae and Bretzels: The First Pretzels

Back in the early seventh century, when the Catholic Church was integral to daily life in much of Europe, it is said that a few Italian monks kicked off what would become a long history of pretzel-making (and eating!) when they began baking soft, bready treats of twisted dough for their young students.

Twisted into what looked like crossed arms, the dough was not only a delicious delight, but it also symbolized the Trinity with each of the three holes representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Moreover, these doughy treats were the perfect snack when the monks would end their fast. Pretzels were also looked upon favorably by many who had eating restrictions, as they did not contain eggs, meat, or dairy. Over time, pretzels spread throughout Europe and became associated with prosperity, a long life, good luck, and happiness.

The original name for pretzels, bracellae, means “little arms” in Latin. From this, some say that Germans who began making pretzels adapted the name to bretzel. Others believe that the German nickname pretiola (“little reward”) was given to the treats, thus beginning the name evolution that would lead to pretzel.

Later in the 17th century, the twisted arms of the pretzel began to mean something else as well: Undying love. In Switzerland, it is even said that couples who were getting married used pretzels when they “tied the knot” during their wedding ceremonies. Pretzels were also said to be taken on the Mayflower to the New World in the 1600s.

Pretzels Today: How They’re Eaten Around the World

Pretzels have certainly made their way around the world since their time as gifts from monks. Here are just some of the ways that other cultures enjoy these delicious treats:

  • Finland: Viipurinrinkeli 

Instead of rock pretzel salt, the Finnish viipurinrinkeli are topped with two spices: nutmeg and cardamom — a more sweet than salty flavor.

  • Luxembourg: Pretzel

“Pretzel Sunday” is a popular tradition in the tiny country of Luxembourg wherein men present large, pretzel-shaped cakes to their valentines on the fourth weekend of Lent.

  • Japan: Pretz

If you’ve ever had a Pocky stick, Pretz is essentially Pocky without the coating. Instead, each stick is covered in a seasoning, somewhat similar to the classic taste of pretzels. But there are tons of different flavors, plus three available sizes: Giant, Regular, and Kids!

  • Switzerland: Butterbrezel

Looking very much like the large soft pretzels we enjoy in Canada today, the butterbrezel is essentially a classic soft pretzel that is sliced through middle and filled with butter. What’s not to like?

Pretzel Dips and Condiments

Dips anyone? Here are the condiments most commonly (or uncommonly) eaten with pretzels:

Common Dips & Condiments

  • Plain or Spicy Mustard
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar
  • Caramel

Rather Uncommon Dips & Condiments

  • Tikka Masala (popular in India)
  • Butter (popular in Switzerland)
  • Marzipan (popular in Denmark and Germany)
  • Almonds and Sugar (popular in Luxembourg)
  • Yogurt (popular in the North America)
  • Twix inside the pretzel! (popular in the U.K)

Enjoy National Pretzel Day!

This Thursday, April 26th is National Pretzel Day! And if you’re looking for a way to celebrate with your office, reward your staff for their hard work, or deliver a killer treat at your corporate event, what better way to celebrate than with actual pretzels!?

Pop Events offers several ways to celebrate National Pretzel Day with style, class, and delicious flavor in your office:

– Giant Pretzels at the Large Pretzel Station

Rent our large pretzel station and allow your staff or event guests to partake in delicious, warm-out-of-the-oven pretzels with tons of topping options. Perfect as a prize at team building events or as a surprise at corporate events, our station comes fully-equipped with a variety of toppings like sea salt, sugar, and chocolate!

– The Sweet and Savory Station

Present a little salt and sweetness to your staff or event guests with our popular Sweet and Savory Station! Salty treats like pretzels, potato chips, and popcorn can be served up alongside deliciously sweet, creamy milk chocolate, drizzled all over! It’s the perfect combination of salty and sugary goodness. You’ll be hooked!

Contact Pop Events for All Your Event Planning Needs

Planning corporate events and team building events isn’t easy! DIY event planning solutions rarely achieve the same quality results as corporate events planned by professional corporate event planners in Toronto.

Looking to work with some of the best event planners Toronto has to offer? Pop Events is your go-to solution! Not only are we seasoned in company event planning of all kinds, we’re prepared with exactly the products and services you need to put on an excellent team building event, awards ceremony, holiday celebration, or any other event you want to throw. We’ll do it all — from concept and ideas to scheduling caterers, delivering food stations, and providing props and decorations to give your event that special added touch! No request is too big for our company event planning team!

To learn more about our Pretzel Day rental options and other event planning products and resources we provide, contact us today or feel free to request a quote at your convenience!