The legend of the Pretzel
The Pretzel's Past
Our story begins in about 610 AD. The setting is a monastery somewhere in northern Italy or southern France. A monk toying with some strips of dough left over from bread making has a sudden inspiration. He takes the ends of the dough and twists them to resemble arms folded over the breast in prayer . The three holes stand for the Holy Trinity.
The monk then bakes the twisted dough strips and awards them to children who learn their prayers well. He calls his delicious discovery "pretiola," which means "little reward" in Latin.
Today, we call his discovery "pretzel" - which means a great snack in any language!
The popularity of the monk's invention grew rapidly, and soon the pretiola found its way into bakeries all over Europe. It became especially popular in Germany, Austria, and later into America where the pronunciation of pretiola somehow got twisted into its present form.
The pretzel achieved real fame in 1510 AD., when the Turks were trying to seize Vienna.
The legend goes that the city's pretzel bakers, preparing the next day's batch, heard the enemy tunneling late at night under the city walls. The bakers quickly gathered weapons, charged the Turks in the tunnels and annihilated them.
For their vigilance and valor, the Viennese king bestowed on the pretzel bakers a coat of arms depicting a lion holding a shield with the form of a pretzel in its center. This emblem still hangs outside every Austrian pretzel bakery.
...extracted from a box of Wege Pretzel Company (Hanover, PA)