The History of the Pretzel for Free!

By Michelle Plummer

I have long been amazed by the shape, texture and taste of pretzels.  From soft oven baked to crispy twists that travel well as a nutritious snack, we are unsure of the exact origin of the pretzel.  Pretzels have a great folklore from some believing they are hugs from God, a child’s arms folded in prayer or a stand to set hard boiled eggs for an Easter egg hunt.

As early as 610AD at a monastery somewhere in Southern France or Northern Italy, where monks used scraps of dough and formed them into strips to represent a child’s arms folded in prayer. The three empty holes represented the Christian Trinity.

The monks offered the warm, doughy bribe to children who had memorized their Bible verses and prayers. The monks called it a Pretiola, Latin for little reward. From there, the pretzel transformed into the Italian word, Brachiola, which means little arms.

The Pretiola journeyed beyond the French and Italian wine regions, hiked the Alps, wandered through Austria, and crossed into Germany, where it became known as the Bretzel or Pretzel.

In medieval times merchants traveling to the Frankfurt Fair risked being robbed by bandits. In order to guard the tradesmen, the towns’ people would ride out, greet the vendors and offer them pewter pitchers of wine and loads of crisp dough on their spears, called Geleit-pretzels.

One of my very favorite pretzels to make is a Chocolate Dough. It has the flavor of chocolate, the twists and turns of pretzels, topped with sanding sugar for a bit of sweet and still is a great nutritious snack without the hesitation of being fried or too sugary!

I know that many of you are traditionalist and like the sourdough or crisp baked pretzels that are salty and tasty to a point.  But just like chips, pretzels are delicious with a dollop of dip or smear of cheese.  Grab a bag, a couple of ingredients listed here and enjoy your favorite sport or activity! Remember, pretzels are still a healthful snack even with the extra dip!

If making pretzels aren’t your deal, find your favorite location of Pretzelmaker®/Pretzel Time® for  Free Pretzel on April 26! Again this year Pretzelmaker®/Pretzel Time®  will host a day-long National Pretzel Day celebration on April 26 at participating stores across the country. This year the company is putting a new “twist” on the holiday by asking customers to “Sing for Your Snack.”

To mark this festive day, customers are encouraged to visit their local Pretzelmaker on National Pretzel Day, sing a snippet from a song of their choice and receive a FREE pretzel(with or without salt). Patrons who prefer not to sing won’t go hungry – they can simply mention “National Pretzel Day” and receive their free snack.

Read more: Free Pretzel April 26

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