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As FIFA’s soccer World Cup continues to captivate what seems to be the entire planet, Milwaukee quietly got a World Cup of its own.
Last Friday, the Old Germantown Sausage World Cup launched at the farmhouse brewery, restaurant and sausage-maker, W148N12696 Pleasant View Dr, in Germantown, pitting 16 sausage recipes from the around the globe in a cup-style playoff.
Bracket A is taking place this week and Bracket B will follow next week, says owner and sausage maker Scott Sommer. All of the sausages are made at Old Germantown.
“There's only eight sausages (per bracket) that we think you can eat at a time, says Sommer. “Then you'll decide which ones you think are the ones that will go into the final four.”
Each eight-sausage bracket platter is $30, though you can also order a two-sausage matchup if you prefer.
Later, Sommer is thinking he will also offer the entire 16-sausage platter.
If the event is a fun taste – and perhaps endurance – challenge for diners, making the sausages was a fun challenge for Sommer, too.
“A few of the sausages are brand new to us but they are quite fun to make, and even more fun for those who are adventurous to try something quite different from our Wisconsin staples,” he says.
Bracket A includes rookwurst from the Netherlands, Argentine chorizo, Australian snag, Croatian cevapi, Japanese tsukune, Korean BBQ with gochujang and linguica from Brazil, alongside American andouille.
“We chose andouille as the representative of the United States, because we feel that sausage comes from a part of America that has the most distinct culinary attitude in our nation,” Sommer says.
“They may have taken a sausage that was French named as andouille, but they spun it in their own sausage.
“Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂThe sausages that were a bit of a stretch come from Japan and Morocco. And quite honestly, I've also taken some liberty on Japan, because I think the only sausage that I've ever heard of is a seafood sausage in Japan.”
So, Sommer improvised and created a sausage that’s a riff on a Japanese dish that’s more of a meatball and put it in a casing.
“I'm certain there will be some culinary experts from Japan saying, ‘Never heard of this,’ but we took the liberty, because we were not going to have no entry for any country.”
This one is made of mushrooms and mirin and, Sommer says, it’s been a hit.
“If it's not the leader, it's in second place at the moment.”
The sausages representing Morocco and Senegal respect the dietary restrictions of many in those countries by avoiding pork.
Sommer created a merguez to represent Morocco and went with a chicken sausage for Senegal that’s a riff on traditional Senegalese comfort food.
I did Bracket A this weekend with another person and we had a blast comparing and contrasting and we each completed a bracket (you can see mine here) and are planning to get back to do Bracket B next week.
We also sampled the great egg nog pie and the spiced Christmas ale that Sommer has on tap this holiday season, plus we brought home some sausage, too. Because eight sausages is a lot even for two people, though Sommer says a few diners have finished the entire thing by themselves.
“It'll go on through the end of the World Cup,” he says. “So definitely the next two weeks. You'll have the opportunity to do each bracket this week and next week, but then after that we'll have the opportunity to step in and get caught up if you haven't done that.
“Maybe at the championship game we’ll have a watch party and you can have all 60. I think the whole platter is the adventure. We (adults) have always been forcing the traditional sausages that we grew up on, and we may have Old Germantown in our name, but this (diversity) is the future of sausage.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.