In Melbourne, a city full of food and obsessed by coffee, I cook, I eat, I share the good news and the bad. essjay eats

Fritz and childhood memories

Fritz Banner

Sights, sounds and tastes from childhood can seem so ephemeral, but appear to be hard wired. Since my mother’s death some 9 months ago a few things have bubbled up to my heart and head and set me to thinking about how the past influences the past – and the future.

If you grew up in South Australia you will surely remember visiting the butcher and being given a slice of Fritz as a treat.  Quite transparently a way for the butchers to charm the mothers (ahh the things that we have left by the wayside) to ensure return business *grin*.

There are many stories about the origins of Fritz, but the most enduring one is that it is “just the same as devon or luncheon sausage”.  Now understand, it fills the same niche, Fritz and tomato sauce sandwiches being a staple in the lunchbox in the 70s and 80s (and possibly still now?), but Fritz is definiately NOT luncheon meat, or Pariser, or Balony* or Devon, or Windsor.

My mum used to say that all sausage like this across Australian was know as Bavarian, or German sausage; but only in South Australia,with it’s strong German immigrant population, did the German link stay on following the wars.

We were occasionally allowed to have Fritz sandwiches, and sometimes Dad would fry thick slices cut off the “bung” as part of Sunday breakfast, and there was the visits to the butcher. But be warned, Fritz bought in a log – or “bung” – is a very different beast from what was available pre-sliced at the deli counter in the supermarket (though that is still much better in flavour than Devon!). The bung actually refers to the part of the large intestine used for the casing – you’ll see it’s much thicker than a normal sausage.


So, when I was visiting the new-ish Bezela Free Range Deli in Carlton the other day, I noticed that a lot of their small goods come from Barossa Fine Foods, and eventually the fact that they Barossa is in South Australia finally wormed its way into my brain. I think I may have looked a bit rabid at this stage but I had to know …. can you get Fritz? Obviously used to childhood smallgood memories, Jess behind the counter pulled out her iPhone and googled. Yes they have Fritz, it came as a kilo “bung” – did I her to order me some?  Did I!  Holy moly I sure did!

So today, I picked up my kilo of Fritz.  I left some with Jess to entice others to join the revolution, got some sliced to give away to friends and fellow South Australians, and will chop up the rest for the freezer.

I didn’t open the packet as soon as I left, but it sure was open before I got home. I could smell the nutmeggy, garlicky, porky goodness!  A slice took me back a few decades instantly. Now that I’m older I’m sure it’s the mace that really makes this sausage.

Oh – and I’ll have at least one Fritz and tomato sauce sandwich on white bread!

So happy to have my food memories re-stoked

Oh – and Fritz is NOT Devon.

Have you tried Fritz? what food transports you right back to your childhood?

LINKS: Simon from The Cook and The Chef’s recipe for Fritz

* yep Baloney – the way they spell at the Deli counters in supermarkets not Bologna as it is more properly spelled.


19 thoughts on “Fritz and childhood memories

  • Hi Andrew, somehow I just seemed to *know* that mace was in there somewhere.

    Thanks for sharing – can’t wait to try it.

    Barossa Foods do have stockists in NSW though if you’re a bit over making your own ever.

    Like Bezela – I reckon they’d order you in a bung special!


    Comment from: essjayeats

  • Hi,
    Did check Barossa Fine Foods – wont ship to NSW.

    400 grams lean beef
    400 grams lean pork.
    200 grams of pork fat – I use bacon fat. Dont leave this out thinking you will make it healthier – it wont work. you will end up with mince meat that falls to pieces
    20 grams salt
    5 grams white pepper
    1 gram Mace
    125 mls water
    2 grams of “cutter phosphate” I get this from the local butcher that makes his own sausages
    few drops of liquid smoke – can be left out

    Mince the pork, beef and fat and then add the seasoning. I mix it in the Kenwood with the K beater until it changes from mince meat to sausage meat

    After it changes I fry a bit in the frypan to test the seasoning and add more if required and re-mix

    Put it into a casing or you could cook it wrapped in gladwrap providing its sealed well. I had thought of a zip lock bag. Cook in water at 80 Deg C until internal temp reaches 69 deg C. Cool quickly in Ice water

    Comment from: Andrew

  • Andrew, feel like sharing the recipe? But if you ever get really home sick – Barossa Fine Foods will probably ship 🙂

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • Fritz, Fritz, Fritz,

    One of the main things I miss after moving away from the Barossa 25 years ago. So much so that I now make my my own. I even have a butcher in the Barossa that supplies me the sheep bung. Its not perfect, but is far closer than the Devon (which I have never been able to bring myself to eat) you get in NSW

    Comment from: Andrew

  • You may be interested to know that fritz was named after Fritz Conquest, who, like his father, was a butcher. Their shop was in Princes Road, Mitcham. According to Fritz Conquest’s 90 year old daughter, who still lives in Mitcham, her grandfather Conquest had a competition between his two sons, Fritz and Stanley, to see who could make the best meat loaf. According to their father, Fritz made the best meat loaf and his father consequently named it after him.

    Comment from: Lesley

  • But the cheeks are the best bit of a pig! I’ve eaten just about every part of a pig, except ummm… hmmm… actually – I’ve probably eaten everybit in some way.

    And actually, sphincter muscles, or the Pope’s Eye is pretty tasty cut of meat as well if you cook it properly.

    I suspect Devon is made from soy protein and flavourings.

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • I remember reading that no part of a pig is wasted and the lips and anuses are used for frankfurters, as in hot dogs.

    If this is true, what part of the beast is that horrible, tasteless meat called devon made from?

    Comment from: John

  • I have eaten Fritz all my life … in my 60 years the best was made by Noske’s Butchers at Lobethal by Alwyn and Sissy Noske.
    As a kid, I was told that the butcher in Lobethal in the late 1800s was called Fritz Eisenberg and his sausage was very popular and remains so… This may or may not be true, but I do like the story.

    Comment from: Anthony Fox

  • I’ll let you in on a secret … Piedmontes supermarket in North Fitzroy stocks real YoYos – just between us :/)

    But I can’t find Woody’s lemonade – will have to bring back a boot-load soon.

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • Hi Essjay!

    We have just discovered this blog post, thank you for linking back to us. Annie’s (the new girl) fiancee Mick is from Elizabeth and is smitten with the Barossa Fine Food’s Fritz. A week ago Annie would have even been able to share some Yoyo’s (the real ones!) with you, but Mick and his family of SA expats have demolished them.

    Hope to see you soon,
    The Bezela Crew

    Comment from: Annie & Jess from Bezela

  • Sounds a bit fancy Malissa! I think Mum used to mash up sardines in tomato sauce onto toast for Dad for Sunday lunch. I was never a big fan! (I’ll drop you down some Fritz during the week).

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • Mum would drain a tin of sardines, mash them up with finely chopped onion and red capsicum and we would have it on hot buttery toast for lunch. It is all the contrasts: hot and cold, soft and crunchy, sweet and salty.

    Comment from: Malissa

  • Injera: More Fritz converts! I bought a half loaf of Tip Top white bread specially…. (how sad). If I was being a purist I’d suggest Woody’s Lemonade as a beverage match, and a YoYo biscuit for afters. (No – not the YoYos you get here!)

    I think it’s a bit of a shame that all the different state-by-state variations that used to exist are now just memories. Gingernut biscuits were different in QLD – thinner and darker – than they are here. Not anymore. Wonder if XXXX tastes like VB these days?

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • Thank you for bringing Fritz into my life!

    Now there will be people telling stories of how, when they were working at a farmers’ market, a lovely woman would come along and give them a slice of Fritz as a treat…

    I never had anything like that growing up. Our sandwiches were always Stras, which I remember as being quite different; more meat-and-fat in distinct parts, rather than as finely blended as with this. Am about to have some for lunch. Wish I had remembered to buy tomato sauce.

    Comment from: Injera

  • Thanks Elizabeth – we missed your pork today! See you at Collingwood.

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • What a lovely story!

    Comment from: elizabeth

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by benandwine, Suzanne Farrell. Suzanne Farrell said: Just Blogged: Fritz is NOT Devon ping @bezelafoodstore […]

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  • There are *many* stories as to the origin of the name Polyxena – but most consistent is that it was the name of the butcher who made great german sausage – and it was easier for South Australians who weren’t German to call it “Fritz”. It’s the spices that make it unique, and not Devon!

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • No I haven’t knowingly eaten Fritz but at least now I know what you have been talking avout and where to get some. I assume that name Fritz or fritz simply refers to German origin?

    Comment from: Polyxena

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