Maultaschen, a typical Swabian Dish

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Maultaschen instantly reminded me of an oversized Ravioli. Maybe there was an Italian influence? What I found out surprised me

There are different legends about the origin of the Maultaschen. One legend says the Cistercian monks of the Maulbronn Monastery, where the name Maultasche originates, wanted to hide the forbidden meat from God during Lent, which popularly led to the nickname “Herrgottsbscheißerle” (cheating on God)

Maulbronn Monastery, Baden Württemberg
Maulbronn Monastery, Baden Württemberg

A slightly modified legend said, it was Protestants who secretly added meat to the dumplings, which was originally only filled with herbs and spinach. The tradition in Swabian families goes well with the fact that “dumplings in the broth” is the typical dish on the Thursday before Good Friday or “Karfreitag”. The already made dumplings are also available the next day on Good Friday, in other possible ways of preparation. Toppings could be cheese, bacon and/or fried onions.

It is generally believed that the dumplings are a Swabian copy of the well-known Italian pasta, such as Ravioli. There are numerous areas in the Maulbronn area, where Waldensians, which is a group of Protestant religious refugees, arrived from northern Italy.

The Waldensians also introduced the mulberry tree, alfalfa, and tobacco cultivation, in addition to the potato in 1710 to southern Germany. This could make “Maultaschen” of Italian origin. The spinach filling also points to the Italian origin.

Regardless of the origin, these Maultaschen dumplings used to be considered a poor people’s dish, because meat, bread and vegetable leftovers could be processed in the filling, and thus offered a next day’s meal.

Maultaschen by BEA
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