Welcome to Week 2 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit the Schwaben Butchery on Joburg’s East Rand.
I sit at a wooden picnic table outside the Schwaben Butchery, in a nondescript shopping center in Edenvale. I ponder the mustard-slathered bratwurst on my plate. The mammoth sausage intimidates me.
The owner of a Jozi café — one of my favorite breakfast spots in town — walks past.
“Stocking up on supplies?” I call out as he walks through the butchery’s sliding doors.
“Bacon,” he replies, eyes gleaming. “This place sells the best bacon in town. It’s where pigs come to die.”
Crass as it sounds, I see what he means. This German butchery has more interesting meat products, and especially pork products, than I’ve ever seen before in a single place.
There are a fair number of Germans in South Africa, and Germans take their food seriously. I learned this last year when I visited the Black Forest Bakery, a German bakery in Braamfontein, with my German friend Fiver. During that visit Fiver schooled me on the joys of brezeln and osterbrot and the many German breads.
The visit to Black Forest was fantastic but my German culinary education wasn’t finished yet. To truly understand Germany’s relationship with food, I had to visit the Schwaben Butchery.
My First Visit to Schwaben Butchery
The East Rand, formally known as Ekurhuleni, is a loose collection of suburbs and towns on the eastern fringes of Johannesburg city. The East Rand is a hike from my house and it can also be difficult to find things there, which is why it took me so long to get to Schwaben Butchery. But with Fiver as my guide I braved the winding East Rand highways and navigated my way to this legendary place where pigs come to die. (I mean this metaphorically, of course. Pigs don’t really die here. I don’t think.)
The Schwaben butchery does not sell pork alone. There are many other types of meat, along with German bread and baked goods (much of which is supplied by the Black Forest Bakery), baking supplies, mustards, sweets, cheeses, and every other German food you can imagine.
I walked out of the Schwaben Butchery with a chicken schnitzel, a packet of assorted sliced salami (which Ray consumed within five minutes of my return), a slab of Bavaria blue cheese, a bag of gingerbread biscuits, three pretzel rolls, a loaf of rye bread, a packet of Depreziner hot sausages, and a small container of German potato salad. (Perhaps I went overboard. This is one of the reasons I don’t earn a very good living as a blogger.)
And then there was the aforementioned giant bratwurst.
In addition to all the German groceries, Schwaben has a takeaway counter where you can order from a menu and either get hot food to go or delivered to a table outside. I convinced Fiver to have breakfast with me after our shopping spree.
Fiver took my picture as I bit into the bratwurst. Before you look at the photo below, I must warn you to GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER.
Schwaben Butchery is not to be confused with Schwabinger Stuben, a German restaurant in Ferndale that I also need to blog about one of these days.
Schwaben Butchery (011 454 0160) is located at Shop 14E, Value City, Meadowdale.