#Gauteng52, Week 2: Schwaben Butchery, Where Pigs Come to Die

by | Jan 9, 2017 | #Gauteng52, Ekurhuleni (East Rand), Food and Drink, Johannesburg, Markets/Shopping | 12 comments

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.

Pork at Schwaben ButcheryAn array of pork in one of the Schwaben Butchery meat counters.

Schwaben meatDo you know what this is? Me either.

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.

BrezelnGerman brezeln, or pretzels.

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.

Fiver and sauerkrautFiver poses with sauerkraut mix at 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.)

Sausages at the Schwaben ButcherySausages, sausages, and bacon-wrapped sausages. Fiver says these cheese grillers are not authentically German, but rather a South-African embellishment.

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.

Schwaben liver dumplingLiver dumpling, which sounds strangely delicious to me.

German baking suppliesGerman baking supplies. 

Katzenzungen - chocolate kitten tounguesKatzenzungen, or “cat tongues”. Chocolates shaped like kitten tongues! I die.

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.

Schwaben breakfastSchwaben breakfast.

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.

Heather eating bratwurst at SchwabenOf course your mind is firmly in the gutter now. But this is me eating a sausage and nothing more. It was delicious and I nearly ate the whole thing.

The end.

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.

Read all of my #Gauteng52 posts and check out the interactive #Gauteng52 map.


  1. Gail Scott Wilson

    The packet up the top that you were not sure of – is so yummy it’s always on my shopping list when I go there. I’m not sure of the name but it’s similar to black pudding that you get in the UK, I think it can be referred to as Blutwurst – made up of pork blood, pork rind and other meats such as tongue. Their Eisbein is the best.

    I spend a fortune every time I go there,

    • 2summers

      Wow, the Blutwurst sounds too adventurous for me but I definitely want to try the Eisbein sometime. It did look delicious.

    • Fiver

      Very impressed you know Blutwurst, Gail. It’s delicious btw and not at all weird tasting, Heather. And yes, let’s have some ginormous Eisbein next time. Yum.
      Schwaben makes me more German than I normally am. I’m not sure that’s a good thing…

      • 2summers

        That’s true, it really does. I like your German side.

          • 2summers

            Oh yes, Cremalat is great! Haven’t been to La Marina though — looks intriguing.

  2. Expatorama

    Dying pigs, kittens tongues, vampire friendly pork products and suggestive sausages? Choking on my coffee here and yet keen to check the place out – you had me at: “This place sells the best bacon in town. It’s where pigs come to die.”

    • 2summers

      I’m so glad you appreciate my efforts 🙂

  3. autumnashbough

    You can keep all the brats and sausages…I want the cronut or cruller that came with your breakfast. YUM.

    My favorite meat product was probably the non-German cheese griller. My German ancestors are shaking their heads, of course.

    • 2summers

      Oh yes, I never got around to mentioning that but it was also delicious (although I only had one bite).

      Fiver bought those cheese grillers once, but said they’re very tricky to cook on the grill. You have to keep them totally upright so the cheese doesn’t fall out.

  4. Eugenia Parrish

    :D! I spit out my coffee at the ‘mind-in-the-gutter’ picture. I’m glad you said it first so I didn’t feel like a pervert. Not long ago someone said to a friend of mine, “You can’t eat sausage every day!” His answer? “Sure you can.” He would love Schwaben.

    • 2summers

      Hahaha. Seriously, I’ve never seen so many kinds of sausage in one place.


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