One baker’s disappointment is now an archaeological discovery. The world’s oldest pretzel, clocking in at a youthful 250-years-old, has been found in Germany, and it may also be one of Europe’s oldest baked goods.
The pretzel wasn’t the only find; archaeologists unearthed a bunch of antique pastries, including croissants, rolls, and other pretzel pieces, NBC News reported. They’ve determined that the baked goods – including the 250-year-old pretzel – were made between 1700 and 1800, Silvia Codreanau-Windauer, Bavarian State Department of Monument and Sites, explained.
“It is an archaeological sensation. In my 30 years in the business I have never found an organic object.”
Unfortunately, the honor of Europe’s oldest – and likely stalest – baked good doesn’t go to this pretzel, but to some 5,500-year-old burnt bread found in Oxfordshire, England, the International Business Times reported.
And like that ancient bread, the 250-year-old pretzel was also burnt – which is probably why it was so well-preserved.
The pretzel was found by archaeologists working in the Bavarian city of Regensburg. The city has proven a historic gold mine – the baseplate of ancient gallows and the remains of a 1,200-year-old wooden house have also been found there, Codreanau-Windauer told UPI.
Plans for a museum on the site – along the Danube River – are underway, according to the Local.
And now for some pretzel trivia. For centuries, the pretzel has had a place of honor in south German and Austrian culture. They may have been eaten as early as the 12th century and were certainly well-loved by the 15th century. Evidently, their design is a tribute to how monks cross their arms in prayer, and because they were made only of flour and water, they could be eaten during Lent. Today, Bavarians often enjoy the baked good any time of year, particularly for breakfast.
When this particular pretzel was made, burned and then discarded all those years ago, they were already a popular snack and street food in Germany, according to IBT. The finding is exciting for Regensburg’s mayor, Joachim Wolbergs, who sees the pretzel as a window to the past.
“This discovery is really extraordinary, because it depicts a snippet of everyday life.”
Let’s just hope archaeologists find some ancient sweet mustard to dip the pretzel in.
[Photo Courtesy YouTube]