The joint sauerkraut meal is now indispensable during the celebration of Alkmaar Ontzet. The smoked sausage is sponsored every year by butcher Jeroen de Vries. At the sausage factory in Heerhugowaard they are busy to have two thousand sausages ready in time for the party on 8 October.

    In the Waardse sausage factory, the pink meat dough is rotated in a large cauldron. Once the meat is pressed into its skin, there is a metal clip and a nice string around it, the sausage is ready to be smoked.

    “Previously, we always did it at the back of the butcher’s shop in the center of Alkmaar,” says owner Bas Equal. “Back then we had a small smoking box and we were smoking all week. We now have a whole new building, which makes it all a bit easier.”

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    Young tradition

    Alkmaar Ontzet celebrates the victory over the Spaniards during the Eighty Years’ War. The sauerkraut meal, for more than three thousand hungry revelers, has become a tradition. Still a young tradition, because the idea originated in 2003. “We have somewhat copied it from Leiden”, says honorary board member Els de Boer.

    De Boer was one of the founders of the sauerkraut meal. “During Leidsens Ontzet they eat stew, herring and white bread and we were also looking for a way to connect people. Since a lot of sauerkraut is made in our region, the choice was easy,” says De Boer. “It is now a great success because people are queuing for it.”

    Butcher Bas Equal thinks it is an honorable task to make all those sausages for the sauerkraut meal. “It is also a great start to the smoked sausage season for us and many people from Alkmaar get to know your sausage. Of course we also pick up a fork during Ontzet, which is delicious!”