DÜSSELDORF. – An influx of South African winemakers and related compatriots to the annual Prowein Wine Show in Düsseldorf, Germany, has resulted in a crisis for local restaurants and pubs who now face a potential shortage of schweinshaxe, a traditional dish comprising a roasted pork knuckle. Visitors to Prowein see the copious offerings of schweinshaxe as one of Prowein and Düsselfdorf’s major attractions, with the over 60 000 guests usually downing in excess of 140 tons of pork knuckle during the three day show, which this year kicks off on 19 March.
However, news that an unusually large contingent from the South African wine industry will descend on Prowein 2023 has led to an unexpected shortage of schweinhaxe due to the South Africans’ well-known love for this local German delicacy.
Manfred Würstknacker, a pork wholesaler from Cologne near Düsseldorf, says he has been inundated with requests for more pork knuckles from restaurateurs, hotels and gourmet pubs who are expecting an onslaught of schweinshaxe-seeking South Africans. “During das last Prowein there was almost a shortage of pork, once again due to the grossen appetite of the winemakers from South Africa,” says Würstknacker.
“But this year they expect much, much more – over 600 people from the South Africa to attend Prowein for three whole days and more,” he says. “And with these men and women wanting schweinshaxe morning, noon and night the 600 South Africans eat more pigs than 2 000 Italians, 3 500 Spanish and 5 000 during the Prowein time here in Germany.”
Würstknacker says he has depleted his pork suppliers in Germany and Poland, with meat exporters from Denmark playing hard-ball with their exports due to Germany’s reluctance to send the Luftwaffe to help the war in Ukraine.
“German efficiency has let us pork suppliers down,” he says. “We believe that failing to plan is planning to fail. Why nobody tell us earlier that so many South Africans come to Düsselfdorf so we could make more pig breeding? I tell you, if this continues I ask a biologist to make a pig with six legs and six knuckles to feed these hungry Africans.”
Leni Kasentet, who together with her husband Igar owns three informal eateries in Düsseldorf, says they had managed to stock-up on schweinshaxe just in time, their cold-storage facilities currently holding enough pork knuckles to cause an intifada on the West Bank.
“The South Africans are fun to have, we Germans love them in our restaurants as they make us smile, sing that funny ‘sho-sholozo’ song and love to play scrum-scrum with Igar and his friends from the lederhosen factory. But I don’t know why these people eat so much schweinshaxe – is there not pig in South Africa? Electricity we know is not in Africa, but now no pig, too?”
According to Leni, the average South African winemaker consumes 6,35kg of pork knuckle during the Prowein visit of three days. “Second are those strange people from New Zealand on 5,21kg of schweinshaxe and then the English with 4.72. Everyone eats the pork knuckle when they are here for Prowein – even the Israelis notch-up a commendable 1.9kg per person.”
Rumours that the South African wine industry will in future be limited to the number of representatives it can send to Prowein due to the resulting pork shortage have been refuted.
Xoli Blitzkisi, a spokesperson for the South African embassy in Berlin, says that the embassy has received no official complaints.
“No reports of the pork-knuckle shortage due to the presence of my fellow South Africans have been lodged, although as a representative of our country the embassy will be sure to address any concerns our people have created with consummate seriousness,” says Blitzkisi.
“It is our prerogative to take into account the certain shortages and limitations of products and services around the world, something we do with understanding and mutual compassion. Like South Africa, Germany is discovering limitations with energy, although the country’s shortage of corruption is of concern, being far lower than in South Africa, and on this we sympathise with them as any shortage, is a bad shortage. On this, we stand ready to help Germany improve its level of corruption and with our bare-knuckles we’ll show them how to do it. In the meantime, enjoy the Prowein show, and don’t forget the mustard.”
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