Food & Drink

Is Your Fritz Local? This Man Wants To Make Sure It Is

Barossa Fine Foods
Photos: Naomi Giatas

Everyone has a fritz story. Here’s one of them…

South Aussies bang on about fritz a lot (especially in the Fritz mag office) but when you buy your hunk of meat, are you sure it’s made locally?

Look closely at the label. Often, it’s not.

Franz Knoll (pictured), managing director of Barossa Fine Foods and chair of the national smallgoods council, is on a mission to change that. He wants South Australian-made fritz to get the recognition it deserves.

“I’ve been making fritz for a lifetime. Dad used to make it for other butchers. They’d give us their tubs of meat and we’d make the fritz and give it back to them. Meat was cheap in the old days.”

“As smallgoods eaters, South Australians have the highest consumption [in Australia]. Only about 10 to 20 percent of what is consumed here is made here. All the rest comes from interstate,” he says.

Franz and Paul Sandercock (executive director at the Australian Meat Industry Council) are gathering local fritz producers to work out how to get top-quality fritz recognised as uniquely South Australian.

“Perhaps with some form of appellation,” Franz says.

Barossa Fine Foods

“Through my research, we are the only region in the world that makes this type of product in sheep bungs [aka appendix – the orange casing surrounding fritz]. Mettwurst can loosely fit into that category due to the unique preparation method that gives it our distinct flavour and texture.”

Franz knows a fair bit about bung.

“I’ve been making fritz for a lifetime. Dad used to make it for other butchers. They’d give us their tubs of meat and we’d make the fritz and give it back to them. Meat was cheap in the old days.”

Not so now, which is why some manufacturers cut corners to sell at a cheaper price point.

“You go to a particular region and enjoy something special they have to offer. If it’s not made here it needs to be shown.”

“If a product is imported, we need something that lets people know it isn’t made here. If we’re going to be parochial, let’s do it in a way that is clear. It’s also about protecting our food culture.”

Competition in supermarkets can be brutal.

“For us to exist, we have to do things well. Instead of mass production, we do things that are of a better standard and more involved. We are close to our farms. You can’t say that in major cities. We deal direct with our farmers.”

Recognition of local fritz is about maintaining high-quality products that consumers can trust.

Think about it this way: sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne in France. Port is produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in Portugal, and the most prized prosciutto is the prosciutto di parma from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region.

It’s a similar concept.

Barossa Fine Foods

“You go to a particular region and enjoy something special they have to offer. If it’s not made here it needs to be shown.”

He cites Germany as an example – products made outside of where they originated are labelled ‘made in the style of’.

The use of scraps, lips and arseholes is a misconception.

“The meat in fritz is secondary mince trimmings. Generally, it’s pork, lamb, and beef. It’s still all good meat – just a blend.”

Who made it first on local turf? That’s debatable but after a bit of research, Franz has narrowed it down to three possible shops: Conrad’s on Hindley Street, a butcher in Lobethal, and two butchers called Fritz during the mid-1880s.

If he gets his way, we’ll all eat more local fritz and feel proud about doing it.

“People say we don’t value ourselves as much as the east coast. Truly, we offer a lot more than they do, it’s just that we don’t celebrate it. This is part of celebrating all the things we do really well.”

Got a fritz story you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments, below.

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