Cultural heritage

Family stories based on real events from the long history of the Gavrilović family.

Gavrilović’s Kransky sausage and Hotdogs with Whipped Cream

When faced with the eternal question of what came first – the chicken or the egg – most of us will stop and wonder. But when it comes to the question of what came first – the sausage or the salami – everyone is quick to reply: sausages, of course.

Sausages have been a homemade product in households for as long as one can remember. Sausage-making was one of the most widespread ways of preserving meat during the winter months. They are, thus, a part of a country’s folklore, and are named accordingly. There are traditional names such as the Domestic and Folk Sausages; regional names such as Slavonska, Srijemska, Zagorska, Medimurska, Podravska, Prigorska; or names from foreign regions and cities – Tyrolean, Bavarian, Parisian; Krakow, Salzburg, and Debrecen Sausages. Oftentimes, traditional domestic sausages are named according to their manufacturer, such as the Petrinja Sausage.

We know that the first Gavrilović’s and meat-masters came to Petrinja in 1690. They immediately became involved in the meat trade. It took a little while before they opened up their first meat-processing plant and little did they know that this tiny plant was soon to become one of the most esteemed and longest-standing cured-meat enterprises in our region and beyond. We are certain that the Gavrilović’s practiced their trade on sausages at first and after bringing them to perfection, were able to use this experience to create top-quality salamis; the most popular one being their famous Zimska Salami.

Over time, Kransky Sausages became the most popular and most widespread sausages on the market, especially in the ex-Austro-Hungarian Empire. The story goes that as Franz Joseph was travelling through the historic region of Kranz, Austria (today Slovenia), he stopped at a tavern in the town of Naklo, and after tasting their homemade sausages he exclaimed: “…This is no ordinary kielbasa; this is a Kransky kielbasa!”

Adverts in local newspapers show that Gavrilović’s Kransky sausages were manufactured in great quantities between the two World Wars. At first, the sausages were called garlic sausages or simply dry sausages, although the recipe was the same as for the Kransky sausages, and the butchering practises in the villages the same as well. In the 1930s, the popularity of the Kransky sausage will be surpassed by the arrival of the new horseradish sausage, similar to our modern-day hotdog.

Let us go back to the Kransky sausage, over which a political debate has recently been instigated, regarding the name and origin of the sausage. Our neighbour, Slovenia, wishes to secure and retain the Kransky sausage as its own national brand. In the words of our leading television gastronome, Veljko Barbijeri, “…the Kransky sausage is indigenous to the Kranz region in Slovenia, therefore, a Slovenian product, originating in the 15th century. Its name is first mentioned in a journal written by Paulo Santonino who was in the service of a Venetian archbishop and travelled across Austria, Bundesland, Kranz and Slovenia. In his journal he wrote detailed gastronomic descriptions of all the meals he ate during his travels. There are several mentions of a sausage that he ate in the homes of the nobility on his way through Kranz. Santonino does not prefix the sausage with the name “Kransky”, but given the fact that he mentions eating one and the same sausage during his travels through the region, one can conclude that he is referring to the Kransky sausage. This sausage was introduced to our territory quite promptly thereafter, mainly around the border regions of Medimurje, Prigorje and Zagorje. In the 17th and 18th centuries, during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it became prominent in all parts of Croatia; while its formal name, “Kransky”, becomes widespread in the gastronomic world in the 19th century.”

The most popular sausages in the 1930s were the horseradish sausages, or Frankfurters, which will, over time, develop into the popular hotdog as a form of fast-food bought at a kiosk or street booth. They can be served baked in puff pastry or in regular bread dough. There are even rosy flower-shaped cookies and cakes made out of them. On one occasion, Gjuro Gavrilović II was sitting with his friends in the newly-opened Gradska kavana (City Coffeehouse) on Ban Jelacic Square. It was the mid-1930s. Gjuro wanted to play a joke on the waiter, so with a straight face, he ordered a “hotdog with whipped cream,” thus confusing the waiter and his guests. He was most likely motivated by the newest item on the menu of the prestigious Sacher Hotel in Vienna. Alongside their list of desserts and their famous Sacher Cake, they now offered hotdogs with whipped cream.