Sausage row settled with Slovenia

There was cause to celebrate in culinary circles this weekend after it was revealed Austria had won a battle to keep its claim to a popular brand of sausage – and its famous pumpkin seed oil.

The problem started when Slovenia announced that it wanted the EU to give it rights and control of the Krainer sausage that comes from the Krainer region of Slovenia – or so they argued.

But here in neighbouring Austria the prospect of Austrians having to change the name of their cheese version of the popular snack, the kasekrainer, created considerable media coverage, with state ministries, gastronony experts and the patent commission all queuing up to challenge Slovenia’s move.

However now Slovenia and Austria have reportedly reached a compromise which was more than enough reason for politician Johann Seitinger,  Austrian Agriculture Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich, president of the chamber of agriculture Gerhard Wlodkwoski and pumpkin seed oil Association boss Franz Labugger to get together for a celebration (See picture).

Slovenia wanted EU protected status for its “Kranjska klobasa”, or Krainer sausage, banning the name for sausages not made in its Kranjska region, known as Krain in German and formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

This had however worried consumers in Austria, whose ubiquitous sausage stands sell a popular variation invented in the 1980s containing bits of cheese and known locally as the “Kaesekrainer” (“Cheese Krainer”) or “Krainer” for short.

“It was important to us that the Kaesekrainer is an Austrian invention with a long tradition,” Agriculture Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich said in a statement. “This compromise satisfies everybody.

“These sausages are among the culinary highlights of our country. The solution that we have found brings advantages for the economy, agriculture and for the Austrians themselves.”

The two countries also buried the hatchet over Styria’s famed pumpkin seed oil.

“Slovenian pumpkin seed oil can only be sold as ‘stajersko’ and not with the German translation of ‘steirisches’, and the country of origin must be clearly visible,” the Austrian food ministry said.

Chamber of agriculture president Gerhard Wlodkowski added that it was great the Brussels have taken their objections seriously and that Austria and in particularly Styria doesn’t have to give up any of its culinary heritage.

Slovenia will still seek EU protection for the Kranjska klobasa but Austrians can continue to sell Kaesekrainers without falling foul of Brussels.

Josef Bitzinger from the Vienna chamber of commerce had thundered in April that that the “beloved speciality” was a “cultural asset,” and that changing the name would result in “enormous revenue losses.”