The Jambon de Mayence – the Mainz Ham – was a huge export success dating back to the 16th C.
Francois Rabelais raved about it in 1534 and even Thomas Jefferson is recorded as singing its praises in 1788. The French even have a song about it.
But in recent (90 or so…) years, it disappeared around here.
Sort of like the Philly Cheese Steak being cult in Hawaii. And only in Hawaii. Sort of.
But French tourists kept turning up, warbling the song and looking for the real McCoy.
Hiltrud Gill-Heine, a tourist guide from Tourism Mainz, set about remedying the situation.
She tracked down a recipe in Metz, found in Peter Walz a local butcher who was able – on the twelfth attempt – to reproduce the original and unveiled the secret on the market this morning.
Very tasty, indeed.
Pork leg from a happy (well, maybe not..) Mainz pig, natural herbs, a marinade of wine and a gestation period of 9 months.
Except around here, it’s pronounced “Shampong de Mayence”, which caused great mirth and sighs of exasperation from the queue at Caffe Moguntia.
And when the French choir kicked into the song at mega-decibels, Hans-Josef Schwarz just rolled his eyes and muttered something about “the Health and Safety people wouldn’t stand for it” .
I don’t know what his reaction was when some local talent (sic) segued into “Voulez vous Kartoffelsupp’?” – “How about some potato soup?”.