This past Saturday I went to a Sausage Fest.
No not a party where only guys were there talking about their fantasy football teams, but a literal. Sausage. Fest.
The theme of this Sausage Fest was to commemorate Whole Foods’, “we make our own sausages in house thing.”
So when my Aunt’s Husband proposed the idea, at first I thought he was joking, but when I realized he was in fact very serious about said sausage fest, I was all in. Because…Of course I would be.
The plan for this event was to taste the spectrum of Whole Foods’ sausage offerings and how they stacked up to some of our other favorites. As a Whole Foods skeptic (even though I still shop there, I can’t help it convenience is my weakness!), I was all in to see if they really stacked up in the taste category to some other grocers.
*Sidebar, since my critique, they have taken some great steps forward by fixing some of my criticisms of the store, so bravo.*
Once the festivities began I was immediately greeted by my German-American cousin who was really excited for the festivities. The house was decorated with various German novelties and the table even had the greatest centerpiece of all, a giant soft Pretzel.
Once we all had enjoyed some preliminary cheese and beer, we all settled in for the main event. The Sausage Tasting.
*Note, I don’t think these were ALL of the sausages they have to offer but it’s a smattering of them, the hosts said they had more but we all tapped out by the end.*
Our hearts would never be the same again. Like literally I ate so much sausage.
Now for the results of the Sausage Tasting Extravaganza!
*All of the sausages were grilled except the first sausage*
Sausage 1: Weisswurst (White Sausage) :
This Sausage actually came from Wegmans, and it was the clear winner of the evening. Our resident sausage aficionado at the event proclaimed that these were very similar to the real thing in Germany. The Weisswurst or White Sausage, is a combination of minced veal and pork back bacon along with various spices. The skin is peeled back prior to eating. Unlike the other sausages that night, this sausage was boiled (as is the tradition). This type of sausage is unique to Bavaria and is wildly popular in that region of Germany.
This tasted great, it had a awesome consistency, and a pleasant aftertaste. I ate it with the skin and without, it tasted fine both ways. It went perfectly with a piece of the gigantic pretzel and honey mustard.
Overall Score: 10
Sausage 2: Italian Chicken Sausage:
Next up was the Italian Chicken Sausage from Whole Foods. There was nothing to write home about with this sausage. It had a decent flavor with a nice subtle basil undertone. It would work well in a pasta sauce, but by itself it was average.
Overall Score: 7
Sausage 3: Atomic Pork :
Now we had the Atomic Pork Sausage, this sausage divided some but we all agreed that it was really spicy. Made in house by Whole Foods, this is a pork sausage with lots of spicy ingredients. It had okay flavor but it was so spicy that it blocked you from tasting anything else. One of my least favorite of the evening.
Sausage 4: Pork Apple Gouda Sausage:
After the spicy pork, we had the Pork Apple Gouda Sausage. Again this sausagel ike the Atomic Pork and Italian Chicken was handmade by Whole Foods. This was the worst sausage of the evening in my opinion. It had a terrible gritty consistency, no Gouda flavor, and just an overall weird flavor. I couldn’t finish it.
Overall Score: 0
Sausage 5: Bratwurst
After that debacle we went back to a classic, Bratwurst. This Bratwurst was actually from Wegmans as we were comparing Brats from both stores.
Bratwurst can find its origins in Nuremberg, Germany as far back as 1313. This is a classic that is almost universally loved by all. And it was one of the best of the night. It had a great consistency, strong pork flavor that didn’t overpower, and a good aftertaste. It went really well with pretzel bread and mustard.
Overall Score: 9
Sausage 6: Tuscan Style Pork Sasuage: (Whole Foods) – gritty consistency, mild italian flavor, not terrible not good, just a blah kind of sausage, overall the hybrids were mediocre if not underwhelming.
We continued on with a Whole Foods sausage. We had the Tuscan Style Pork Sausage, despite its fancy name and rustic wording the sausage sort of fell flat. Like its other Whole Foods sausage brethren this sausage had a gritty consistency. The flavor was mild with some subtle Italian flavors but it was nothing to write home about. So I’ll stop writing about it.
Overall Score: 6
Sausage 7 : Bratwurst:
In the main event of the night, we had a direct comparison of sausages. Brat to Brat. Sausage to Sausage. The Whole Foods Bratwurst was not bad but it certainly did not come close to the Wegmans brand Bratwurst. Again the Whole Foods brand was gritty and not smooth. The flavor was good, but the grittyness took away from the entire experience.
Overall Score: 7.5
Sausage 8: Hot Italian Chicken Sausage: (at this point I may have entered a sausage coma, I don’t remember, but no pictures unfortunately you didn’t miss much)
We concluded the tasting with a Hot Italian Chicken Sausage, I’m not a huge fan of hybrid sausages and this one exemplified why. It didn’t have a great flavor, it was slightly spicy, gritty (AGAIN) and mediocre after taste.
Overall Score: 3
Recap: Wegmans really mopped the floor with Whole Foods. Our sausage aficionado agreed, it wasn’t really close. The biggest problem that Whole Foods had was that all of their sausages were gritty. I don’t know if this had to do with the fact that they are handmade or their handmakers don’t know what they’re doing, but it just wasn’t very special. I’d love to see how some of the favorites from this taste test stack up against some other great local brands like Logan’s Sausage (which is my favorite go to)
Sorry Whole Foods, better luck next time!
Overall, this was a great time. Food taste testing is a really great party idea, everyone had a great time except our arteries. They have had better nights. They were dreaming of crispy lettuce and fruits, or anything else that wasn’t clogging them.