Best resource on kosher restaurants in Israel

Go Home!

Swiss sausage savvy by Carol Novis

Excerpt from The Jerusalem Post City Lights, ON THE TABLE April 30, 1999

True or False? Good sausages may be delicious, but they are full of artery-clogging fat. And genuine European-style liver sausage, wursts, terrines and pates contain pork as a matter of course.

Completely false, says Marcel Hess, proprietor of the newly-opened Hess the Sausage King in Ra'anana, whose glatt kosher (and relatively low fat) products are not only as good as the non-kosher variety, but better.

He's got the prizes on his walls to prove it too - some 30 of them, including awards from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France for his chicken liver pate marinated in cognac, pastrami, liver sausage, and for many other varieties of delicious dried, pickled and stuffed meats.

Marcel Hess, who recently made aliya with his family from Basel, may have been the only kosher member of the Swiss National Sausage Association but it didn't affect the equality of his sausages. He won the award in blind tastings at which all the other competitors submitted pork products.

"None of the judges knew that my sausages were kosher until the end. It came as a surprise to them to learn that kosher products could be of fine quality." He says. So highly regarded were those products that half the customers at his shop in Basel were non-Jews who were willing to pay double the regular price for Hess's glatt kosher products simply because they appreciated their quality.

Marcel learned the business from his father, and also studied hotel management in Lusanne and Cornell University and winery at a school near Zurich.

…As for the cholesterol count, Hess claims that the fat content of most of the meats is only about 10%, as opposed to 40-50% for commercial sausages - "and we're planning to produce a turkey salami with less than 2% fat."

…The reason Hess decided to offer spirits as well as meat is because, he says, "my idea is not just to sell meat, but to give people an enjoyable experience."

And Israel, he believes, is ready for that experience.

"I believe that people want fine quality, in meat as well as brandy and whiskey. We use only the best cuts of fresh chicken, veal and beef, unlike commercial frozen meat like regular frozen chickens which contain 300 gr of water in every kilo.

"Already we have found that people come here from all over Israel. It was the same in Switzerland. We were known to produce the best cold cuts and liver sausage, and people came to our shop from everywhere. We even had people passing though Switzerland from other countries, who made a special stop in Basel to buy our meat."