I can’t write about Mett without waking memories of the Rhine, carnival, Altbier, and football. It goes well with all of these pastimes. In the popular Brauhaus “Zum Schlüssel” in Düsseldorf alone, 20,000 Mettbrötchen were sold in 2019. In my family, we used to have Mett for TV sessions on the Federal elections in Germany.
It is also a meme – look up “Mettigel” on Facebook and dive into the hilarity of German internet humor. But would I be able to enjoy Mett in Vienna? I didn’t dare to ask – the risk of getting barked at seemed too high. But after eight years here, I felt prepared.
The Quest to Buy Mett
My first destination is Extra Fleischerei at Meidlinger Markt. A cheerful butcher smiled knowingly when I asked about Mett. “Look here,” he said while grabbing a handful of raw meat from the meat grinder. “That’s what I use for sausages, but we need something different. When do you need it?” He was clearly on my side.
I couldn’t believe it. I remember the days when my use of German vocabulary resulted in merciless correction. I felt in need of a reality check, went to Billa during rush hour, and asked for Mett.
“Not on display, but in the fridges,” a smiling employee told me. She meant Faschiertes, which is not meant for raw consumption. I doubt that she tried to poison me, but Mett was nowhere to be found.
I’ve found that a good Fleischhauer is essential to buy Mett. Sadly, these are increasingly hard to come by – the number of butcher shops in Vienna has dropped from 1,450 in 1960 to just 128 in 2019. But it is here that I’ve found Mett – even though it tastes better when you are gazing hypnotized out over the timeless romance of the river Rhine.