Created | Updated Apr 3, 2009
Few things go better with a cold beer than pretzels. And a fresh-cooked soft pretzel can take your taste buds places they never thought they'd ever go.
The pretzel originated somewhere in Germany. There it spent many years as a brittle, not particularly tasteful side dish to beer. No one realised its full potential.
Then, in the 17th and 18th Centuries, the Pennsylvania Dutch1 moved to America, and settled mostly north and west of Philadelphia. They brought with them, among other pieces of culture, the pretzel.
The history of pretzels in America had only just begun.
Where to Buy a Soft Pretzel
In American cities, you can almost always find a pretzel vendor on a street corner with little trouble. But don't be mistaken - with few exceptions, they're not selling you a 'soft' pretzel. They're selling you something hard, several days old and cold. You don't want it.
So who can you trust to supply you with soft pretzels? Outside of Amish country, it's often hard to find a reliable soft pretzel supplier. But there is now a company - Auntie Anne's - that sells top-quality, fresh, delicious pretzels. And they're all around the world; in 41 states of the USA, from Vermont to Hawaii, and they're also in places you wouldn't expect, like Jakarta, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
When you find one order the original.
How to Eat your Soft Pretzel.
First things first - it's not a real soft pretzel without salt. Traditionally soft pretzels are eaten with mustard. In some regions, ketchup is substituted for mustard, but both are acceptable.
If, however, you have already been through the pretzel experience, and find yourself lucky enough to come across an Auntie Anne's, you many want to consider another option. While the cinnamon sugar pretzel, is, due to lack of salt, not a real soft pretzel, it is a small taste of heaven. Enjoy!