Happy National Pretzel Day to all of our fellow pretzel lovers! We hope that you get the chance to take a break and go grab a soft pretzel from… well anywhere. There is no excuse, Philadelphia is packed with great options to enjoy this classic snack. Our favorite spot is South Philadelphia’s Center City Pretzel Company, who has been baking up millions of pretzels since 1981. This factory is mainly a supplier for many of Philadelphia’s pretzel vendors, but if you show up after midnight (yes, midnight) you can buy a pretzel fresh out of the oven that tastes better than any pretzel you’ve ever eaten.
Historically, Pretzels were invented as a way to reward children who learned their prayers. And no that shape isn’t random, it is supposed to resemble hands crossing the chest in prayer. The roots of the word pretzel actually translate into “little arms.”
As for the shape of most of the pretzels we eat here in Philadelphia – I’m not sure, but we will eat them regardless because they are doughy, salty, inexpensive, and everywhere. It is a true mystery how four simple ingredients (flour, yeast, water, and salt) can become so delicious, and so iconic.
Pretzel facts to know…
- The largest ever pretzel was 40 pounds, baked by Philadelphia resident Joe Nacchio. It was 5 feet across!
- Pennsylvania produces 80% of the nation’s pretzels.
- Today, the average Philadelphian consumes about twelve times as many pretzels as the national average (we think).
- The annual United States pretzel industry is worth over $550 million.
- The average American consumes about 1.5 pounds of pretzels per year.
- Hard pretzels originated in the United States in 1850.