Do you abide by the theory that everything is better if it has chocolate on it? When it comes to the pretzel, this theory is absolutely correct. The combination of the bread, the saltiness of the hard pretzel crust, and the sweetness of the chocolate combine for a wonderful culinary experience. Although the actual origins of the pretzel itself are not absolutely know, it is believed the first pretzels were made in the early 7th century.
That means it took over 900 years for someone to decide that covering them in chocolate was a good idea! Until Herr Franz Joseph Leibniz decided to partner up with a chocolatier that was his neighbor in Hamburg, pretzels were simply baked in different ways for different seasons. Softer gingerbread pretzels, for example, would be given at Christmas.
Although Leibniz is given credit for the invention of chocolate covered pretzels, the reality is that the story of their invention cannot be verified.
What Can Be Verified About Chocolate Covered Pretzels?
There is a 16th century recipe that was published that shows how to prepare chocolate covered pretzels and this is believed to be the earliest documentation of this invention. Called Precedella, the publisher of the recipe was from Max Rumpolt and the book has a publication date of 1581. This is about 40 years later than the stories of Leibniz inventing this food product.
Rumpolt had a number of recipes for which he is credited as the first to create. The most notable is that of the chimney cake, although it may be called a funnel loaf, a funnel doughnut, or even a spool on a stick. Their creation dates back to Carpathian times, but Rumpolt is credited with the ability to cook these loaves in such a way that the average person could do it at their home.
It is also the instructions that are within the cookbook that were unique at the time. In many ways, it could be said that Rumpolt created the first “modern” cookbook. With instructions about how to boil potatoes that had been diced and other common sense ways to improve cooking, our modern techniques for food today tend to be traced back to the efforts of Max Rumpolt.
What Happened to Leibniz?
No one really knows what happened to the German baker who reportedly invented the chocolate covered pretzels. He was just an average guy who was working his trade in order to support himself and his household. In many ways, his story is the same as many others throughout history. Innovations occurred because of a good idea during the normal course of life so that work could become easier and those ideas became popular with the rest of the general public.
If there is one thing to take from the invention of chocolate covered pretzels, it is this: anyone can become an inventor. Anyone can create something fantastic and have it become so popular that 300 years from now, people will still be using it, eating it, or enjoying the idea.