Mustripen a mainstay at Fredonia meat market

Schwai’s turns out this Luxembourgish blood sausage not just during the holidays but year round for customers across the country
By 
CONNOR CARYNSKI
Ozaukee Press Staff

Schwai’s Meat and Sausage is known by many for quality meats, a variety of sausage flavors and for setting up shop at a variety of summer festivals and events throughout Ozaukee County, but only select groups are aware the Fredonia butcher shop is also one of the largest producers of mustripen in the area.

Mustripen is a traditional Luxembourgish pork sausage containing blood, onion, cabbage, spices and bread. While the recipe may make some feel queasy, the blood sausage is celebrated and enjoyed by many as a traditional dish.

Owner Tom Schwai, who runs the business with his wife Kathy, said he sells between 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of mustripen every year.

“We get a lot of business from mustripen,” he said.

While a good portion of the sausage is reserved for the annual Luxembourg Fest in Belgium in August, which hosts a traipen eating contest, Schwai said he also sells mustripen to people around the country year round.

“It goes to Illinois, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Arizona, Michigan,” he said. “It goes all over.”

Some people grew up eating mustripen, Schwai said, and will enjoy the dish their entire lives and cook it for the next generation.

Schwai said he didn’t always know how to make the traditional dish. It was only after Schwai’s purchased Bauman’s Meat Market that former Bauman’s employee Alex Foster taught him the recipe.

Schwai said when he was looking around Baumans one day following the purchase, Foster approached him and asked for a job. After learning about his experience as a butcher, Schwai brought him on.

Having made mustripen for various cultural events in Belgium for years, Foster passed the recipe down to Schwai, who has followed it ever since.

“It’s the same recipe he had,” Schwai said.

Having just completed a fresh batch last week, Schwai said he believes his most recent round of mustripen is the best he’s made yet.

Looking back on his years making the sausage, Schwai said he may not have started making mustripen had it not been for Foster.

“It’s because Alex Foster told me how to make it,” Schwai said. “He said you can’t do this and you can’t do this and you’ve gotta do that. He downright told me what I’ve got to do.”

With no heir to his business, Schwai said someone will have to buy him out before he passes down the secret formula to the mustripen.

Tom is a third-generation owner of the business, which initially began in the Town of Polk in Washington County more than 85 years ago.

Schwai’s operated in Cedarburg for nearly 20 years before relocating to Fredonia in June 2020. Prior to opening their Cedarburg shop, the couple operated a store in a strip mall in Jackson for about five years.

During their move to  Fredonia, the Schwais also switched their business model from wholesale to mostly retail.  

Kathey Schwai said after consistently working more than 12 hour days for years, she and Tom decided to make the change to retail to lessen their work load.

While their business model and location changed, the Schwais continue to set up the grill and sell their homemade sausages at Cedarburg festivals like Strawberry Fest, Wine and Harvest Festival and Oktoberfest when able.

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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