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The word liverwurst is an anglicization of German Leberwurst, meaning "liver sausage". It is also known as liver sausage by some English speakers. It is a sausage eaten in North America, in large parts of Europe, including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania (especially in Transylvania), Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and in South American countries such as Argentina.
Most liverwurst varieties are spreadable. Liverwurst usually contains pigs' or calves' livers. Other ingredients are meat (notably veal), fat, and spices including ground black pepper, marjoram, allspice, thyme, ground mustard seed, or nutmeg. Many regions in Germany have distinct recipes for liverwurst. Adding ingredients like pieces of onion or bacon to the recipe make each variety of liverwurst very important to cultural identity. For example, the Thüringer Leberwurst has a Protected Geographical Status throughout the EU. Recently, more exotic additions such as cowberries and mushrooms have gained popularity.
In Germany, liverwurst is customarily served on open sandwiches, often with mustard or pickled cucumber.
In the Netherlands, liverwurst (Dutch: leverworst) is customarily served on open sandwiches. Groningen and The Hague are known for their own types of liverwurst: Groninger leverworst in Groningen and Haagse leverworst from The Hague.
In Hungary, liverwurst is customarily served on open sandwiches, or with cheese as a filling for pancakes which are baked in the oven.
In Romania liverwurst is called lebar, but unlike the German sausage leberwurst that uses beef, the lebar uses only pork. Lebar is eaten mainly for the winter holidays. It tastes fragrant and sweet with liver pâté. It is generally used as Christmas Eve dinner, sliced on bread with mustard and muraturi.
Liverwurst is typically eaten as is. It is often served as traditional or as open-faced sandwiches. It is popular in North America with red onion and mustard on rye or whole grain bread. In the Southern US, and the Midwestern US, liverwurst is served with slices of gherkin that are pickled with sugar, vinegar, and mustard seeds. In the Northeast US, liverwurst is served with gherkins that are pickled with salt and a usual addition of dill.
In the Midwestern United States, liverwurst is also known as liver sausage or Braunschweiger. Liverwurst is typically served on crackers or in sandwiches. It is often sold pre-sliced.
Pasztetowa is made using calf's liver, which is more substantial in texture and refined in taste than pork. It is often served on rye bread with horseradish-style mustard. Pasztetowa is popular throughout the year, but is most frequently served at Christmas and Easter.