At the Maulbronn Monastery in south-west Germany, visitors can learn how to make ‘God-cheaters’.
While visiting the state of Baden-Württemberg in south-west Germany, I found myself in a monastery’s former donkey stable learning how to make Maultaschen, a type of German stuffed pasta. My hands were covered with the meat-and-cheese filling. I imagined Cistercian monks making the dish on these grounds centuries before. But as I learned, there is more than one version of Maultaschen’s origin story.
Maulbronn Monastery is a place of legends. The name appeared in historical records as ‘Mulenbrunnen’, which suggests a site by a source of water (‘Brunnen’ in German) that fed a mill (‘Mulin’ in Middle High German). It also appeared as ‘Mulibrunnen’, which suggests a mule (‘Maultier’ in German, nicknamed ‘Muli’). Legend says that when the monks set out to find a site for their new monastery, they took a mule, and when the animal stopped for a drink of water they interpreted it as a sign from God that they should stay and build their monastery there.