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Side Dish 

Wurst is best in Hermann, Mo.

Several years later, I still giggle about my stint as a judge at the Wurstfest.

The annual Hermann, Mo., celebration of sausage takes place this weekend throughout the town, with a key event being the "best of Missouri" sausage contest during the day on Saturday in the Hermannhof Festhalle. You simply wouldn't believe how many varieties of sausage there are, as Channel 2's John Pertzborn and I learned as celebrity judges a while back. (We also learned that "cleansing the palate" with good Missouri wine -- and, later, homemade mead and wheat wine -- can result in unexpected additions to the antique collection in your home. That, however, is a story for another day.)

Other Wurstfest highlights include a swing dance, again in the Hermannhof Festhalle (on First Street), at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17; a whole-hog-sausage breakfast at Hermann Fire House No. 2, 7:30-noon Sunday, March 18; and "wiener dog" competitions Sunday afternoon at the Lower City Park. For more information, call 800-932-8687.

When you're not snarfing wurst, you can wander around the Hermann shops or take in the Adam Puchta, Bias, Hermannhof, Röbller, Oak Glenn and Stone Hill wineries. Just be sure to appoint a designated driver and a designated antique-buyer. And if you can't make it out to Hermann, be sure to check out the offerings at Affton Provision Meat Co., 9731 Gravois Rd., which was one of the top wurstmeisters the year we joined in the judging fun.

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