[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was love at first snap as my teeth broke through the taut casing of my first Cheesy Bavarian sausage from Corralitos Market & Sausage Co. several years ago. The exact “where” and “when” of this inaugural experience has faded from my memory, muddled with the many, many Cheesy Bavarians that came after it, but I’ll never forget my first taste of mildly spiced sausage mixed with creamy cheddar cheese—a deceptively simple combo that nonetheless made quite an impression. I’m salivating just thinking about it.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I had become a member of a group of disciples dedicated to “the Cheesy B” above all other sausages. And according to Dave Peterson, president of Corralitos Market & Sausage Co., we are legion. “We sell 800 to 1,000 pounds of Cheesy Bavarians per week,” reports Peterson, and that number easily jumps to 1,500 pounds during food-based holidays like the Fourth of July and the Super Bowl. “It’s by far our biggest seller. It pays the rent on this place.”
With those kinds of numbers, the beloved Cheesy B is a leading candidate for Santa Cruz County’s Official Sausage (which is a thing we should totally have—get on it, county leaders!), especially since, as Peterson explains, its origins are democratic.
The year was 1976. America was celebrating its bicentennial, the Apple Computer Company was established by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and customers of the then-20-year-old Corralitos Market were asking for a sausage with cheese in it. Peterson was just getting his start at the market at the time, and says that the general consensus among the staff was that there “was no such thing.”
But not long after, the sausage makers discovered that national chain Hickory Farms was making a sausage with pepper jack. “We thought, heck, if they can do it so can we.”
The rest is history. The popularity of the Cheesy Bavarian inspired sister sausages Cheesy Jalapeño and Cheesy Andouille. The Market has even gone beyond retail to do custom cuttings—making Cheesy Bavarians out of wild game for hunters.
“It’s just a simple, basic sausage with beef, pork, mild spice and sharp cheddar cheese,” says Peterson. “There are no frills or thrills and you wouldn’t think it, but man, it’s something special.”
At local markets and Corralitos Market & Sausage Co., 569 Corralitos Road, Watsonville. 722-2633.