The popularity of Bratpfilze - large-capped, slightly bitter mushrooms soaked in vinegar and fried - among the citizens of Falkensburg is something of a mystery. The mushrooms themselves grow almost exclusively in the mountains to the east and do not travel particularly well, making them an expensive meal. Nor are they particularly nutritious, being noticeably less filling than the common Falkensburger meal of grainy porridge, sausage and the brownish sauce known as Gnetz.

Possibly the custom can be traced back to the distribution of a feast of Bratpfilze to the citizens of Falkensburg, on Schattenmannfeuernacht of 1129, by the Landgraf von Brunn-Scheltzen. This was, in itself, a very curious act, since the Landgraf was preoccupied with a private war, and had not shown any interest in remote Falkensburg before (nor, indeed, has he since).

Whatever the reason, Bratpfilze are now a firm fixture of Falkensburger cuisine, especially on festive occasions such as Schattenmannfeuernacht or the Feast of the Numinous Return. The wealthy consume several variations on the common theme, mostly distinguished by the different spices added to the oil prior to frying the mushrooms.

Historically, the poor have tended to eat only the basic recipe, and then only on special occasions. This appears to be changing, however, with the recent establishment of the Pfilzenfabrik - to date the only workshop in the world to be operated entirely by clockworks - by the eponymous (and strangely-named) Grafin von Blau. The Pfilzenfabrik is built out from one of the remaining fragments of the city walls, which may account for the fact that no reliable witnesses have observed any cooking oil, fuel or mushrooms being delivered.

The sheer scale of the Grafin's operation has brought the price of basic Bratpfilzen crashing down, to the point where the Molkstrasse Guild attempted to have the Grafin prosecuted under Falkensburg's Communal Code for impersonating a noblewoman. The prosecution failed, however, due to the fact that the Grafin has never, as far as is known, entered the city, and has not displayed any arms on her property. The Guild, understandably, remains unhappy, but the common citizenry of Falkensburg are relishing the opportunity to gorge themselves on cut-price Bratpfilze.

- the Eclecticon

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