April 26 is National Pretzel Day and companies such as Philly Pretzel Factory and Snyder’s of Hanover will be celebrating this special holiday by offering free pretzels. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell declared the holiday in 2003 to acknowledge the importance of the pretzel to the state’s history and economy. While there are many stories about the origin of pretzels and their name, their introduction to North America can easily be traced back to German immigrants in the 19th century. These immigrants became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, and the popularity of pretzels soon spread throughout eastern Pennsylvania as pretzel bakeries started popping up over the countryside. Their presence became even greater and spread to the cities as mass production methods became available in the 1900s. Soon, soft pretzels became a signature Philadelphia food, serving as a convenient snack and even a quick meal. The large Italian population, with extensive baking skills, in Philadelphia played a major role in this growth in popularity. To read more about the history of pretzels, click here. Today, Pennsylvania produces 80% of the nation’s pretzels and this production is largely concentrated in the Philadelphia area.
Perhaps rivaled only by the cheesesteak, no food is more iconic of Philadelphia, PA than the soft pretzel. Fresh, soft and chewy, sprinkled with just the right amount of coarse salt, and typically found in a sort of slab where a number of pretzels are stuck together – a true Philly soft pretzel is a favorite snack for many people. In honor of National Pretzel Day, Philly Pretzel Factory will be giving away a free pretzel to every person who visits their stores on Sunday. In addition to a free pretzel, the first 100 customers at every location April 26 will receive a voucher for a free pretzel every day for the month of May.
Philly Pretzel Factory considers itself Home of the Real Soft Pretzel, and as the world’s largest Philly-style pretzel bakery (serving over 100 million pretzels each year) and well over 100 franchised locations, most would agree that the title is well deserved. Fresh dough is made daily at each location, hand twisted and baked throughout the day, so you know your pretzel will always be soft and chewy and served hot out of the oven. Fat free, cholesterol free, and a good source of protein, the soft pretzel is far better for you than many other Philadelphia favorites. Philly Pretzel Factory pretzels are available in traditional (lightly salted), unsalted and assorted seasonings and flavors. You can choose from the standard size, mini or bite-size (called rivets). Be the hit of your next party by picking up one of their party platter options. While most Philadelphians go for the favorite yellow mustard as their topping of choice, you might try one of their other signature dips such as melted cheddar cheese, honey mustard or even chocolate. Feeling adventurous? Try a pretzel dog, pepperoni melt pretzel, spicy pretzel sausages, or combine the Philly favorite duo and opt for the cheesesteak pretzel. For a sweet treat, order a cinnamon sugar pretzel. Each is made with that same famous pretzel dough.
While the soft pretzel might be what first comes to mind when you think of pretzels in the area, the crunchy hard pretzel is also a Pennsylvania tradition. Sturgis Pretzel House in Lititz, Pennsylvania became the first commercial hard pretzel bakery in the United States in 1861. Snyder’s of Hanover, another Pennsylvania-based pretzel company, will be joining in the National Pretzel Day celebrations with a National Pretzel Day Sweepstakes. Follow @Snyders_Hanover on Twitter or Instagram and share how you will celebrate National Pretzel Day using the hashtags #Pretzelbilities and #Sweeps to enter for a chance to win a family vacation for four. Entry period is April 24 through April 26. Click here for Official Rules.
Whether you like your pretzels soft or crunch, with yellow mustard or with creative dips or toppings, go out and celebrate this favorite snack on Sunday. And if you’re lucky enough to be near a Philly Pretzel Factory, don’t forget to stop by for your free pretzel.
Here are just a few of the Philly Pretzel Factory locations to visit in Bucks County and Philadelphia:
(Hours vary by location, so be sure to call or check the website for opening hours.)
7366 Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19136
1749 Street Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
12363 Academy Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154
4216 Woodbourne Road
Levittown, PA 19057
1506 E. Lincoln Highway
Langhorne, PA 19047
1029 2nd Street Pike
Richboro, PA 18954
To find the location near you, click here.