À la zingara

In French cuisine, à la zingara (lit. "gypsy style"), sometimes spelled as à la singara,[1] is a garnish or sauce consisting of chopped ham, tongue, mushrooms and truffles combined with tomato sauce, tarragon and sometimes madeira.[2][3][4] Additional ingredients may include white wine, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and orange rind.[5][6] The sauce is prepared by cooking the ingredients until the mixture reduces and thickens.[7] This garnish is served with meat such as veal,[5] poultry and sometimes eggs.

À la zingara
Gypsy sauces from Kühne, Homann, Kania, Ja!, and Kaufland brands
Main ingredientsham, tongue, mushrooms and truffles combined with tomato sauce, tarragon and sometimes madeira

Gypsy sauce (German: Zigeunersauce)[8] may have originated from à la zingara. Gypsy sauce is prepared using many of the same ingredients as à la zingara. Simpler versions of gypsy sauce, including commercial varieties, typically use a lesser amount of ingredients, such as tomato paste, Hungarian paprika, bell peppers and sometimes onion.

À la zingara

À la zingara has sometimes been referred to as singara and zingara sauce.[3][5] Conversely, à la zingara has also been referred to as separate from zingara sauce, such as in the 2009 book Dictionary of Food authored by Charles Sinclair and published by Bloomsbury Publishing,[4][lower-alpha 1] which has separate entries for à la zingara and zingara sauce, referring to à la zingara as "France In the gypsy style, i.e. with ham, tongue, mushrooms and tomatoes" and zingara sauce as "France A sauce for veal and poultry made to a variety of recipes and little used."[4]

An 1869 recipe for blonde veal cutlets with ham à la zingara uses espagnole sauce and ham.[10] The espagnole sauce is cooked with the veal, and then later the fat is skimmed from the sauce, which is then run through a sieve, after which it is served with the dish.[10] An 1858 recipe for veal cutlets à la zingara is similar, with the addition of mushrooms and truffles in the center of the dish surrounding the veal and ham.[11] After the meats are cooked and plated, The espagnole sauce is cooked in the pan the veal was cooked in, lemon juice and cayenne pepper are added, and then the sauce is poured over the cutlets.[11]

Gypsy sauce

A collection of commercially available Zigeunersaucen in Germany, October 2020.

Gypsy sauce is a sauce or demi-glace sauce used as an ingredient in dishes and as a condiment.[12] The term "zigeuner" has been used in Germany for over a century regarding the sauce.[8][13] Some companies mass-produce it, including Remia, Verstegen and Unilever.[13][14][15][16][17] Some controversy occurred in 2013 regarding use of the word "gypsy" on the labels of commercial varieties of the sauce and at German public building cafeterias.[8][18]


The term Zigeuner has been used for over 100 years in Germany in reference to the sauce.[8][13] This term was used in the 1903 book Le guide culinaire written by Auguste Escoffier.[19]


Gypsy sauce is used in Austrian, French and German cuisine.[8][12][20]


Contemporary gypsy sauce is typically prepared using tomato paste, Hungarian paprika, bell peppers[21][22][23] and sometimes onion.[15][24] It may be prepared as a spicy-hot sauce.[21] Canned whole or crushed tomatoes are sometimes used.[23] Additional ingredients used in its preparation include onion, garlic, chicken broth, milk, a sweetener such as sugar or honey, salt and pepper.[21][23]

Another preparation of the sauce includes tomato slices or tomato purée, onions, smoked tongue, ham, mushrooms, truffles, white wine or Madeira wine, butter, paprika and pepper,[12][20] which is very similar to the preparation of à la zingara. The simpler preparation of the sauce may have originated from the more complex à la zingara sauce.[lower-alpha 2][lower-alpha 3]


Gypsy sauce is commercially mass-produced by some companies, such as Remia, Verstegen and Unilever, which is marketed under Unilever's Knorr brand name.[13][14][15][16][17]

Use in dishes

Gypsy sauce is used in the preparation of Zigeunerschnitzel, a German schnitzel dish.[24][26]

Name controversy

In August 2013, a group representing Romani and Sinti peoples called for commercial varieties of the sauce to be renamed, stating that use of the word gypsy is offensive and discriminatory, and has negative connotations.[15][27] The group requested that five German food companies rename the sauce, suggesting using the name "spicy sauce" or another similar name.[14][15] Authorities in Hanover, Germany issued an internal memo in October 2013 informing city staffers that they should avoid using the term to describe a type of schnitzel served in the cafeterias of city-run public buildings, instead calling it "Balkan-style" or "Budapest-style".[8][18] During this time, food manufacturers essentially opposed renaming the commercial brands of the sauce. The German Association of Culinary Foodstuffs Manufacturers stated through a spokesperson that the sauce has significant brand recognition under this name, and that the word gypsy has been used for over 100 years to represent the sauce.[8] However, in August 2020, companies such as Knorr replaced the name with "Hungarian-style paprika sauce", citing the recent debates about racism, spurred by the George Floyd protests.[28][29][30]

See also


  1. The Dictionary of Food was also published by A & C Black in 2005.[9]
  2. "Die mit Paprika und Tomaten angerührte Zigeunersoße der fast foodindustrie unterscheidet sich erheblich von den Schlemmereien à la zingara vergangener Zeiten, bei denen zu dieser Zubereitungsart Trüffeln gehörten." (in German)[25]
  3. "Zingara zigeunersauce: demi-glace mit Tomatenpüree Madeirawein, Schinkenstreifwen, Champignons, Trüffeln and Pökelzunge" (in German)[12]


  1. Tennessee, Society of the Army of the (1877). Report of the Proceedings of the Reunions of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee. p. 124.
  2. Senn, C.H. (1908). The Menu Book. Food & Cookery Publishing Agency. p. 209.
  3. Escoffier, A. (1941). The Escoffier Cook Book: A Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery. International Cookbook Series. Crown. p. 432. ISBN 978-0-517-50662-2.
  4. Sinclair, C. (2009). Dictionary of Food: International Food and Cooking Terms from A to Z. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. pt1453. ISBN 978-1-4081-0218-3.
  5. Ranhofer, C. (1916). The Epicurean: A Complete Treatise of Analytical and Practical Studies on the Culinary Art. R. Ranhofer. p. 511.
  6. The Hotel/motor Hotel Monthly. Clissold Publishing Company. 1916. p. 7.
  7. Senn, C. (1915). The Book of Sauces. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-4290-1254-6.
  8. "Hannover finds 'Gypsy' schnitzel tasteless". The Local. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  9. Dictionary of food : international food and cooking terms from A to Z. WorldCat. OCLC 61129401.
  10. Gouffé, J.; Ronjat, E. (1869). The Royal Cookery Book. Maxtor. p. 349. ISBN 978-84-9001-811-8. (subscription required)
  11. Francatelli, C.E. (1858). The Modern Cook ... Eleventh Edition, Carefully Revised, and Considerably Enlarged. Richard Bentley. p. 275.
  12. Bamps, Jean-Bernard; Lennert, Joachim (1999). Gourmet-Sprachführer Französisch (in German). Hueber Verlag. p. 287. ISBN 9783190032723.
  13. "Roma boos om zigeunersaus". De Telegraaf (in Dutch). 14 August 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  14. "Zigeunersauce heißt trotz Protesten weiter Zigeunersauce". Focus (in German). 8 October 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  15. "Roma group: 'Gypsy sauce' is offensive". The Local. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  16. "Sinti und Roma wollen Zigeunersauce umbenennen lassen". Focus (in German). 15 August 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  17. "Knorr Zigeuner Sauce". Knorr.de. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  18. Boulter, Caitlin (December 2015). "Roma Participation in Mainstream Swedish and German Newspaper Discourse" (PDF). Working paper #90. European Centre for Minority Issues. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 January 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  19. Nachrichtenfernsehen, n-tv (14 August 2013). "Sinti und Roma fordern neuen Namen: Ist "Zigeunersauce" rassistisch?". n-tv.de (in German). Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  20. Pohl, Heinz Dieter (2008). Von Apfelstrudel bis Zwetschkenröster. Carl Ueberreuter GmbH. p. 136. ISBN 9783800073696. (subscription required)
  21. McGavin, Jennifer (1 January 2010). "How to Make Zigeunerschnitzel (German Hot Paprika Sauce)". About.com Food. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  22. Spohn, N. (2012). German Food Recipes. Hauser Publishing. p. pt28. ISBN 978-1-939534-03-3.
  23. Curtis, M. (2008). The Practical Vegetarian. AuthorHouse. pp. 102–104. ISBN 978-1-4678-6020-8.
  24. "Schnitzel mania!". Los Angeles Times. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  25. Hund, Wulf Dietmar (2000). Zigeunerbilder: Schnittmuster rassistischer Ideologie (in German). Duisburger Institut für Sprach- und Sozialforschung. p. 129. ISBN 9783927388741. (subscription required)
  26. Oetker Verlag (2013). German Cooking Today. Edel Books. p. pt47. ISBN 978-3-7670-1202-8.
  27. Heine, Matthias (15 August 2013). "Schmeckt linguistisch gesäubertes Essen besser?". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  28. "Germany's Knorr Ditches 'Gypsy Sauce' Name". AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE. 17 August 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  29. "Neuer Name nach Rassismus-Debatte – Heilbronn: Knorr benennt "Zigeunersauce" um" [New Name after Racism Debate – Heilbronn: Knorr renames "Gypsy Sauce"]. Südwestrundfunk (in German). 17 August 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  30. "Debatte über rassistische Namen: Knorr benennt Zigeunersauce um" [Debate about Racist Names: Knorr Renames Gypsy Sauce]. Die Welt (in German). 16 August 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
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