Soft pretzels make the world go 'round... at least, they do for those who have an undeniable love for their soft, squishy interiors, and that perfect, golden-brown, and salty exterior. History says that the origins of pretzels date back to 610 A.D. in Italy, where they were used by Italian monks as rewards for children. Since then, they've become a staple around the world with many countries adopting a basic recipe to reflect their own flavors and styles.

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Anyone who loves pretzels will know that a soft pretzel is only as good as the dip that goes alongside it, though. Any basic pretzel screams for something delicious and flavorful to go along with it and thus brings forth the question: which dips are so out of the box, so tasty, and so addictive that they're sure to reign over the others? There's only one way to find out and to do that, it's time to explore the world of (unconventional) pretzel sides so that you can enjoy even more about this OG Italian snack.

Fig Jam With Melted Brie

Normally, fig jam and brie would be saved for a cheese plate but in the case of a soft pretzel, it pulls double duty. The salt on the outside of the pretzel is a no-brainer when it comes to a sweet and salty pairing with something like fig jam, and the melted brie serves as an elevated cheese dip. The combination of all three of these things together is heavenly, especially for anyone who is a fan of a good cheese plate and some fruit preserves.

Seasoned Herb Olive Oil

Just as diners would be served some fresh, crusty bread in an Italian restaurant, pretzels can be used the same way! They absorb the oil just as well (if not better) and are a great blank slate to all of those herbaceous flavors. Dried herbs such as oregano, thyme, parsley, and garlic are a great way to jazz up a plain pretzel and make it sing a little. Plus, it's a pretty healthy alternative to a dip.

Chocolate Or Dulce de Leche

For a little more indulgence, some chocolate or dulce de leche are both decadent ways to treat a pretzel. It goes without saying that the salty pretzel will add a nice balance to either of these and, if you're looking for a healthier, more bold flavor, try some melted dark chocolate instead.

Homemade Beer Cheese Dip

Beer cheese isn't as challenging to make as you might think it is, it just takes a little bit of patience and the right type of cheese. For starters, the cheese should have a low melting point which basically means at the slightest hint of heat, the cheese will begin to sweat, on the verge of melting. Cheddar works beautifully for this but a soft cheese, such as brie, will also work well. Next, pick your favorite beer and the rest is easy as pie... or, in this case, beer cheese.

A Side Of Soup

Basically, any food situation where you'd be served bread as a side is a situation where a pretzel could be a viable alternative. Soup, for example, can only be a great experiment especially when it's thick and creamy, such as broccoli and cheddar or clam chowder. This is a great winter-style way to have pretzels.

Poutine-Style With Gravy And Cheese Curds

We're taking some inspiration from Canada for this one and turning to the one and only combination that all fries should have: gravy and cheese curds. The best way to do this is to rip the pretzel up into pieces (as heartbreaking as it is to do) but trust us, it's worth it. When that hot gravy starts to slowly melt the exterior of those cheese curds, it's pure magic on a pretzel.

Spicy Honey Mustard

It's like regular honey mustard but kicked up a notch! Honey mustard as a dipping sauce without the spice is great on its own but it's really that kick and hint of spiciness that signifies greatness. With a pretzel having a mild flavor on its own, there's something about adding sweet, spicy, and tangy to the mix that just elevates everything and leaves us craving even more.

Spinach And Artichoke Dip

Let's put it this way: anything with cheese is definitely a go. Spinach and artichoke dip is super easy to make but if you don't feel like making your own, just grab your favorite and heat it up. The cheese in the dip echoes that salty pretzel flavor while the artichoke gives it some fresh tang, and the spinach adds body and hardiness.

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