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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Andouillettes. The Sausages of France I.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan Newman
Updated 2018

Andouillettes may not be the most popular sausage in France, though they are up there in the top five along with being the most talked about.  French men and women have arguments as well as lifelong disputes over the best andouillettesAndouillette sausages are part of France’s culinary history and for the locals are a comfort food. For the visitor, I would call these pig and calf tripe and tubing sausages an acquired taste.

Tripe wrapped in tripe.

The AAAAA seen on many menu offerings for andouillette sausages is not the French for a sigh of contentment after having eaten an incredible sausage. The letters AAAAA on the menu indicates andouillettes that have been made by a member of the Association Amicale des Amateurs d'Andouillette Authentiques. The Friendly Association of the Lovers of Authentic Andouillette sausages, AAAAA for short. This is a sausage manufacturer’s association, dedicated to preserving the traditional andouillette sausages, making them more popular and getting the public to buy the sausages with the AAAAA label. 

Restaurants will make a note on their menu when the andouillettes they serve are entitled to the label. Despite the apparent self-aggrandizement the French consumer long ago accepted AAAAA on these sausages as a sign of quality.

Andouillette  sausages on French menu:

Andouillette AAAAA Grillée Sauce Moutarde – Grilled andouillette AAAAA sausages served with a mustard sauce.
Andouillette à la Lyonnaise – Andouillette sausages prepared in the manner of the City of Lyon.  The Lyonaise like their andouillette sausages with fried shallots, and or onions, and cook them in white wine and butter.
L'Andouillette AAAAA Grillée à la Crème de Camembert – Andouillette AAAAA sausages grilled and served with a cream of Camembert cheese sauce.

Gratin d'Andouillette AAAAA à la Moutarde de Meaux et Mesclun de Salade -  AAAAA andouillette sausages, browned under the grill and served with  mustard from the town of Meaux, and a salad mesclun, a mixed green salad.

This mustard’s unique taste is created by mixing the mustard seeds with water rather than crushing them. The town of Meaux, even more famous for its Brie AOC cheese, is in the department of Seine-et-Marne in the Ile de France, about 40 km (25 miles) from Paris.

Excellent barnyard flavor

Andouillettes are made with the intestines and tripe of pigs; some manufacturers used calve's meat and others are a combination of the two.  The sausage casing used is entirely natural, and so there is no fixed diameter for the final sausage. Along with all the tubing comes salt, pepper and spices and a strong smell.

Where do the best andouillette sausages come from?

L'Andouillette de Cambrai is a favorite from the old regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie. Since 1-1-2016 those two were regions were merged in the new super-region of Hauts-de-France.  The Andouillette de Troyes comes from the old region of Champagne-Ardenne since 1-1-2016 along with the Alsace and Lorraine part of the super region of Le Grande Est.
Celebrating Andouillette sausages are quite a number Confréries, brother and sisterhoods that celebrate foods and wines.  

From the town of Saint-Georges-sur-Loire comes the
Confrérie Gastronomique Andouillette au Layon.
Their motto is
Apprécie la bonne cuisine et les bons vins, ton âme sera bonne,
 Enjoying good food and wine is good for your soul

The town of  Layon- Saint-Georges-sur-Loire in  is the old province of Anjou, the home of the Plantagenet King of England; now part of the department of Maine et Loire, Pays de la Loire
Andouillettes  and Andouilles

Andouillettes for the visitor are sometimes confused with another sausage, the andouille. At first glance, there would seem to be many similarities, as they are both made with pork and or veal tripe and intestines, but there the similarities end.  Andouillettes have a strong bite and a strong smell while andouilles are smoked and milder and made with different herbs and spices. American friends have compared andouillettes to different types of Cajun chitlins, also called chitterlings.

I tried andouillettes with a robust mustard sauce, and I found that there are other French sausages I prefer.

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Bryan G. Newman

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