Boudin – A Sausage. The Boudin Blanc and the Boudin Noir; Pork Sausages and Black Puddings. The Sausages of France II.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman


A Boudin Blanc with creamed potatoes and braised lettuce.
Boudin – A sausage.

The word saucisse arrived in England in 1066 with the cooks of William the Conqueror and those of his Norman-French barons. The Norman cooks brought hundreds of French words into the English kitchen, and the word saucisse became sausage in English. Sausages would go on to play a leading part in the traditional British and Irish breakfast. As French cuisine developed uncooked sausages became boudins with saucisse and saucisson indicating salami or pre-cooked sausages, but that change never made it back across the channel.  For more about the French connection and the English kitchen, click here, and for more about the many other French sausages click here.
Choose your boudins
The boudin noir like the British and Irish black pudding is a pig's blood sausage.  On French restaurant menus boudins, blanc, and noir are the most popular sausages and maybe served grilled or fried.  Boudins will be on the menu for light lunches or dinner with smaller versions on the menu for an entrée, the French first course. Sausages, of course, will not be on a French breakfast menu. France’s Charcuterie -Traiteurs, the French delicatessens, are extraordinarily creative and in many, you will also find vegetarian boudins and seafood boudins.

Boudin d'Homard – A lobster sausage.

Boudin de Saumon –  A salmon sausage.

Boudin Vegetarian -A vegetable sausage

The Boudin Blanc – A pork sausage.
A boudin blanc is nearly always pork; when it is veal, beef or other meat, it will be clearly labeled.  (Some of the most highly rated boudins blanc are made with pork and cabbage, and then their provenance will be on the menu).

Boudins blanc on French menus:
Boudin Basque au Piment d'Espelette – A pork sausage from the Basque country made with the signature red peppers from the town of Espelette.

Boudin Blanc de Lapin et Pommes Caramélisées - A rabbit meat sausage accompanied by caramelized potatoes.

Boudin Blanc Grillé, Sauce Estragon – A grilled pork sausage served with a tarragon sauce. 

Boudin Blanc Maison au Porto  –  The restaurant's homemade pork sausage flavored with Port.
Boudin blanc served with braised kale.
The Boudin Noir – Black Pudding Sausages.
The Boudin Noir is made with a wide range of recipes that depend on local tradition though most do include onions, oatmeal, the herbs, though the herbs and spices may differ widely.   A French boudins noir is usually smaller than the black pudding sausages seen in the UK with the most popular just large enough for an individual serving.  The UK and Irish black puddings are made in large sizes, with fried or grilled slices, not a whole sausage part of a full traditional British or Irish breakfast. Boudins noirs will often be in menus with a variety of apple preparations which are the traditional French accompaniment.

The boudin noir on French menus:
Boudin Noir, Oignons et Pommes – Black pudding sausage served with onions and apples.

Croustillant de Boudin Noir sur une Purée de Pommes de Terre et Carottes – A crispy black pudding sausage served on pureed potatoes with carrots.

Ravioles de Boudin Noir - Ravioli stuffed with meat from a black pudding sausage.

Trio de Noix de Saint-Jacques, Boudin Noir et Foie Gras Poêlé – A triple meeting of flavors including the meat of the king scallop, a boudin noir, and lightly fried duck foie gras, fattened duck’s liver.
Boudin Noir served with choucroute.
Foire au Boudin de Mortagne-au-Perche.
The sausage fair in Mortagne-au-Perch.
If you like boudins noirs, black puddings, then visit the town of Mortagne-au-Perche, in Normandy, and you will begin to realize that the boudin noir is not a sausage for the French, British and the Irish alone; this is a sausage of importance to all humanity. From all over the world, in the spring, usually the third Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in March, sausage lovers come to the Mortagne-au-Perche sausage fair.   The fair is for all sausage lovers though the competition is only open to those who produce the black pudding sausages. 

Confrerie de Goûte Boudin.
These valiant knights work hard to prevent the import of low grade foreign imports.

In Mortagne-au-Perche sausage making reputations and history are on the line, and traditional rivalries attract supporters and sausage groupies. Over 100 producers and their supporting teams will be competing while others will be earning their keep by selling all types of sausages and food products. Since this is Normandy, the drink of choice is Norman cider.  The way the herbs are used and the method of preparation of the sausage is what makes the difference. The recipe will have been handed down through the generations and guarded closer than the secrets of Coca-Cola syrup.
Eating the product.
Join the boudin noir eating competition at the sausage fair.
The organizers of this international competition are the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte Boudin, the brother and sisterhood of the knights of the black pudding.  Should you limit your consumption of black pudding to a couple of slices for breakfast once or twice a month then you could not join these valiant knights; a true Knight of the Black Pudding must promise to eat at least one whole sausage a week for life.  This is a solemn promise and the would-be knight must take the oath with a long pronged fork that holds a sausage over a grill.
Boudin Noir aux Deux Pommes.
Black pudding accompanied by potatoes and apples.
If you feel the same way as these knights do about black puddings, get your travel guides out to double check the dates of the next fair.  Mortagne-au-Perche is in the department of Orne, Normandy and about 140 km  (87 miles) from Paris. The Tourist Information Office has an English website.
France has tens of different sausages with tens of different names; for a short introduction to those that may be on your menu anywhere in France click here for the link.
If you are feeling thirsty after the tastings at the fair visit the nearby town of Nogent-le-Rotrou, the headquarters of the cider tasters.  Nogent-le-Rotrou is just 30 km (20 miles), away from Mortagne-au-Perche and here is based the Commanderie Percheronne des Gouste-Cidre; this confrerie style brother and sisterhood promote all French ciders, and there are many. For more about French cider click here.
A traditional English breakfast
Just out of the frame are the accompanying bacon, tomatoes and baked beans!
Fried bread in bacon fat is the optional extra.


Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman


Copyright 2010, 2013, 2018.2019

For more information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

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