Toulouse, more than just a sausage, it’s my home. The pink city’s most famous export is an anaconda of a sausage, a seemingly simple mishmashmosh of pork, salt, pepper, nutmeg with a touch of Toulousaine pazazz.
It’s a sausage that travels. You don’t have to rummage far through the supermarket fridge to find a British Toulouse sausage. And it’s good stuff. The thin version packs less welly than the thick rendition and you can now see the French export appearing at some British farmer’s markets. In Bexhill-on-Sea the Happy Pig Company sell their very own version along with Breton and Normandy sausages. And apparently it’s the real deal.
“A number of people were asking us if we would do sausages like they have in France – so we went there. We toured around Northern France and eventually hit upon the classic little French man in his charcuterie.
After about four hours drinking Armagnac, he finally gave us his recipes for genuine French sausages,” says Keith Beard, one of the founders of the company.
As good as Toulouse sausages are, and I’m sure the Happy Pig Company’s very own version is a corker, there is one sausage that doesn’t travel so well. In fact, I’ve never seen this one in a British supermarket and the day I do I’ll know the French have invaded.
It’s Andouillette and, not to put too finer point on it, it absolutely stinks and we’re not talking good stink. It reminds me of the gentlemen’s toilet in a Hanoi cafe I used to frequent. There was no toilet, just a wall. Enough said. And that’s what Andouillette smells like. A bad toilet.
It all makes sense when you know what it’s made from – a pig’s colon. As Wikipedia puts it: “The aroma is due to the pig colon (chitterlings) utilised in the sausage, which incorporates some of the same compounds that contribute to the odour of excrement.”
Alors… would you eat a sausage that requires a clothes peg? Believe it or not, the sausage tastes pretty good. Do you think you’ll be barbecuing Andouillette this summer? What’s the stinkiest supper you’ve had?