Guillaume Gaultier - 2010-03-09
Love it or hate it, there are no half measures and its staunchest supporters would sell their souls for a “Five A”. Those who turn their noses up at the mention of the andouillette have no idea what a treat they’re missing!
The genuine, one and only andouillette de Troyes is made using only a pig’s large intestine and stomach, cut into long strips, washed and scraped with a knife to remove any deposit. You’ll find no minced meat, or any other kind of offal, in an andouillette.
The genuine, unparalleled, pure pork andouillette de Troyes is pulled into its casing with string, never filled like an ordinary black pudding. Each pork butcher has his own technique but the aim is to get the strips inside the casing by pulling them with a string. The casing consists of a piece of large intestine that has not been cut up. Achieving a perfect cylindrical andouillette is difficult; they inevitably bulge, and never come in the same size, which is all part of the charm!
The intestines can be folded in two which means that the andouillettes have to be made individually, by hand, as at Charcuterie Thierry pork butcher’s in Sainte-Savine. The ends of the casing are then tucked inside the andouillette with a fingertip. The intestines can also be twisted and a metre-long andouillette cut up into individual portions. As a rule, an andouillette weighs between 150 and 180 grams which is how you will find them at Charcuterie Colin pork butcher’s in Chablis.
Once in their casings, the raw andouillettes are cooked in an aromatic stock, for which each pork butcher has his own secret recipe. They can be eaten cold, sliced or with an aperitif and can also be reheated or grilled in an oven, casserole dish or frying pan.
A good andouillette, the authentic and one and only “Five A”, is best enjoyed browned in a little butter over a low heat. Mustard sauce is used far too often to disguise the taste of examples that are andouillettes in name only and have nothing of the slightly wild, animal, musky flavour of the real thing…
Where to find good andouillettes
An andouillette de Troyes prepared in the Yonne? Yes! Genuine andouillette de Troyes does not necessarily come from Troyes, as Pierre-Brice Lebrun explains in his book L’andouillette de Troyes: “The “de Troyes” label should not be regarded solely in geographical terms, but rather as sanctioning a method of preparing andouillettes “à la ficelle” (using string). The andouillette de Troyes would gain nothing by having a PGI (protected geographical indication), as excellent examples are made in Burgundy, Brittany, Normandy and Touraine! But let’s not, for all that, confuse the andouillette with the andouille de Jargeau, de Guéméné or de Vire…”
The andouillette originated in Troyes though it’s no longer made there. The earliest written evidence of its existence in Troyes dates back to the “seventeenth day of September 1590” and was found in France’s national library, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. It has, however, remained faithful to the produce of its homeland: it goes beautifully with Chaource cheese and Pays d’Othe cider and is often served with Côte des Bars champagne and Briennois sauerkraut which, being the Aube, is naturally simmered in cider or champagne.
Supporters of authentic andouillette are a band of valiant gourmet knights who, fork in hand, make sure that the real and one and only “Five A” andouillette stays alive and well. The Association Amicale des Amateurs d'Andouillette Authentique (AAAAA, Friendly Association of Authentic Andouillette Lovers), made up of food critics, columnists and journalists, was founded in the 1960s by five famous gourmets who would gather twice a year to sample andouillettes and award their label to deserving producers. Eight producers benefit from this coveted label and have to prove themselves worthy of keeping the title every two years.
Andouillette is healthy, consisting only of slightly marbled guts from which the fat has been removed. A plain andouillette weighing 150 grams contains less than 400 kcal, barely twice as many as rib steak and salmon. But if you like it, that’s all that matters…
The 8 producers with the AAAAA seal of approval
Charcuterie Daniel & Christophe Thierry
73, avenue Gallieni
Tel: +33 (0)3 25 79 08 74
Charcuterie Marc Colin
3, place Charles De Gaulle
Tel: +33 (0)3 86 42 10 62
Gilbert Lemelle AT France
ZI des Écrevolles
5, avenue des Tirverts
Tel: +33 (0)3 25 70 42 50
8, rue de la République
Tel: +33 (0)2 47 52 65 33
11, rue de la Fontaine Saint Louis
Tel: +33 (0)3 25 29 85 17
Rue de la Sorrière
Tel: +33 (0)2 31 66 67 00
33, rue Ernest Renan
Tel: +33 (0)1 47 25 49 80
Saloir de Josselin
ZI La Belle Alouette
Tel: +33 (0)2 97 75 60 31
Where to sample excellent andouillettes
Les Crieurs de vin
4, place Jean Jaurès
Tel: +33 (0)3 25 40 01 01
From €20 to €30.
1, Cour du Mortier d'Or
Tel: +33 (0)3 25 73 62 42
Sauerkraut with homemade cider and andouillette AAAAA.
11, Rue Pithou
Tel: +33 (0)3 25 73 12 65
Andouillette and calf’s head.
La Toque Baralbine (Bib Gourmand)
18, rue Nationale
Tel: +33 (0)3 25 27 20 34
From €50 to €100.