Mortagne-au-Perche Boudin Festival

Mortagne-au-Perche Boudin Festival
Normandy is one of the 18 regions of France, famous for beautiful, varied scenery and rich history. Numerous tourists visiting Normandy find delight in its cuisine, too. Regional specialties include cheeses, fish and seafood, cider, pastries, and boudin. The commune of Mortagne-au-Perche even hosts the annual Boudin Festival (Foire au boudin) that takes place in mid-March.

The term “boudin” refers to various kinds of sausage in French, Belgian, Luxembourg, German, Austrian, Acadian, Quebec, Creole and Cajun cuisine. It is an Anglo-Norman word that means “blood sausage”, “sausage” or “entrails in general”. The English word “pudding” was probably derived from “boudin”.

More specifically, boudin noir (“black boudin”) is a type of blood sausage made with pork and pig blood. In Britain a similar dish is called “black pudding”. Boudin noir is usually served with mashed potatoes, cooked apples or both.

In France, there are many regional varieties of boudin noir, and Mortagne-au-Perche is the place where you can sample plenty of them. It has even been nicknamed “the black pudding capital of France”. The annual boudin festival in Mortagne-au-Perche is organized by the Brotherhood of the Knights of Blood Sausage Tasting (Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte-Boudin).

The festival is held over two days in mid-March. Every year, more than three miles of blood sausage is eaten during the event. The festival features some of the world’s most talented producers of black pudding. The Knights of Black Pudding Tasting, clad in ceremonial robes, sample the numerous varieties of boudin submitted for the tasting competition and choose the best one depending on a whole set of criteria, from color and taste to innovation and quality of presentation.

Although the ingredients of classic boudin are simple (pork blood, pork fat and slow-cooked onions), its preparation requires skill and instincts that take years to master. A good boudin producer can recognize good blood by its color and knows the second the onions are cooked and just the right amount of seasoning to add. The competition in Mortagne-au-Perche is not easy to win, and producers put a lot of effort to make sure that their products are up to the par.

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