Tongue Blood Sausage

Boudin de Langue

[Tongue Blood Sausage]

Paris is filled to the brim with little stores that sell produits du terroir, artisanal products from different regions of France: condiments and spices, jam and honey, cookies and candy, traditional canned dishes such as cassoulet or duck confit… You push the door and feel like you’ve stepped right into Hansel and Gretel‘s bread house, complete with cake roof and sugar windows.

Having read that fairy tale and learned my lesson, I am usually a little suspicious of such stores: it has been my experience that they often sell products that look really nifty with their handwritten labels and grandma-made-it-just-for-you packaging, but turn out to be nothing worth rolling on the floor with the spoon in your mouth (which is dangerous, I might add) when you get home and try them.

Besides, they usually charge an arm and a leg for them, or at least much more than you would pay if you were to buy them from the source. They rely heavily on the impulse purchase factor, and the fact that the goods are so out of context in the cute boutique, that it might not strike you as unreasonable to pay 10 euros for a box of crackers you might not even like that much.

When I noticed earlier this year that a new store called Les Papilles Gourmandes (papilles meaning tastebuds) had opened on the lower end of the rue des Martyrs, I peeked inside briefly, and dismissed it as belonging to the category described above. The name also sounded very uninspired (there is another shop called “Les Pipalottes Gourmandes” a few blocks away, how happy they must be) and, what can I say, names are important to me.

However, someone tipped me off recently on the fact that said shop sold Jean-Yves Bordier’s excellent hand-made butter from St-Malo, and although I’ve been able to find it at several other places in Paris before (at the restaurant Chez Michel in particular), this is a much more convenient location for me.

So I paid them a visit last week-end, and this made me revise my first judgement completely: instead of the usual canned and jarred suspects, Les Papilles Gourmandes displays a mouthwatering range of fresh regional products — including charcuterie from Les Aldudes — that seems to have been selected with care and very good taste. I got myself a little package of salted Bordier butter (it’s best to buy it in smaller quantities more frequently), plus a couple of other things that were quite distinctly calling my name.

And among them was this boudin de langue, a tongue and blood sausage (whoever said “eww” in the back, don’t think I didn’t hear you). Freckled like a saucisson but chocolate-colored like boudin noir, it had meaty pieces of pork tongue in the center, and looked like nothing I had ever laid my eyes on — a precious addition to the gallery where I keep quirky works of charcuterie art.

As I soon learned from the shopkeeper, boudin de langue (alternatively called boudin à la langue) is a specialty from Alsace, and this particular one comes from the Maison Kirn, a renowned charcuterie that was first established in Strasbourg in 1904. So great is their success that they now operate a brasserie and a few more shops, and even sell their products in Japan through the Seibu chain of department stores.

Four slices of boudin de langue were thus purchased, thickly cut as per the shopkeeper’s advice, who explained that this was the best way to enjoy their texture. We were invited for dinner at our neighbors’ appartment that night for what would probably be the last cheese fondue of the season, and this would be an ideal appetizer to nibble on while we waited for the cheese to melt.

I took a late afternoon nap, and just as I was emerging, still in that hazy state between dreams and conscious thoughts, I had a vision. Now, when people have visions, some see characters from holy scriptures, summoning them to do this or that, others might find the solution to world issues such as poverty or global warming — I usually see food. And in this case, I saw what I would do with the tongue and blood sausage: one could of course serve it on its own like slices of saucisson, but I opted to cut it into little bites, each of them on a thin slice of rye bread, and topped with a sliver of caramelized apple.

This was very well received, and I so enjoyed the moment when I proudly announced what it was (boudin de langue is so much fun to say), prompting cries of hungry curiosity. The sausage had a very pleasant earthy and peppery flavor, its mild sweetness well brought out by the apple, and its supple texture did great with the toasted bread. I’ll definitely go back to the store for more, and will make it my personal duty to taste my way through their selection.

Les Papilles Gourmandes
26 rue des Martyrs in the 9th
01 45 26 42 89
(You can also sample their products at the tasting counter, from noon till 2pm, Tuesday to Friday.)

  • I certainly didn’t say eww on the background, Clotilde :) Blood sausage is very popular back home, especially during the winter holidays, and I happen to like it a lot. I have never seen a tongue and blood sausage version though, and am very intrigued now!

  • Alisa

    Oh, that eww, was me.
    Until I saw your picture of the bits with the carmelized apple, then did you hear what I said? “Well, maybe I could taste that and take back that earlier comment” (just in case you hadn’t heard)

  • Neil

    And me. But I have discoverd that tasting many time turns the comment to “Ok, but not again” or “add that to the regulars list”. It’s in not trying and tasting that we lose.

  • SaraKa (from Macuisineétudiante)

    Ah well Clothilde, you may remember I’m from Strasbourg… I do remember the Saturday lunches, when my mum came back from the market with slices of charcuterie, including our saucisse de boudin, as we call it. With a slice of fresh bread from my uncle’s bakery, it was our week-end’s delight. Souvenirs, souvenirs… Thanks so much for letting the world know about these earthy delicacies…

  • I read produits du terroir…products of terror!!!
    I didn’t say EWWW, I said, “You better get a bucket!” in the fashion of old Mr. Creosote…

  • Aoife

    “the last cheese fondue of the season”! so french! i love it.

  • I find this Saucisse de Boudin here in Germany a lot. My husband enjoys it very much whereas I would rather be on the “eeww”-side of it … next time I’ll try with your pommes caramélisées though …

  • I’m a fan of boudin noir (or black pudding as we call it in the UK). Here it is traditionally seen as a breakfast thing – with bacon, egg, sausage, mushrooms, grilled tomato… It’s also been reasonably fashionable here with scallops – a good pairing. But I also like the French way with apple and creamy mashed potatoes.
    Typically, British black pudding tends to have a finer texture, without the larger pieces of back-fat. And the Spanish version is often flavoured with paprika which is good. I would love to taste this chunkier version with tongue though – and your little bite size pieces look heavenly!

  • Actually, there is a polish coldcut that is very similar to this– however, there is no blood. Rather, it’s just slices of beef tongue in aspic. Most delicious with some mustard in a sandwich. I’d be curious to try the French version…

    – Mark

  • Yum! I like the idea of carmalized apple– intriguing and makes sense.

  • elise

    We have the same in Holland, it even looks exactly like it, and boudin/apple is of course a very classical combination. I adore it!

  • I too read that as ‘terror’ and was concerned… I love your description of the shop type – it perfectly describes some places at which I’ve made over-priced purchases!

  • Excellente, cette tranche de vie sur les Papilles Gourmandes ! J’y cours.

    GP

  • Hi Clothilde,
    Parts of my family grew up on farms, so eating blood sausages was and still is something completely normal to them. To them…
    I don”t know why, but I never adapted this food preference. My grandpa favours his blood sausages pan-roasted, even if I wasn”t brave enough to try it yet, I actually do like the smell in the kitchen while he prepares it. Maybe some day I”ll give it a go ;)

  • Walt N

    Dear Clotilde,

    Living so far from Europe, I have no source for good ‘ol boudin noir. However, there is a Polish deli (yes, lots of packaged goods and relatively high prices) that carries something called kiska, which is similar to what you show. They also have a version where the tounge and fat are chopped up into little cubes, which I find easier to take. Fascinating that it is made in Alsace as well. Thanks for the post.

    Walt

  • Moi je dois avouer que je succombe volontiers à ces petites épiceries pleines de choses souvent plus jolies que vraiment bonnes… près de chez moi rue lecourbe beau et bon (http://beauetbon.free.fr ) est bien jolie
    voilou :-)

  • Mmm…I ate beef tongue for the first time this week, and it was actually good…I think that is a good start for now–I just don’t think I’m quite ready for the blood part!

  • I’m so glad you live in my neighborhood, you are continually boosting my civic pride :)

    –Maitresse
    (rue Rodier/Condorcet)

  • I have discoverd that tasting many time turns the comment to “Ok, but not again” or “add that to the regulars list”. It’s in not trying and tasting that we lose.

  • Had a chance to try this boudin noir while visiting paris. It was very good. See here.

  • Jim

    Blood and tongue sausage was very popular in the Milwaukee area due to all of the German settlers. I’m 59 and as a child we had it regularly. Both Klements and Usingers made it but I only am sure that Usinger does at this time (I just ordered some—delicious!)

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