HALL OF FAME OF PORK (VII)
Behold the andouillette de Troyes. Rarely a crowd-pleaser, sometimes a room-clearer, and not to be confused with either the firmer, smoked French andouille sausage or its distant Cajun relative, a good andouillette is a fine and noble thing made of coarse and ignoble stuff. Specifically it is a loose assemblage of pig parts, roughly two parts large intestine to one part chopped stomach, stuffed into more intestine. Cut into one and—well, fragrant is the polite way to put it.
Ed Behr, in an excellent story about andouillette in the latest issue of his always excellent journal The Art of Eating quotes a former prime minister of France and mayor of Lyon who put it this way: "Politics is like an andouillette, it should smell a little of shit but not too much."
I first tasted an andouillette somewhere in Lyon about ten years ago. Half enjoying, half put off by the steamy funk, I liked it enough to eat them again every now and then in Paris since then. The flavor is…I was about to write "earthy" but that's wrong: it is deeply animal-y. I've had some good ones (and a couple of literal stinkers) but never a great one until last week, following Behr's suggestions, I made my way the tiny l'Estaminet d'Arômes et Cépages in the Marché des Enfants Rouge, a covered market in the Marais. The andouillette served here is from La Charcuterie Daniel Thierry, considered the best in Troyes. Grilled to a papery crispness on the outside, the smell was mild but the taste of the meat was deep and alluring. As usual Ed Behr gets it precisely right : "A good andouillette is rich, meaty, tender, and—almost like some distant, suspect relative of a truffle—highly sensual."