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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cook With Me: World Premiere Black Pudding Competition, Normandy

Thank you for being here, dear readers, and I want you to know I (try to) leave no stone unturned when it comes to reporting the "must knows" of the food world.

Not to be confused with the World Black Pudding Throwing Contest held in September in Ramsbottom near Lancashire and Yorkshire, there is another feat, not feet, of Black Pudding coming up at the end of this week. It is none other than the World Premiere Black Pudding Competition, held in Mortagne au Perche, in Normandy.

You'll know when you get to Mortagne au Perche because of the massive black Percheron horses grazing in the fields. Perhaps the horses as well as the competition is overseen by Knights of the Black Pudding. Don't you love it? 

I learned about the competition through a specialist, Marc Frederic, who is a Boucher-Charcutier-Traiteur from Devon, England and who is intensely interested in bringing back the "authentic" method of production which uses real blood, instead of dried blood. A lot of the tradition of preparing the black pudding changed because of Mad Cow Disease. 

So what is Black Pudding?

It is "the classic boudin de Paris, a creamy perfection consisting of equal parts blood, fat and onions. It also welcomes regional variations from across France and the world. Enjoyed with apple, fine rose wine or calvados." 

le boudin 
Photo of Black Pudding from the Mortagne site. 

There you have it..but locally, I doubt we could have it. So please peruse and dream. 

                             Inscription on the Medale. Photo courtesy of La Confrerie du Goute

A view of the 2011 Competition.

I've edited slightly, but for the most part (which part you might well ask...) here are the rules as they appear on the Black Pudding site. The dates are a bit off as this was for 2011. 

(I find ARTICLE 10 to be the most compelling.)

organized by : the Guild of the Knights of the "GOUTE-BOUDIN"
ARTICLE 1  On the 18th and 19th of March 2011, in MORTAGNE AU PERCHE, Orne, FRANCE, the guild of the "Goute-Boudin" (Tasters of black pudding) will be holding its 49th international competition for the best black pudding.
ARTICLE 2   The competition will take place on Friday, March 18th and Saturday March 19th in the grounds of the festival du BOUDIN in Mortagne-au-Perche.
ARTICLE 3  All French and foreign artisan pork butchers may participate in the competition. Competitors will have to certify, on their honour, that they have, themselves, made the products entered.
ARTICLE 4  In recognition of the many varieties of black pudding made in Europe, several zones have been created and there will be a selection process for each zone and country leading to the award for the best foreign entry.
ARTICLE 5  Competitors should address their registration(s) before March 6th 2011 to :
Concours International du meilleur Boudin, BP 65,
They should give (in block letters) their surname, first name and address.
ARTICLE 6  The registration fee of 50 EUROS  per sample must no longer be sent by cheque but can be payed by credit card or bank transfer. See account numbers attached to the registration form (to the order of "Concours du Meilleur Boudin Mortagne").
Under no circumstances will the registration fee be refunded.
ARTICLE 7 Competitors should bring or send 800 grammes of black pudding made from cooked blood before 12am on Thursday March 17th.
The parcels will be kept in a refrigerator until the competition begins.
To ensure that the goods arrive in best condition, we advise competitors to send their parcels by express post. The maximum postage weight in France is one kilogram.
The parcels must be tied with string only, to conform with customs regulations.
No complaints for deterioration during transport will be accepted.
Any parcel sent "postage due" will be refused.
ARTICLE 8  Competitors will include in their parcels a sealed envelope containing their full name and address (in block letters) with the imprint of their trade stamp.
There must be no identification marks on the outside of the envelope.
A computer will assign a serial number to each entry. Until the end of the competition the computer manager alone will hold the list of competitors and their corresponding numbers.
ARTICLE 9  Under the presidency of the Grand Master of the Guild of the Knights of Goute-Boudin  :
- a preselection committee composed of tradesmen, members of the guild and public will meet on the afternoon of Friday March 18th and will choose the products to be entered in the competition.
- the Grand Jury of the competition composed of distinguished members from the pork trade and members of the guild will judge the final competition on the Saturday.
ARTICLE 10  The black pudding will be tasted cold and ungrilled.
ARTICLE 11  It is understood that the awards won in the competition recognise the quality of the product for one year.
In case of multiple entries for the same candidate only the best prize will be taken into account.
ARTICLE 12  The competition results will be announced in the Town Hall.
The awards will be distributed on April 3rd 2011 or sent by post to those not present on this date.
All participants will be notified of the results in the week following the competition.
ARTICLE 13  The guild cannot be held responsible for cancellation of the compettion in case of accident or in case of absolute necessity.
ARTICLE 14  Prize order
Grand Prix International (foreign entries)
Grand Prix National (French entries)
For each country represented :
Grand Prix d’Excellence Cup
Grand Prix d’Honneur Gold Medal
Grand Prix d’Honneur Silver Medal
Grand Prix d’Honneur Bronze Medal
Honorable Mention

So, come back in the next week or so as I'll be reporting on the winners!

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