Andouillette: The Treasured French Sausage That Smells Like 'Decay'

Although the vegan movement has been sharply rising over the last few years, many of us still like to indulge in those tasty and succulent meat dishes. Statista reports that in the United States, 7% of people aged between 18 and 19 were on a vegan diet, while only 4% percent of those between 40 and 49 ate the same way. There are still a lot of people who like to eat each and every part of an animal — to show respect, but also to eat some really tasty dishes. 

In Rome, there's the so-called fifth quarter, referring to the leftovers from the slaughter. These leftovers are used to make offal-based specialties, such as the pajata (cooked intestines of veal or lamb), the rich oxtail stew called coda alla vaccinara, or trippa alla romana, a dish made with tripe cooked in sauce and served with lots of mint (per La Cucina Italiana). 

But offal dishes aren't only found in Italy — France has its share of offal-based foods, too. 

Andouillette is made with pork tripe, nutmeg, onions, and Champagne

Andouillette is a traditional French sausage originating from the Champagne region. Some say that it dates back to the 9th century, when it was first served for King Louis II's banquet feast. This sausage is protected by five respectable connoisseurs of meat, calling themselves the Association Amicale des Amateurs d'Andouillette Authentique, or A.A.A.A.A. (5A) for short. The association protects the authentic andouillette sausage from many imitations, so when you see 5A on the doors of a restaurant, you know you've come to the right place to try it (per Regions Of France). 

In the city of Troyes, andouillette is made by soaking, scalding, slicing, and seasoning pork tripe with ingredients such as nutmeg, onions, and Champagne. The mixture is threaded into a casing by hand and then cooked slowly for a few hours before it's sold and consumed (per Food & Wine). 

Authentic andouillette tastes heavenly, while those not bearing the 5A mark are known to taste horrible, often reminiscent of stale urine. The Telegraph reported that the sausage "looks, smells, and tastes as if it should be in a lavatory," and CNN claims that some sausages have "an easily identifiable aroma of decay." Andouillette is an acquired taste, so your best bet is to try the ones approved by the 5A association.