Belfast Telegraph

Donegal sausages make a big noise among the French

By Louise Hogan

Donegal butcher Ernan McGettigan (55) and his brother Diarmuid have been ‘knighted’ by a French gourmet brotherhood after their humble banger spiced up with rather unusual ingredients tickled the tastebuds.

Chef Neven Maguire, who was also one of five Irish foodies yesterday honoured by the society on their visit to Ireland, described Ernan as “the Willy Wonka of sausages”.

That's because his 25 different varieties of the traditional fare include a chilli, Belgian chocolate, and orange sausage.

The ceremony to honour the butchers saw French guardians of quality meat from the Commanderie des Fins Goustiers du Duche d'Alencon parade along the streets of Donegal town in their blue and yellow robes.

Then Diarmuid was given the Confrerie medal in an elaborate ceremony. Ernan travelled to France for a similar ceremony late last year.

The group was founded in 1973 to “uphold” the quality of sausages and white puddings across Europe.

The McGettigan craft butchers were deemed Europe's top sausage makers with their hickory and maple banger, while their pork curry, banana and mango-flavoured creation received a Grand Prix of Excellence.

“The humble sausage was never dead, it was just a little dormant for a time,” Ernan said.

“The speciality side of things is a whole different ballgame. We've travelled so much now, our tastebuds have developed and we have 25 different types in the shop.”

However, all of the sausages are based upon the original pork sausage created by his father Michael (82) when he first opened the shop in Donegal in 1952.

Arising from the increased interest, the butchers' are now working with the Donegal County Enterprise Board to open a manufacturing unit to package and label their unique sausages.

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