This is the best known gastronomic speciality of Arras. The andouillette is a flavourful treat, even having its own dedicated festival. It constitutes the treasured mission of a guild and the heritage of a know-how perpetuated by passionate artisans. The best place for gourmets is “A l’Andouillette d’Arras” run by Hugues Becquart.
“Establishment founded in 1888”
In the Rue du Marché-au-Filé. Standing opposite the venerable seventeenth century Mont-de-Piété building – a historical lending institution – another Arras institution has distinguished itself.
A shop that is still in its original condition, its façade frozen in time almost, “a charcuterie for over one hundred years”, confirms the master charcutier who took over this institution in 1999. He learned his craft from his predecessor, Michel Berchon, and he in turn will never leave “without training up a successor!”.
A piece of heritage
“Charcuterie has been a tradition since the dawn of time. The Arras andouillette has been a culinary institution since the Middle Ages. At that time, this cooking method was a simple and effective way of preserving meat!”
The authentic Arras andouillette is traditionally made with calf’s ruffle, animal intestine and a ruff that attaches to it, hence the name “ruffle”. Hugues Becquart prepares it in the old-fashioned way. And he has won over hearts and palates with the delicacy of his andouillette with pork ruffle.
A dash of secrecy
And what is his secret? “The selection of excellent raw materials!” he reveals. “I work with Hauts-Pays pork, fed on flaxseed and raised using traditional methods. Frisian is of exceptional quality, very lean and with a fine taste.” In his workshop, Hugues devotes care and attention to it, his knife well honed.
“First, it is cooked in water and milk, to soften it. Then I chop and season it: onions, parsley, salt, pepper, nutmeg and a dash of a mystery,” he explains, with a twinkle in his eye. “Then I stuff everything into a beef casing, before completing the cooking.” In all, this takes five hours. An andouillette is worth taking time over.
From shop to plate
Before the weekend, the little shop sees a procession of regulars and tourists. “It’s the best; it stands out from the rest,” they say.
With a skilled hand, Hugues Becquart wraps up the delicious andouillette, each weighing between 450g and 500 g, “just right for two people. It’s important not to prick it,” he advises. “Leave it to heat through slowly, half an hour in a 150°C oven. Before serving, smear it with mustard and grill it for a few minutes.” This brings out its subtle charcuterie flavours.
The Andouillette Festival
The andouillette is on every table on the last weekend of August. The Guild takes to the streets and the squares are filled with appetising aromas.
And it’s been like that for 20 years! “Of course, I’m a member of the Arras Guild of the Andouillette,” Hugues declares, proud to show off his medal which is given pride of place.
The andouillette, it’s a festival! Do you know what our Statement of Faith is? Served at the worker’s table. And the banker’s table alike. Here, a dish of the people. There, an aristocratic dish. The fine andouillette of our county town is enjoyed in every home, high and low!”
À l’Andouillette d’Arras in pratice
- 3, rue du Marché-au-Filé, 62000 Arras.
- Tel: +33 (0)3 21 22 69 96
- Open from Tuesday to Friday, 8.30am to 12.45pm and 2.45pm to 7.00pm. Saturday, 8.00am to 1.00pm and 2.45pm to 6.00pm.