Boudin noir, aka black pudding or blood sausage, is one of charcuterie’s oldest known exponents. It is said to have been the brainchild of a Greek cook named Aphtonite in ancient times.

Regarded as a rustic, filling dish in the Middle Ages, boudin noir was largely enjoyed in the taverns of the day.

Émile Zola

No longer the preserve of tavern-style dining, boudin noir is a flavoursome dish for any occasion. Over the centuries, boudin noir has spawned a whole host of specialities shaped by regional or local customs and habits.  And while some recipes have evolved with the times, others have remained virtually unchanged.  Take the Parisian variant for example, boudin de Paris, where onion is the only remaining ingredient to have survived the changes over the years from its spicy Middle Ages counterpart.

In Emile Zola’s novel, Abby Mouret’s Transgression, (French: La faute de l’Abbe Mouret) the late 19th century novelist evokes the meticulous skill required to prepare boudin noir. Describing one of his characters, he writes:

“Since six o’clock in the morning her big carcass had been perpetually rolling between the kitchen and the yard, for she had black puddings to make. It was she who had whisked the blood in two large earthenware pans, all pink in the bright sunshine”.


Back in the day, black pudding was made straight after pig-killing day. Just after the pig was slaughtered, or the following Sunday, a traditional ‘black pudding meal’ was traditionally held, gathering together family, neighbours and friends.

The secrets behind its creation have been handed down through the generations, and today, boudin can be enjoyed all year round, much to the delight of its fans.

Boudin is essentially made from blood and pig’s fat, (pig being the only animal allowed in the recipe), and onions. The ingredients are then placed in an envelope or casing, (more often made from pig or cow intestine, depending on the recipe), then cooked in myriad ways according to regional specialities.

There are as many types of boudin in France as there are specialist producers, who each season their product differently, adding a great variety of herbs, spices, condiments or wine*.

And it is in fact for its flavoursome succulence that Boudin is particularly appreciated.

*Alcohol can be damaging to your health. Please drink responsibly


Boudin de Lyon à la crème

This rich, creamy black pudding from Lyon is made from pig’s blood, pig’s fat, cream, raw onions, chards or spinach, and wheat flour. It is known for its delicate onion flavour.
Another regional speciality, Boudin d’Auvergne, aside from the hero ingredient blood, is made with cooked pig’s head, rind included, and milk. The end result is wonderfully succulent.

Boudin de Poitou

This particular version from Poitou does not contain pig’s fat. In addition to pig’s blood, other ingredients include chopped and cooked spinach, cream, eggs, milk, sugar and semolina or breadcrumbs. Grainy in texture, it is light, herby and dark red in colour.

Boudin de l’Aude

The black puuding from the Aude is a regional speciality renowned for its crunchy texture. The recipe contains 40% pig’s head and throat, 30% rind and deboned trotters and 30% blood.

Boudin marseillais

This Mediterranean variant is an onion boudin stuffed in sheep’s intestine and sold in roughly 80g pieces.

Boudin du Sud-Ouest ou Galabart

This variant from south-west France contains blood (30-50%), whole pig’s head and rind, and possibly other parts of the animal such as tongue, lung and heart. Bread is also frequently added. It is particularly popular in the Monts de Lacaune region of France. In Segala, in Aveyron, boudin is generally best served with onions. Here, skinless boudin can be found conserved in jars or tins, or even dried, to keep for even longer, given that the climate here is particularly suited to drying. In the South West, boudin goes by many different names, including golobar, golobat, galavard, Calabar or even galabar, all very similar dialact forms which seem to point to the same product. As to the origin of the name itself, the term galavardo appears in ‘Provencal’ dictionaries meaning voracious, and galavarda, to eat voraciously, greedily. Interestingly, the word galavardoun signifies pig.

Boutifar or Boutifaron

Boutifar is a Catalan speciality dish which has the same ingredients as galabart boudin, yet without the bread. It has a very intense flavour.

Boudin Perigourdin

Made exclusively from pig’s head and throat, together with blood for that signature richness.

Creole and Antillais boudins

These more far-flung delicacies are composed of blood, onions and milk, and can sometimes also include cooked potato, bread, breadcrumbs and the hallmark spicy kick of Creole cooking; think red chilli, spring onions, chives, sandalwood powder and rum.*

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Boudin noir, an iron-clad way to fight anaemia

Anaemia is a medical condition where the body lacks red blood cells, which can be serious.  The body needs iron to produce haemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood. Without iron, haemoglobin cannot be produced and iron also plays a vital role in our breathing, making it essential.

Boudin is a superfood, and the richest source of iron. 100g of boudin noir (that’s a large portion) will give you 22.8mg of iron, which more than meets most adults’ daily needs.  What’s more, not only does it contain more iron than pulses or vegetables, such as spinach, it is also much more easily absorbed by the body.  As a result, it is often recommended for women of childbearing age who are particularly prone to deficiency, to children and pregnant women.  A fail-safe remedy for anaemia, eating boudin noir regularly can also help ward off asthenia (fatigue) caused by lack of iron.


Nutritional information

Protein g/100g Fat g/100g Carbohydrate g/100g Salt g/100g Energy kcal/100g
Boudin noir 10.2 22.1 4.1 1.6 256

Source : Ciqual 2016