After the aromatic taste of wood which won the hearts of Europe, Ireland now aims to grow the market bigger with its latest invention: The chilli pepper pork sausage.
That’s what brothers Ernan and Diarmuid McGettigan treated their guests to at a presentation in their Donegal butcher’s shop for their hickory and maple pork sausage which has been named Europe’s best.
A team of French food experts travelled to Donegal town to “knight” the brothers with a big brass fork and griddle for their service to the sausage industry.
They received medals as new chevaliers of the Normandy-based Commanderie des Fins Goustiers du Duché d’Alençon.
The organisation is dedicated to the promotion and recognition of the highest quality meat products from Europe.
Ernan, 55, received his medal in November when the maple and hickory porkies were named best in Europe — the first time an Irish sausage won the award. A company of knights in blue and yellow gowns travelled from France to Donegal on Saturday to present Diarmuid with his and to “knight” both brothers.
A piper, Patrick Dorrian from the Ardaghey Pipe Band, and the Donegal town mayor Tom Conaghan led the small parade around the town before the brothers presented the visitors with two new varieties of sausage they developed for the occasion: The chilli pepper pork sausage and a special barbecued beef sausage.
He said that although they have won a number of national awards, and now the European title, they are just a retail shop which sells loose sausages to their own customers.
Now, in conjunction with the Donegal County Enterprise board, they are developing packing to extend the shelf life. The aim is to get an export licence to sell the sausages in Europe.
“We intend to spread our market but we will still be a small type of manufacturing business. We have to get our packaging and labelling right. Our aim is to market just to high-end delicatessens. We want to target the best shops in Europe. There is a shop in Geneva that wants us to supply to them and it is typical of the type of European customer we would like to supply.”
Among the brothers’ 25 varieties on which their father Michael, 82, helps with secret ingredients, are prize-winning pork curry, banana and mango sausages.
In separate events, Neven Maguire of MacNean’s Bistro in Cavan was knighted by the group at a ceremony in Dublin on Thursday for his support of local produce.
John Hickey and Dave Lang from the Association of Craft Butchers in Ireland were also knighted for their work in promoting artisan producers.
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