Cervelas and Cervelat

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

cervelas and cervelat are names given to sausages made in France and Germany respectively. The latter has its own entry. Both names and the Italian must have had a past connection with similar terms meaning ‘brain’ but the connection has been lost; for no recent or modern recipes for cervelas call for brains as an ingredient.

The typical French cervelas is a short, stumpy fresh sausage, made from pure pork or pork and beef flavoured with garlic, and spiced with coriander, allspice, and nutmeg. It is matured for a few days, and may be smoked lightly. Popular in much of E. France, these sausages are cooked by poaching in water or red wine before being served with a sauce, or a potato salad, or cold, sliced and seasoned with a mustardy vinaigrette and sliced onion. The name is also used in Lyons for a saucisson à cuire (see sausages of france) frequently laced with pistachio or truffles.