The Commanderie des Fins Goustiers du Duché d'Alençon was created on 5th September 1973 and received the tittle Confrérie de Gastronomie Normande from the prestigious Tripière d'Or de Caen.
The Confrérie promotes Alençon and its regional products.
Each year the Confrérie organises, in the month of October, competitions for:
The winners of the competitions receive their prizes at our traditional annual ceremony and luncheon (Chapitre), held in mid November.
COMMANDERIE DES FINS GOUSTIERS DU DUCHE D'ALENCON
In 1965, my father Maurice-Henri Faguier, an accountant by profession, was appointed Managing Director of the “Parc des Expositions d'Alençon”. As such he was in charge of organising many commercial events. He felt that artisans and in particular, butchers and charcutiers, suffered from unfair competition from supermarkets and hypermarkets which could result in loss of livelihood and skills. This is the main reason that on the 28th April 1969 he created the “Commité de Promotion des Spécialités Gastronomiques Alençonnaises” and on the 9th and 10th May 1969 the first National Competition for the best Andouillette, (a chitterling sausage and speciality of Alençon) , took place.
The “Commité de Promotion des Spécialités Gastronomiques Alençonnaises” was a trusted and respected body which functioned exactly like a confrérie. This caused a lot of confusion therefore it was decided that it was time to become a confrérie.
On 5th September 1973 it became “Commanderie des Fins Goustiers du Duché d' Alençon” and received the title of Confrérie de Gastronomie Normande by the prestigious “Tripière d'Or de Caen, its sponsor. The magnificent ceremony was sponsored by Europe N0 1, a national radio station.
By then the February commercial fair had become a National Commercial Fair and attracted exhibitors from all parts of France and abroad. Thus, it was time to organise a European championship.
Andouillettes are only made in France so white pudding, which is also a speciality of the region of Alençon, was added. The first competition of the best white pudding took place on 1st October 1973.
In 1993 we decided to encourage apprentices so we added the National Championship for the Best Boudin Blanc category apprentice.
In 2005 at the suggestion of our German Ambassador the 'best grilled pork sausage'was added.
In 2006 my father resigned due to ill-health but the other members of the Commanderie wanted a Faguier continuity so I joined the Commanderie soon followed by my husband David Beresford.
To me it did not seem right to have a European championship without British or Irish competitors. At that stage I had only envisaged to see them competing for the sausage because their puddings are so different from the French, German or Belgium ones.
The Conseil Magistral agreed, mainly, I think , because I am the founder's daughter. There is so much prejudice in France towards British and Irish cuisine.
Being a regular visitor to Ireland and in particular to Greystones, I went to see Mr Des Doyle,at his shop within the Tesco Shopping Centre, and persuaded him to enter our competition. I did the same with Mr J. Cooper, our first British competitor,who lives in France.
It was a revelation to the other members of our confrérie that Irish/British food products were not bad after all!
Both Mr Doyle and Mr Cooper received awards for their sausages. However we were faced with a dilemma, Mr Doyle, along with his pork sausage presented us with one made with LAMB! We had never judged a lamb sausage before and did not know they existed.
For that reason we decided to create a new category: THE CREATIVE SAUSAGE. And in 2009 the first competition took place. All went well until in 2011 when we were faced with a new problem. Mr Ulrich Shumann, from Germany, entered a magnificent creation in the category Creative sausage. It was a delicious master piece but it did not fit the description of a sausage, albeit a creative one.
We did not enter that product in the competition but the following day the members of the
Commanderie judged it and we gave it a special prize “The Commanderie Prize”. That is how we added the FESTIVE Product in 2012.
The Irish and the British have now been competing for the Best White Pudding (boudin blanc) for several years. This came about because a British butcher had asked if he could enter his white pudding rather than his sausages. We consulted with our Grand Master who agreed that he could enter. Incidentally that butcher has never competed with us, but, the door was now open for British and Irish White Pudding to enter the competitions.
I am pleased to say that the Irish have done very well in all the categories but especially in the category Creative Sausage. The White Pudding continues to do well and has been close to winning the European Championship.
Today, it is David who does most of the recruiting of Irish/British competitors. He does it by visiting potential competitors or surfing the web for addresses. . Every year we have more competitors from Ireland and U.K. Some are 'regulars' , some return after a break, and we always have some new competitors.
Last year we judged 480 products in the 2 days of the competition.
I hope that we shall see many more Irish and British competitors this year and in the future.
Further information will be posted on our web site ,www.finsgoustiers.com as soon as it is available. Entry forms can be downloaded, or obtained from Dave Lang of ACBI, Thomas Doherty, or David Beresford of the Confrérie.
Commanderie des Fins Goustiers du Duché d'Alençon