The Essential Guide to Normandy's Black Pudding Festival

Boudin noir on display at a market
Boudin noir on display at a market | © Guillaume Richer / WikiCommons
Christine Wilson

Normandy’s annual black pudding festival, known as Foire au Boudin, takes place every year over three days in March. Hosted in a small village in Normandy’s Orne region, visitors attend from all over to sample blood sausages crafted by masters. If you’re a fan of the savoury comfort food, here’s the scoop on this internationally renowned food event.

A brief history of black pudding in France

The first known mention of black pudding, called boudin noir in French, dates back to 800 BC when Homer made mention of the dish in The Odyssey. While theories regarding its origins vary, some historians believe it was introduced by the Romans throughout Europe during their conquest. Others say it came from the Moors and note that the Spanish word for the dish, morcilla, is suspiciously close to Mortagne: the name of the town where the festival is held.

Normandy tarts topped with black pudding

Mortagne-au-Perche is home to many masterful butchers specialised in crafting the region’s celebrated blood sausage. The group that puts on the Foire au Boudin, the Chevaliers du Goute-Boudin (in English: Knights of the Black Pudding), can be seen wandering around the festival in their red velvet robes and hats. As an organization, they vow to uphold the traditions involved in creating black pudding, as well as to consume it every day.

What to expect: attending the Foire au Boudin

The festival’s main highlight is a prize for the best black pudding, a contest that includes contenders from around the globe. There are food vendors set up offering free samples of the delicacy, as well as an eating contest for who can consume the most of the meat. Currently in its 54th year, the event’s goal is to highlight and embrace the tradition and know-how behind boudin noir rooted in Mortagne-au-Perche and to celebrate the local gastronomy. In addition to savouring black pudding in various forms among the locals, the medieval town’s cobblestoned streets lined with small shops and the picturesque countryside are reason enough to visit.

Boudin from Normandy

More festivities for black pudding enthusiasts

Black pudding aficionados can attend a few more events dedicated to the dish. Also in France, the apple and black pudding festival in Vigeois celebrates the complementing flavours of these two local specialties during a one-day event in November. In Northern Ireland, the Annual Fermanagh Black Pudding Festival sees chefs and butchers presenting black pudding in innovative ways and in Beasain, near San Sebastian, a black pudding festival is hosted annually in May. Perhaps the most bizarre (or intriguing, depending on your take) event dedicated to blood sausage is the Ramsbottom World Black Pudding Throwing Championships in Britain, where, you guessed it, contenders hurl black pudding at a pile of Yorkshire pudding.

The World Black Pudding Throwing Championship in Ramsbottom, UK
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article