Jean-Christophe Novelli is guest chef at Alnwick Food Festival, and a Wark sausage firm is creating a Novelli chocolate banger to mark the occasion.

IT’S “sausage day” when I catch up with scientist Dr Claire Watson-Laney at work at her Wark-based Northumberland Sausage Company.

She’s bang in the middle of churning out about 30 different sausage varieties, ready to sell at the upcoming Stockton Summer Show.

“We made them today and yesterday, ready to box up,” says Claire, from the Wark Village Farm Store butchery, home to The Northumberland Sausage Company.

Only the day before, sausage- making duties were given an added “je ne sais quoi” as Claire was testing out a special Jean-Christophe Novelli recipe for a chocolate-flavoured banger.

She has been asked to create the sausage in question to mark the Michelin-star chef’s appearance at the Alnwick Food Festival on September 22 and 23.

Claire, 33, who owns the award-winning sausage company, and whose family own a sheep farm at Wark, will also be taking a stall at the festival, where she will be selling the Novelli chocolate banger.

She explains: “The organisers of the festival approached us and said it would be nice to do a collaboration and Jean-Christophe had this recipe.

“We made up a batch yesterday and it was lovely. It’s pork-based with 70% dark chocolate, plus spices and herbs and red onions.

“We already make a few sausages with chocolate in – we do a chocolate and chilli pork sausage – but the darker the chocolate, the better it is. It really enhances the flavour.

“We will be selling it at the festival and Jean-Christophe wanted to put it on for the supper he’s hosting.

“It’s all very exciting. It’s nerve-wracking getting the sausage right. I’ve never met Jean-Christophe before but I’m looking forward to meeting him at the festival.”

Samples of the sausage – now dubbed the “Novelli Wark-banger” – will be available at the ticket-only Novelli Evening being hosted in the Northumberland Hall on September 22.

The Northumberland Sausage Company, which has just recently won two Great Taste one-star awards for its pork, red onion and Tarset Valley marmalade sausage, and its Northumberland smoked cheese and cracked black pepper sausage, makes dozens of varieties.

The sausages are sold in pubs, restaurants and shops throughout the region.

Claire says: “We do about 50 varieties of sausage and we make up to 30 a week. They are mainly pork-based and beef, but we also do exotic ones like buffalo and kangaroo.”

Popular sellers include the pork and apple and the chilli sizzler.

Full story: Journal Live

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