When Jean-Marc Amar moved to Australia from France in 2007, he discovered that traditional French saucisson – a fermented and air-dried pork sausage – was very hard to find. It inspired the chef to start his business, Saucissons Australia, so he could make his own.
“To make a good saucisson, you need good ingredients. We work in a very traditional way and we keep things as simple as possible,” Amar tells SBS Food. He mixes minced free-range pork shoulder and back fat from a Queensland producer with a starter culture, salt, sodium nitrate or vegetable extract, and black peppercorns, and puts it all in a natural casing. It’s then hung and dry-cured until the flavour develops.
But what gets him the most attention is the latest addition to his range: kangaroo saucisson. While he only started selling it this year, the idea was buzzing in his head for a while. “When I started, I wanted to make a range of French products, but I also wanted to develop a true Australian charcuterie,” he says. “Kangaroo has fed the population here for thousands of years. I wanted to pay homage to this meat representing Australia.”
Since kangaroo is very lean, the meat is mixed with pork fat. Unlike the traditional saucisson, it’s better not to age it too much. “The taste is surprising, not as gamy as what you’d expect. It’s slightly fruity, with red fruit notes,” says Amar.
"I had to set up an auction for the last kangaroo saucisson.” A 180g pack of saucisson ended up going for $AUD100.
While his customers love the new kangaroo saucisson, Amar says that it’s still a work in progress: “In Europe, we’ve been making saucisson with pork for hundreds and hundreds of years. We understand the meat very well; what type of pork is best, what time of the year is best, should the pork be male or female, etc. Since we’re among the first to do that with kangaroo, we still have a lot of work to do to understand it as well.”
He does seem to be on the right track, though. Last month, he was awarded three silver medals for his saucissons, including the kangaroo flavour, at the first Mondial du Saucisson in France.
He managed to fit 30 kilos of kangaroo saucisson in his suitcase to bring to the competition in Ardèche. “People loved it, they wanted to buy it, but I only brought some for the tasting. I had to set up an auction for the last kangaroo saucisson,” he says with a laugh. A 180g pack of saucisson ended up going for $AUD100.
“The next step is to find an importer in France so we can sell the kangaroo saucisson there.”
A jury of over 200 professionals and amateurs tasted 190 saucissons during the competition. Most of the participants were from France, Amar was one of the few international entries.
“Kangaroo has fed the population here for thousands of years. I wanted to pay homage to this meat representing Australia.”
His three silver medals mean a lot to him: “Some French people can be grumpy sometimes and say charcuterie outside of France is not as good. But it was a blind tasting with mostly French people and we got three medals, so I think it proves them wrong.”
Saucisson is a great addition to a platter shared with friends or can just be eaten by itself with a nice glass of wine.
“In France, saucisson is your best friend. Take a little knife and you can bring it and eat it anywhere. It’s part of the culture, like bread and cheese,” says Amar.
Want to see more typically French food? Taste le Tour with Gabriel Gaté airs every night until Sunday 29 July 2018. Visit the Taste le Tour website to catch-up on episodes online, scroll through recipes or find out more about the show.