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What is a Saveloy?

what is a saveloy

What is a Saveloy? If you have read my blog on the correct way to eat fish and chips, you will have an idea, but essentially a saveloy is a very English sausage!

Whenever I am back in the UK there are a few go-to foods that I truly miss, one is an English style kebab with burger sauce, another is saveloy and chips. What makes it unique is hard to say, but from all my travels I have to find something even vaguely similar. Let’s get our sausage on!

To cut a long story short on what is a saveloy, a saveloy is a highly seasoned sausage, usually bright red (pink in the middle), and a staple of our fish and chip shops.

Why is it called a saveloy?

No one is particularly sure, but it probably derives from the Latin word “cerebrus” a pig brain (yum) sausage. Said pig brain sausage was invented in Switzerland, from where it made its way to the UK. General consensus is that the word morphed from cerebrus. The original is still sold in Switzerland, but bears little resemblance to a modern Sav.

what is a svaleoy and saveloys

So, what is a saveloy?

Easy, I am getting there OK! As per its Swiss cousin, the original saveloy was made with pig brains, but nowadays it goes as follows – typically pork (58%), water, rusk, pork fat, potato starch, salt, emulsifiers (tetrasodium diphosphate, disodium diphosphate), white pepper, spices, dried sage (sage), preservatives (sodium nitrite, potassium nitrate), and beef collagen casing. Sounds delicious, right? Sausages in general tend to be the kind of food where it is best not to think about what goes in them…

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Saveloy vs Sausage – What is the difference?

Do you know the phrase all dogs are animals so, therefore, are all animals are dogs? It’s like that. Sausages form a very very broad church, whilst our humble sav is merely a form of highly-seasoned sausages. So the sav is part of the broader sausage family.

chips with sausage and chis with a saveloy
Differences between a sausage and a sav

Can you get a saveloy outside of the UK?

Apparently they’re a thing in Australia, and New Zealand, both former British colonies, and both with a good chip shop culture. Alas, I have not tried one in either.

Apparently there’s also a frankfurter in Maine (USA) that is fairly indistinguishable to the sav, served ala Americano hot-dog style.

Variations of the dish

I was trying to think if there are any real variations of the common sav that we might have, but there really are not that many. After all a sav is just a sausage and what can you do with a sausage? No that was not a pun, what do you think this is a carry on movie?

For anyone familiar with British, or particularly Scottish chip shop culture you will be aware of us liking to batter everything. Now whilst not quite as popular as a battered sausage. You can though batter a savaloy, and yes it tastes really good. I’m yet to try it, but there is also talk of a sav roll – ala sausage roll style.

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Has anyone famous eaten a saveloy?

Lots probably, but Fagin eats one in Oliver Twist. You know the story about the orphan? I’m sure there are more famous people to have eaten one, but just in case it ever comes up in a pub quiz.

How do you eat a saveloy?

Well, its a sausage, so you eat it like a sausage, what I will talk about here is how it is served. Again traditionally it is available at fish and chip shops throughout the land and is boiled rather than fried.

They are a big deal in the North-East of England and can be purchased from butcher shops. I have yet to try this, but you cook it and eat it in a sandwich with pease pudding (also mentioned in Oliver Twist), a very English savory pudding, that I might write about at some point.

Do you have any other pointless information about saveloys?

Yes, I am glad you asked. When I was a kid in the South-East of England we would say oi oi saveloy when seeing a friend, typically one we had not seen for a long time.

And that’s everything you ever needed to know about this wonderful British sausage!! Definitely one of the must try dishes when you are in the UK!

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