Sausages
Sausages Photo by Daniel Tchetchik
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Winter is taking its time to arrive, but to Zeev Tene it does not matter. The veteran food engineer, who is also a musician and is releasing his 10th album this week, has a plan to transform boutique sausages into a year-round food - something that warms you up in winter and is a light dish in the summer, to eat "after the beach," as he puts it. Tene, Roni Kugel and a third partner who wishes to remain anonymous will next week open the third branch in Tel Aviv of Frank, a chain of homemade sausages, on the corner of Ibn Gvirol and Kaplan streets.

Tene, who is responsible for developing Mama Off and Tapugan products, has for a long time dreamed of opening a chain of sausage stands, "but since it's not my field, I put off the idea until I met two friends who agreed to handle the project development and management," he says. "We make sausages from fresh meat, at a plant in Haifa under our constant supervision. We have beef, chicken and pork sausages. Our flagship sausage is a bratwurst made from beef."

The price, incidentally, is 25 shekels per sausage.

Still in Europe

Fine Israeli sausages first appeared at the Yoezer wine bar in Jaffa, and Marcel Hess, of Hess Sausages in Jerusalem. The Boudin sausages available at Yoezer, defined as the first Hebrew blood sausage, are made of congealed blood and have a suitably intense flavor. Hess, however, who immigrated from Switzerland and brought with him a 250-year-old tradition of producing sausages at a family plant, also makes kosher sausages that have won medals at international competitions.

Hess is not the only one to import sausage making traditions from Switzerland. Vince Moster also made sausages and franks at the Vince and Tamar restaurant in Tel Aviv. Later on, after the partnership with Tamar Cohen Tzedek ended, he opened Charcuterie in Jaffa. Since then, the popularity of self-made sausages has grown.

In recent months, the search for quality sausages has entailed less effort: You do not have to go to a restaurant; you can settle for going to a deli or stall.

Ben Tidhar and Ilan Duvshani, two veterans of Yoezer, opened the La Maison deli on Tchernichovsky Street in Tel Aviv nine months ago. The deli focuses on meat products prepared on the premises ranging from sausages and pastrami to frankfurters and pickled fish. In the evening hours, the place becomes a restaurant. "Each day we prepare three types of sausages: bee, pork and blood," says Tidhar.

How do you prepare blood sausages?

Tidhar: "You cook blood, meat fat, onions, heavy cream and a bit of egg and fill casings that have been prepared in advance to be dried and chilled later. In the French tradition, Boudin noir sausages are served with Granny Smith apples sauteed in butter, and in our variation, with bacon added." A plate of Boudin noir sausages with apples goes for NIS 54.

Jewish yes, kosher no

Another option for fine sausages is available at the covered market in the Tel Aviv port, where the Lefkowitz family opened a stand selling packaged sausages for roasting at home. Mercier and Didier Lefkowitz emigrated from France 12 years ago and started producing kosher sausages and frankfurters, which have become quite popular at delis and gourmet shops. "At first it was not easy," they say. "The clientele were familiar with the commercial frankfurters, and ours were harder, of a different color and ground differently. Little by little, we noticed the number of customers is growing."

The price for a kilogram of sausages (8-10 units ) is NIS 70 shekels.

Until a decade ago, sausages were deemed an inferior product. Fine sausages handmade from superior raw materials were available in only a few places, but the situation has since improved and Israelis can now also obtain gourmet sausages.