There is no comparison between the light, earthy texture and tasty, aromatic seasoning of homemade black pudding and the type that is produced for commercial interests. It's a rarity to have the pleasure of sampling authentic black pudding in Ireland today.
Served as part of a naughty breakfast fry-up; complemented with some wholesome homebaked Irish Soda Bread - an opportunity to experience such culinary marriages should not be taken for granted!
Traditional black pudding in the west of Ireland is usually made with either the blood of a cow, or sheep which, in the above case, belongs to the latter as this animal is and was more plentiful to the region. During my father’s youth – and he is only in his late forties – it was common practice to go down the road to collect a bucket of sheep’s blood ready to be used for this very purpose, a custom certainly not in evidence nowadays.
Pudding sold in Irish butchers during modern times uses imported dried blood meal, which is constituted almost exclusively with pig's blood. This practice of utilizing foreign imports is less commonly the case in other European countries such as Portugal – where regional varieties of their black chorizo pork, for example (paying close resemblance to what can be bought from a butcher as black pudding here), are still prepared using fresh blood from local livestock.
The shame of it is, however, that most cannot any longer appreciate the subtle differences in fragrance and flavor that arise as a result of sourcing blood from different animals. The onset of global commercialism and industry has wiped out such local, community-based traditions as these at an alarming pace, which, in my opinion, is an unnecessary loss to our Irish heritage.