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A saveloy served with chips and curry sauce.

A saveloy is a type of highly seasoned sausage, usually bright red, normally boiled and frequently available in British fish and chips shops, occasionally also available fried in batter. The word is believed to originate from the Swiss-French cervelas or servelat, ultimately from the Latin cerebrus; originally a pig brain sausage particularly associated with Switzerland.[1]

Although the saveloy was originally made from pork brains, the typical ingredients from a shop-bought sausage are now pork (58%), water, rusk, British pork fat, potato starch, salt, emulsifiers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.[2]

The taste of a saveloy is similar to that of a frankfurter or red pudding. It is mostly eaten with chips.

The saveloy is available in Australia where it is consumed at fairs, fêtes, agricultural shows and sporting events, served on a slice of bread or in a bread roll and liberally covered in tomato sauce. At the turn of the 20th century, the saveloy was described in an Australian court case as a "highly seasoned dry sausage originally made of brains, but now young pork, salted"[3] but by the mid-century it was commonly defined by its size (a 19-CM sausage), "as opposed to a Frankfurter, 26-CM[Centimeters)].[4] This distinction may be due to the Frankfurter's popularisation (as an ingredient of hot-dogs).[5] Despite "frankfurter" sausage makers being the target of violence in World War I,[6] the story that saveloys were once frankfurters, renamed due to anti-Germanic sentiment is purely apocryphal, as far as Australia is concerned.[citation needed]

Saveloys are popular in New Zealand and Australia, where they are larger than the English type. Although they are sold at fish-and-chips shops as in England, they are commonly bought at butchers' shops or supermarkets and cooked by boiling at home. Saveloys are known colloquially as "savs". A cheerio is a smaller version, about a quarter of the size, sometimes called a cocktail sausage, baby sav or a "little boy". These are a popular children's party food in New Zealand and Australia, often served hot in a sweet, spicy tomato sauce.

Saveloys are also popular in the North East of England where it is eaten hot in a sandwich with pease pudding. Children also eat them with the skins removed as a soft snack, they can also be bought from most local butchers. There may be a connection to Australia and New Zealand's enjoyment of Saveloys due to the historical link with this part of the UK.


A type of hot dog which is almost indistinguishable from the saveloy is popular in the US state of Maine, where it is commonly known as a "red hot" or "red snapper." It is usually grilled or boiled as is common in the UK.

See also

  • Saveloys were probably introduced by Italian immigrants to England in the 1800s. They are certainly not a Northern English creation, more a heavily compromised variation on a theme.

In the north of Italy they are known as Cervellatas, France; cervelas, Germany; Servelatwurst, and in Victorian English; cervelat (British butchers and charcutiers of the period were mostly of German origin). A heavily spiced and flavoured fine pork brains and bacon red sausage.

  • The saveloy (Cervellata in Italian) is a type of sausage.

Apulian, a typical regional sausage with the denomination ' saveloy ' (Cervellata) is a typical product of Puglia, listed as traditional Italian food products (Ar T) by the Ministry of agriculture, food and forestry policies (Mipaaf). [1] the 'typical' is a saveloy sausage of Toritto, a village locaed in the surroundings of the Alta Murgia National Park. It is prepared by choosing the most moist parts of cattle and swine. The meat and ofal is degreased and cut into pieces and then ground. The ground meat is topped off with cheese, salt and natural aromas.

The village of Toritto celebrates this typical product with a festival that takes place during the summer.

Calabrian cuisine variation:

The saveloy is a pork sausage which is characterized by the fact that, unlike the typical calabrese sausage containing tomato and chilli but does not contain red wine. The saveloy is a sausage in which the meat is seasoned with black pepper, white wine and fennel.

Milanese cuisine variation:

In milanese cuisine is a traditional sausage with equal Italian name (cervelaa in milanese dialect), but is of different composition and type.


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  3. "Saveloy Reticence" in The Examiner, Launceston, Tas, 14 March 1913, p. 6
  4. "Variety of Sausage for Home Menus" in The Courier Mail, Brisbane, QLD, 12 September 1951, p. 8
  5. "Hot Dog is Favourite American Sandwich" in the Centralian Advocate, 26 October 1951, p. 12
  6. "Exciting Night in Sydney" in Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, NSW, 28 November 1915, p. 1