ANDRE BONNEAU straightens sausage on display in his family’s store, Maurice Bonneau’s Sausage Kitchen in Lisbon Falls. It was founded by his father.

ANDRE BONNEAU straightens sausage on display in his family’s store, Maurice Bonneau’s Sausage Kitchen in Lisbon Falls. It was founded by his father.

LISBON

It’s part of the mission statement at Maurice Bonneau’s Sausage Kitchen in Lisbon Falls: fast food without the guilt, says president Andre Bonneau.

As soon as you walk through the door and smell blended spices as the sausage is being made, the salivating begins.

“Are there healthier foods? Maybe,” Bonneau said in a recent interview. “But if you’re going to eat meat, this is one of the better products you can eat.”

 

 

Sausage was created as a way to use up meat scraps. It was ground up, and made edible and palatable with spices.

The Bonneau family has taken this practice and turned it into an art form.

“There’s all kinds of things that go into those things and even now in the supermarket, most sausages are made with the cheapest little bits and scraps of various animals,” Bonneau said. “Ours are only made with muscle meat, no trim, and that’s part of the secret … that the base for our products is of the highest quality and things you wouldn’t mind seeing on your dinner plate.”

 

 

Even the spices are fresh and all natural or organic.

“They’re aromatic and it makes a huge difference in the final product,” Bonneau said. “A lot of big companies skimp on the ingredients in order to produce a product that maximizes profit.”

He focuses on how well he can make the product using quality ingredients.

“And when you smell the ingredients and they smell good and then you put that into your cooking, whether it be sausage or stew, that dish or that product comes out so much better. Because part of our taste is our nose,” he said.

 

 

While a lot of commercial products are heavily salted to stimulate taste buds, “Ours is lower in salt and higher in aroma.”

What doesn’t go into their product is important, too.

“Anyone who’s tried our product knows you don’t end up with a cup of fat in the bottom of your skillet after you’re fried up our product, and that’s extra value to our customers,” he said.

Maurice Bonneau’s Sausage Kitchen doesn’t do fillers or use a lot of fat and binders. What you buy in the supermarket doesn’t compare, Bonneau claims.

“Tasting is believing,” he said.

Bonneau’s grandfather, Lucien, emigrated to Maine from Canada more than 70 years ago and started a market in Lewiston. His father, Maurice, was trained as a young boy to do the work of a butcher, a skill that is fleeting today as meat processing grows more and more centralized.

The market became one of the largest in Lewiston, but competition with large supermarkets forced the store out of business in the late 1980s. After the plant nursery he was managing on Route 9 in Lisbon went out of business, Maurice decided to go back to his roots and start up a business on the property. The sausage kitchen was born and incorporated in 1995.

In 2008, Bonneau said his father decided it was time to shutter his sausage kitchen and retire. A “foodie” himself, Bonneau talked him out of it, agreeing to take over the business if his father stayed on long enough to show him the ropes. A certified mechanic, Bonneau was running a garage and repair shop with his brother in Lewiston.

Now not only can he fix anything that breaks in the store, but he also makes mouth-watering sausage. Still, he consults constantly with his father.

Located in the old post office at 36 Main St. in Lisbon Falls, Maurice Bonneau’s Sausage Kitchen now manufactures between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds of meat product a week. It offers more than 50 different sausage flavors such as beer, bratwurst, Canadian-style breakfast sausage, chorizo, Irish, kielbasa, knackwurst, old-fashioned country smoked and Sicilian wine and cheese sausage — just to name a few. Customers can choose from fresh pork sausage or smoked pork, turkey or lamb sausage.

Their tourtiere pork pie, a French Canadian treat traditionally eaten around the holidays, is very popular but only sold in-store.

They also have ham and bacon, soup and chili. They are limited in how many products they carry by the space they’re in, but aren’t interested in expanding. A greater priority is to increase the company’s wholesale so their product can be found in more locations. They have six smoked sausage products that can be found in approximately 35 Hannaford supermarkets now, for example. Products can also be ordered online.

While the sausage kitchen is located off the beaten path, Bonneau said, “I think we’re worth the little bit of effort to find us.”

People find them every day and discover their products and other Maine-made products they carry like Raye’s Mustard and Morse’s Sauerkraut and Euro Deli sauerkraut and pickles. They also find Bonneau ready to educate customers about their products.

He’ll tell you none of their recipes are fixed in stone, which is one of the things that makes their food special.

“Because we blend our recipes every week, we can play with them,” Bonneau said. “One batch of Italian one week, for good or bad, may not be exactly the same as next week’s batch.”

They also try new recipes to keep the line-up fresh.

“That’s what I like about this … the creativity,” he said.

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Where — when

Maurice Bonneau’s Sausage Kitchen

36 Main St., Lisbon Falls

Telephone: (207) 353-5503

Website: www.sausagekitchen.com

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday


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