Residents of the Baltic state of Estonia are bracing to wolf down tonnes of blood sausage, a staple of their holiday table as Christmas looms.
Trade data in the European Union nation of 1.3 million show that at least 600 tonnes of the pork-based delicacy are consumed in the Christmas period, or around half a kilo per person.
Advertisement"We expect to sell around 300 tonnes, or around 40 percent of our annual blood sausage production," Triin Looke, marketing director of the Rakvere meat company, told AFP.
"We have five blood sausage types with different tastes and both in pig and sheep guts. This year we also introduced new type of blood sausage -- with pumpkin and pumpkin seeds," she added.
For many rural Estonian families not only eating but also making blood sausage is a Christmas tradition, meaning the actual consumption is likely to be even higher.
"I learned how to make blood sausage from my grandmother and now we're teaching the younger generation how to make it. This year we have had special course at the local cultural centre," said Siina Taal, 72.
Making the delicacy is not for the squeamish, however.
"It takes at least a day, the guts of a pig, a litre or a little more of pig blood, meat, pepper, salt, onion," said Taal.
Mixed with a grain porridge, that's enough to produce 10 kilos of sausage.
"The first thing is to clean the guts and start making porridge, which takes several hours, usually seven or even more," she explained.
"The blood's added at the very end when the porridge is cold enough to be handled. We also add meat and different spices to porridge -- every family has its own version. When the mix is cooled down, the filling of the guts starts."
Finally, the sausages are boiled for 15 minutes and are ready to be baked or fried.
"Eating blood sausage is a must in Estonia at Christmas," Taal said.