Proof was served up yesterday of Tyneside’s taste for a sausage which has become a regional speciality.
The smoked saveloy is one of the mainstays of the Dicksons family firm, which began life with one pork butcher’s shop in The Nook in South Shields 60 years ago.
Dicksons sell an astonishing 50,000 saveloys a week and, when Princess Anne visited South Shields last month, she asked for saveloys to take home with her.
Yesterday, managing director Michael Dickson and daughter Elena, a third generation Dickson who is a food scientist and marketing manager at the firm, launched an exhibition at South Shields Museum to mark the company’s diamond jubilee.
The company, with its deli leanings, makes products such as pastries, pies, cooked meats, sausages, bacon, pease pudding – and saveloys. Dicksons has its roots in the German pork butcher’s shops which sprang up in Britain in the 19th century.
“The saveloy is definitely a North East thing, and is particularly strong in South Tyneside,” said Michael. “It’s a Geordie spin on a German sausage.”
The saveloy can be bought in a bun with pease pudding, the company’s own sage and onion stuffing, plus mustard and, if desired, dipped in gravy.
In December, the company responded to requests from North East “expats” living in different parts of Britain about where they could buy Dicksons-style, naturally-smoked and steam-cooked saveloys.
Now the company has launched a saveloy “expat export” pack, containing a dozen of the sausages, two tubs of pease pudding and a kilo of the firm’s stuffing, which are despatched by post.
Expats can order online at www.dicksons-shop.com
Dicksons have grown to 23 shops, mainly in Tyne and Wear, and a factory at Middlefields in South Shields.
And the company, which employs a workforce of 230, supplies four supermarket chains regionally.
It is run by an executive board and a family council.
The business was set up by Michael’s parents, Irwin and Helen.
Michael said: “We have dug deep into the company archives to create the exhibition.
“Going through old family and business photographs was certainly a trip down memory lane for me.”