The L’Authentique business came from an intense passion for quality French produce coupled with New Zealanders’ desire for and lack of such produce. Owner Lisa Lewis discussed the company’s journey, new seasonal sausage flavours, and their loyal following from foodies with the team.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“Back in 2006 when founder Guillaume Desmurs arrived in New Zealand, there were very few traditional, locally-made French products. Formerly a restaurateur in Paris, he set up L’Authentique in Auckland to deliver New Zealanders the fresh taste of the French charcuterie tradition. From the beginning, we wanted to make products that are ethically perfect, with no concessions, like the ones that our grandparents would have eaten. L’Authentique started selling its artisan parfaits and sausages at the La Cigale French markets in Auckland, and fast-built a loyal following from foodies as passionate as he, launching a range in retail shortly after. The brand is known now for its artisan sausages, parfaits rillettes and terrines, all made with locally sourced, free-range meat.”
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“With the French charcuterie tradition comes an uncompromising attitude to quality. Up until very recently, L’Authentique’s produce has only been available in specialty food stores sought out by foodies. In the past years, there has been a ground swell of interest and awareness from consumers on what they are eating, particularly the additives they should not be eating. Our products have resonated strongly with this market, because of our traditional recipes and methods that we use.
With all fresh ingredients sourced locally from premium producers, attention is paid to every detail throughout the production process. Everything is handmade, ensuring the highest standards, and a consistent refined and flavourful taste. That tradition also means our products contain no gluten, starch or flour. The sausages are unique to the market in the coarse grind, fresh seasoning and the exclusive use of prime cuts of meat.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“Guillaume shifted to the UK four years ago, leaving the business in the hands of head charcutier Philippe Arregui. Wade Lewis joined three years ago. He and Philippe have worked to build the business and increase the range without compromising the traditional artisanal ways we employ. As a part of this, we have launched a new range of long-life rillettes and parfaits as well as new seasonal sausage flavours to keep shelf interest high. The business has since gained our New World accreditation and is starting to fill out the national distribution footprint, now in 40 New Worlds nationwide in addition to the speciality stores.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“L’Authentique is keen to find appropriate stores in the South Island for the range (currently only Merivale Fresh Choice and Dunedin City Centre New World), that have a steady customer base concerned with health, quality and flavour. New charcutier Nicolas is helping Wade and Philippe to create a range of unprocessed nitrate-free cured meats. While remaining a specialist producer, we are as a business very focused on answering consumers’ concerns about healthy real food; free of chemicals, free of unnatural and unneeded additives, and continue to innovate to that end.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
“Speciality food stores throughout North Island such as Farro, Nosh, Moore Wilson’s and Vetro. Currently ranged in 40 New World’s around the country, placed in both deli and butchery. We also produce a range of bulk French cuisine; terrine and pates, for the serve-over and are looking to expand this offering. The L’Authentique team are going around the country and attending food shows to build awareness and demand for our quality range.”