Made in Alsace and Lyon, Switzerland and Germany, cervelas (or cervelat) sounds like brains (cervelle), which used to be in this pork sausage. The first to mention it was Rabelais, in the 16th century. It’s soft and smoked and not unlike a frankfurter, although fatter.
Cervelas are sold raw and have to be boiled. Cervelas à l'alsacienne is stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon; in Lyon, cervelas often include pistachios or even truffles in the stuffing. Once cooked, they are sliced in a salade de cervelas; some make them into sausage rolls (saucisson brioché).
Image by Marianne Casamance