The Finalists for the taste Cheshire Food and Drink Festival Sausage competition were revealed after a blind tasting took place at the NoWFOOD centre at the University of Chester today (Tuesday 26th February).
This annual event, now in its 12th year, has been incredibly popular with butchers from across Cheshire, The Wirral and North Wales entering in both the Traditional Pork Sausage category and the Flavoured Sausage.
Ten judges, many of whom have been doing so for over 10 years, headed up by chief Judge, Steve Vaughan of Vaughan butchers of Penyffordd, tasted over 30 sausages in what was a very difficult job of assessing each sausage in this blind tasting. The state of the art kitchens at the NoWFOOD Centre make cooking each and every sausage to their optimum and ensuring they are tasted at their very best, possible, as Jeff George from the NoWFOOD Centre explained. We were delighted to again be involved in this competition, knowing how important a fair playing field is for each entrant, we were confident that the equipment at the NoWFOOD Centre assured each sausage was presented in the best cooked state possible.
Steve Vaughan explained the criteria for judging. “Our judges were looking at the appearance of the sausage both pre and post cooking; they concentrate on the texture of the sausage as you eat it and then most importantly, the flavour. The first two categories are judged out of 5 marks and the final and most important 10 marks. Each year the job gets tougher as the standard of butchery gets stronger and stronger. These really are artisan sausages made by very skilled people.”
Gavin Matthews, Drive time presenter of Dee 106.3 has been a judge for 10 years now and looks forward to it every year “I think when I was first invited to be a judge I thought it was just a bit of fun but now ten years later I can tell the difference between a natural and synthetic skin, spot air pockets in the meat and identify when rusk hasn’t been mixed as well as it should be. I really enjoy this event and marvel at just how talented the makers of these sausages are.
Taste Cheshire CEO, Stephen Wundke believes this event has really raised the bar in Cheshire as he explains. “We know that competition brings out the best in people and having been a judge since its inception when Carole Faulkner at the Cheese Shop started the event, the standard has, each year, just got higher and higher. You see that when you add up the judging sheets and we now need 10 judges to separate our finalists. It’s been another cracking year and our 40 judges at the festival will have their work cut out to find a champion.
The next stage of the competition is for each of the finalists to have their sausages tasted by the first 40 people who make it to the Chef auditorium at the Taste Cheshire Food and Drink festival on Easter Sunday, the 21st April at 11.00am. After these 40 people have awarded their votes the winner of each category will by awarded their prizes at the Taste Cheshire Food and Drink Awards on Wednesday the 24th April.
The finalists are
Best Traditional Sausage
Cheerbrooks Farm Shop – Nantwich
Pen Y Lan Pork – Overton on Dee
Muffs – Bromborough
Best Flavoured Sausage
Hawarden Farm Estate – Hawarden
Gourmegg – Frodsham
Muffs – Bromborough
Cheerbrook – Nantwich
Note : Four in this category as their was a dead heat for 3rd place.
For more information about this event and to purchase tickets to the Festival and become a sausage judge just go to www.chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk