18 January 2002

SAUSAGE SEARCH TOFINDBESTBANGERS

The search for the tastiest sausages in Hampshire

drew 50 entries.

Tessa Gates and her fellow

judges tried them all

THE chef at the Kings Head, Wickham, Hants cooked bangers galore for the first Great Hampshire Sausage competition. Ten judges compared the qualities of each entrants sausages on appearance raw and cooked, texture and taste, in four classes.

"Local produce is easier than ever to find and a typical Hampshire Farmers Market now has around 20 varieties of sausage for sale. The aim of the competition is to find the best ones throughout the county and make them more accessible to the consumers," said Hampshire Fare marketing officer Tim Brock.

"The winners have the opportunity to be included as recommended sausage suppliers in the George Gale & Co Food Manual which is distributed to over 100 Gales pubs in the South East."

The entries included some excellent and some weird and wonderful combinations of ingredients. Winner of the mixed ingredients class was D. Price Butchers, High Street, Fordingbridge with their wonderful pork and leek sausage. The inclusion of fresh rather than dried leeks makes this one worthwhile searching out.

A class to coincide with Farmhouse Breakfast Week (Jan 21-27) drew some innovative mixes such as muesli and pork – the cereal is better served with milk – and egg, bacon and tomato which was not a success, but pork and marmalade was surprisingly tasty. An excellent Cumber-land sausage made by Robert Oughton, Chalcroft Farm Shop, Burnetts Lane, West End, Hants won this class. He almost swept the board for he also won Best Pork, and Best non-Pork – with a duck sausage – and was unanimously voted Supreme Champion.

Mr Oughton runs a meat business employing 30 people and his son runs Chalcroft Farm. "The key to a good sausage is the amount of meat you put into it and the seasoning. We have developed our sausages over the years and we are constantly tasting and checking them. Our pork sausage is the best seller, and we do a nice pork, ginger and spring onion one. Lots of pubs and wine bars take our sausages, and we sell all our varieties at the farm shop," said Mr Oughton. "And, of course, I like to eat them every day."

Champion sausage maker Robert Oughton took three of the four classes. Here he eyes the entries in the Breakfast Sausage class and holds on to his trophy.

Entries in the raw!