Judging those sausages at Ludlow

Firstly, I must apologise for this post taking a week to write. My eldest was seven at the weekend (where did those seven years run off to?) and so last week was a frenzy of tidying, planning, buying and cooking.  (Note to self: next year convince her that a party at the ball pit or ice rink is a much better idea than a party in the garden).

Anyway, the Ludlow Food Festival was brilliant this year.  I had my best year yet there, wandering around finding all the brilliant local producers, trying and buying their wares.  I also met up with Jo and Louise from Midland Food Bloggers.  It was lovely to meet them and have a chat and a wander.

Then at 3pm the main event for me was being part of the judging team for the Expert’s Choice for the best sausage of the five sausages on this year’s Sausage Trail.  The judging panel this year was myself, The Sausage King and his very adorable young son The Sausage Prince (who of course was the best judge at the table – that kid knows his sausages) and Rosanna Taylor-Smith, Councillor for Ludlow North.

Every year, as part of the festival, there is a sausage trail, with two rounds of judging.  The Peoples’ Choice Award and the Expert’s Choice Award.  For the first festival-goers buy a Sausage Trail Leaflet and then set off to try a bit of each of the sausages.  (It is extremely popular and the queues at each sausage stand are a sight to behold.) They then award each sausage a score, decide which one is best, take their leaflet to the final sausage tent and swap their completed leaflet for their favourite sausage in a bun. All of these leaflets are sorted and the sausage with the most votes becomes the People’s Choice.  Then a panel gets to try all five sausages and decided which sausage should win the Expert’s Choice.  This is the second year I have been on this panel and the judging is great fun, if not just a little bit difficult because of the very high standard.

All five butchers are local to Ludlow and the surrounding area and all five are traditional butchers producing some excellent quality meat. The sausages were all of a very high standard and all tasted mighty fine.  However, for the expert panel there were two sausages which came very close to being the best.  We all tasted and then tasted again, and then tasted again.  But in the end we all came to the same conclusion, the sausage from D W Walls just about clinched it, with Griffiths’ sausage coming a very close second.

The People Choice Award also went to Walls, with the Ludlow Food centre coming a very close second in that competition.

The entries this year were:

Andrew Francis Butchers – Pork with cracked black pepper
A. H Griffiths Butchers – Pork with sundried tomatoes and mushrooms
Legges of Bromyard – Pork with smoked pancetta and rocket
Ludlow Food Centre – Pork with blue cheese, redcurrant jelly and port
D W Wall – Pork with camembert, chives and redcurrant jelly

I do hope I can do it all again next year.

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