Sausage judging

Judging Sausages at Ludlow

It’s going to be a busy and exciting weekend.  It’s Ludlow Food Festival weekend – a major highlight of the foodie year – and this will be the second time I am going to be a sausage judge for the Expert’s Choice and helping to decide which sausage should take the top accolade this year (banish all thoughts relating to either Julian Clary or Frankie Howerd immediately!).  It was great fun last year and so I very much expect it to be the same this year. I am looking forward to meeting The Sausage King this year, as last year circumstances meant he couldn’t be there to proffer his knowledge of all things sausage. You can see how I got on last year as a judge in this post.

Whilst I am there I am taking the opportunity to meet up with other fellow Midland Food Bloggers, including Louise of Comida y Vida and Jo from Jo’s Kitchen. I am really looking forward to what should be a great day out.  I will let you know next week how the sausage judging went and what the highlights of this year’s festival were for me.

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Ludlow Food Festival’s Sausage Trail

Ludlow is a wonderful place to get good food, and once a year they have a fantastic festival that celebrates local and regional food.  The festival grows every year with new events and new foodie fanatics displaying their wares.

Some of you may remember that I was a judge for Shropshire’s Tastiest Sausage back in January and I blogged all about the wonderful time I had tasting delicious sausages.  Well, luckily for me, one of the expert judges, The Sausage King, had other commitments this year and found my post about judging sausages and asked if I could step in for him as an Expert Judge for this year’s Sausage Trail.  This was quite an honour, and when you take a look at The Sausage King’s website, you will see that I had a lot to live up to. The Sausage King certainly knows his sausages.

The Sausage Trail is a great part of the festival. There is a People’s Choice, where you pay £3.50, then you set off around Ludlow to taste the sausages in the competition and mark your score on the sheet you have been given.  This year there were five sausages to judge.  This is the busiest I have ever seen the festival and I can tell you that the queue I saw for one butcher’s sausages was long!

Then there is an Expert’s Choice and this year there were four judges, including me.  The other judges were Dave Gurr-Gearing, chef at The Queens, Ludlow, Howard Lyons of Taste Real Food, and Anthony Harrison, who bravely volunteered his services from the audience.

The entrants were all local or regional butchers, four from Ludlow and one from Bromyard in Herefordshire.

We decided that the sausages would be judged by taste, smell, appearance, texture and the salability of the sausage.  This last one was the hardest to judge, as I think you are either a person that prefers a plain pork sausage or you are a person that loves to try the more unusual varieties and so that would form the basis of judgement on the potential for commercial success of a more unusual sausage.

All of the sausages in the competition are new flavours that haven’t been sold by the butcher before.

Ludlow butchers are very proud of their sausages and the competition between them to create the best is strong.

The Expert’s Choice this year was A H Griffith’s Pork with Wild Hedgerow Berries sausage.  It was a difficult  decision to make because all the sausages were very delicious. It was the fact that they were all so good that meant that the vote wasn’t a unanimous one and the decision was made after a tot up of the scores we had given for each sausage.

The other sausages in the competition were:

Legges of Bromyard’s Pork and Black Pudding sausage
D W Wall & Son’s Pork with Wild Mushrooms and Blue Cheese
Andrew Francis’s Rare Breed Pork with Sage and Black Pepper
Ludlow Food Centre’s Pork with Honey Roasted Onion

It was a great experience being an Expert Judge and so thank you Sausage King for finding me and asking me!

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