Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Battle of the Bangers 2014

Last Saturday was the annual 'Battle of the Bangers' who else is there to report on such occasion other than The Fry Up Inspector here is what he had to say and who won the prestigious title of 'Best in Show'

Battle of the bangers is part of the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival and it's now in it's tenth year. Last year I was on the judging panel, blind tasting the entries and helping to chose a winner, for me an easy decision as soon as I tasted the amazing Archer's sausage! This year I was looking forward to tasting the sausages with the public outside and chatting to the butchers to find out more about their entries. I arrived about midday and was greeted by the smell of sausages cooking in the air, time to grab a voting slip and get tasting. My wife kindly offered to take notes so I could fully focus on the bangers.

Entry number 1 was from Tavern Tasty Meats of Swafield

The Smokie Joe is oak smoked for 6 hours and was clearly very popular with the crowd, their supply of sausages had almost gone when I arrived. The pork used in these sausages comes from their Gloucester old spot pigs on their farm, they told me the entire pig goes in when making these. The texture was nice and firm and the smoky flavour wasn't too overpowering, not really a sausage I would like on a breakfast but great in a bun as a hot dog.

Entry number 2 was from The Beef Smith from Starston

This beef sausage was produced from their pedigree herd of red ruby devon cattle. A firm texture and great flavour. Something a bit different and you could tell this was a quality sausage, I do however prefer a pork sausage. This was more like a quality beef burger inside a sausage skin.

Entry number 3 was from Icarus Hines Butchers of Cromer

An authentic pork sausage with a hint of nutmeg. The texture was great and I can't say I really taste the nutmeg coming through, this was a really delicious and well balanced sausage though that I would be delighted to find on a breakfast. I really loved this sausage and it was cut into much bigger pieces than the other entries making it far easier to take a good bite and properly explore the texture. 

Entry number 4 was from F.L Edge & Sons from East Harling

The Harling Sausage had a very firm texture and was made using prime cuts of British pork shoulder & belly with a subtle blend of coriander, marjoram, parsley, sage and rosemary. A great combination giving it a really nicely balanced flavour.

Entry number 5 was from Bradwell Butchery from Great Yarmouth

This pork and herb sausage had a quite loose and slightly crumbly texture. The herbs complimented the pork really nicely and left a fairly noticeable herby aftertaste, 

Entry number 6 was from The Fruitpig Company

Their black pudding and marmalade sausage is produced using Tamworth pig and Scottish marmalade. This had a very soft texture and distinctive taste. The black pudding and marmalade worked well together creating a nice flavour. Certainly something a bit different but I still can't decide if I was a fan of it or not.

It was really busy in the tasting area with hordes of people coming along to sample the six entries and cast their vote. I tried each sausage three times to be certain of my favourite, I did however have a feeling I had found it the moment I  tried the pork and nutmeg sausage by Icarus Hines and my vote went to them. We decided to return again later at 4pm when the winners were going to be announced. Time flew by though and we were distracted by the cocktail menu at The Birdcage which resulted in us missing the winners being announced. I did discover though that Icarus Hines had won the public vote and the judging panel had chosen Bradwell Butchery as their winner. It was quite hectic at times trying to get to those free samples, it reminded me of being at the reduced section of the supermarket where everyone is trying to stake their claim. It was well worth it though and a real reminder of just how popular the humble sausage is. Well done to everyone that took part and everyone that came along to cast their vote, I can't wait to return again next year!

The Fry Up Inspector

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