TWO Fordingbridge butchers and one from Ringwood have scooped a meaty haul of medals in this year’s Great Hampshire Sausage and Pie Competition.
The hotly-contested awards drew contestants from all over the county, with butchers taking home strings of gold, silver and bronze awards for their products.
The outright winner of the traditional pork pie category was Crow Farm Shop in Ringwood, which also scooped golds for its home cured back bacon, its pork and New Forest blue sausages and its plain pork sausage. It was also declared champion in the large pork pie category.
HG Witt & Sons from Midgham, Fordingbridge, was named the New Forest Marque Winner for its rose veal and sweet chilli sausages, and also won gold for their back bacon.
They won silvers for their rose veal and cider sausage, their beef and mixed peppers and their best pork sausage and bronze for their New Forest beef faggot.
Vincent Aldridge’s team’s products also really set the judges alight.
Mr Aldridge, 51, of Price Farm Foods in Fordingbridge, has been a butcher since he was 11 years old.
His firm was awarded 12 awards, including golds for New Forest hog black pudding, smoked apple bacon, Beef It Up sausages and faggots.
Their venison and chocolate sausages, Armenian lamb, beef dansak, chorizo, pork and smoked applewood sausages and best pork sausages won silver, and there was a silver in the Young Sausage Maker section for Price Farm Foods for a breakfast sausage and a bronze for a banana split sausage.
Mr Aldridge said: “We are chuffed with how well we did, not just for me but for the whole team.”
The event, organised by Hampshire Fare, made a comeback last year after a two-year absence and looks set to become a regular fixture in the Hampshire calendar.
Professional and guest judges spent four hours tasting the bizarre and the traditional to find their winner. There were 196 entries from 29 butchers lining the tables at the Holiday Inn in Winchester, competing in 13 categories.
They included the traditional pork sausage, charcuterie, black pudding, hot and cold pies and ready meals.
Some of the more colourful sausages included marmalade and red onion, duck and orange, sweet chilli and chocolate, pork and toffee apple, beef horseradish and garlic and beef and ale hot pot. Judges scored each entry based on their appearance, texture, structure, taste, smell and how easy they are to cut.
Category winners received a chopping board-inspired plaque made from New Forest wood.
Judges included James Golding, chef at The Pig restaurant in Brockenhurst, and Mick Whitworth, editor of the Fine Food Digest.