Today we have a guest post following our recent MFB visit to Ludlow Food Festival. Kath from the Ordinary Cook is a local to the event and for the last 2 years has been part of the judging panel for the event’s Sausage Trail. So it’s over to Kath for a lowdown …..
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. There were lots of highlights, including meeting 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. 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. (It is extremely popular and the queues at each sausage stand are a sight to behold.) 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 Wall just about clinched it, with Griffiths’ sausage coming a very close second.
The People Choice Award also went to D W Wall, 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
As a member of the expert panel you take a blind taste of the sausage, so you you are not told the name of the butcher or the flavour of the sausage. You simply make your decision based on which one tastes the best to you. This year all three of us agreed on our favourite sausages, but they were all very good. I do hope I can do it all again next year.
Another highlight of the festival for me was meeting Sarah from Brock Hall Farm. She produces artisan goat cheeses from her herd of pure Saanen goats on her farm in the beautiful Shropshire hills. Her unpasteurised cheeses are amongst the best I have tasted with the most delicate tang and wonderful texture. If you get a chance to try her cheese I recommend that you do.
Many thanks to Kath for the letting us know what a tough job she has a Sausage tasting judge!! It’s great to have an “expert” as an MFB member.