EVER fancied a banana split sausage or what about venison and chocolate?

These were just some of the offerings to tickle the tastebuds as butchers from across Hampshire went head to head.

The Great Hampshire Sausage and Pie Competition saw professional and guest judges spend four hours separating both the bizarre and traditional to find the top pies and top bangers.

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.

There were 196 entries from 29 butchers lining the tables at the Holiday Inn in Winchester yesterday, competing in 13 categories.

They included the traditional pork sausage, charcuterie, black pudding, hot and cold pies and ready meals.

Although many had stuck with traditional recipes, 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.

Supreme champion this year was Southampton butchers Uptons of Bassett for its traditional pork sausage.

Judges included James Golding, chef at The Pig restaurant in the New Forest, and Mick Whitworth, editor of the Fine Food Digest.

Roll of Honour:

  • Supreme Champion 2014 – Uptons of Bassett for traditional pork sausage
  • Traditional pork sausage – Uptons of Bassett
  • Speciality pork sausage – The Butchers Shop
  • Lamb and beef sausage – The Butchers Shop
  • Hampshire sausage – Greenfield Pork Products
  • Home cured bacon – Newlyns Farm Shop
  • Meatballs and faggots – Uptons of Bassett
  • Traditional pork pies – Crow Farm Shop
  • Speciality cold eating pie – My Mum’s Cakes
  • Speciality hot eating pie – Uptons of Bassett
  • Ready meal – Soles Butchers
  • Black pudding – Owtons Butchers
  • Hampshire Charcuterie – Laver Stoke Park Farm
  • Young sausage maker – Sam Bundy, apprentice from Sparsholt College and LJ Smith
  • New Forest Marque winner – HG Witt

What Emma Streatfield thought about the sausage action:

Daily Echo: Emma Streatfield with some of the sausagesEmma Streatfield with some of the sausages

WHEN offered the chance to spend the day sampling the best sausages and pies the county could offer, I could hardly turn it down, writes Emma Streatfield.

And even as an unseasoned expert, I could tell straightaway which was going to be the winning sausage in our category Hampshire Sausage.

Goat’s cheese and watercress may sound an odd combination for a banger, but it was definitely something I would buy again. As I learnt from professional judge and retired butcher John Taylor, there is a lot more to a sausage than you might think.

They are examined both raw and cooked. You are looking at how much the sausage shrinks when it is cooked, similarity in size, air pockets, splitting or cracking when the sausage is cooked, the quality of the texture, the way the ingredients have been mixed and how well filled it is.

Problems may come when the mixture is too wet or has not been mixed enough. It showed me just how much goes into making the perfect sausage and how easy it is to get it wrong.

But also I think I have a better appreciation for the importance of quality ingredients.

Though, after munching my way through samples of 27 different varieties, it might be a while before I feel the need for another sausage.