REPUTATIONS built up over years were yesterday put in the hands of a chef with a large frying pan.
Professional pride was put on the line as some of the region’s top butchers jostled for the right to call their secret recipe sausages the tastiest on Anglesey.
Tension rose to sizzling point as a succession of herb-infused bangers were tossed into the flames at the Farmers Union of Wales stand.
Nine butchers had submitted their sausages for the winner-takes-all taste test.
At stake was the FUW Anglesey Branch Perpetual Cup and the right to call their sausages the best on the island.
Four judges, each with very different foodie credentials, steeled themselves for the task ahead.
They were pop singer Elin Fflur, all suntan and giggles, folk musician Dafydd Iwan, full of wisecracks, and farmers Gareth Vaughan, FUW president, and Gerald Thomas, FUW Anglesey county president.
“It’s difficult but someone’s got to do it,” said Gareth, eyeing up the first lightly-browned exhibit.
As the first entry was tossed on the pan, chef Sion Roberts set to work. As he runs the Blas Mon mobile catering service, he knows a thing or two about sausages.
For him, the early pace-setter was a pork and leek sausage from Llechwedd Meats, Gaerwen.
“I had a sneaky taste,” he admitted, spearing a sausage with a temperature gauge. “Very tasty and very herby.”
As sausage slices were passed from judge to judge, a crowd of curious on-lookers gathered to watch, with Heart FM DJ Kev Bach providing a running commentary.
For Dafydd Iwan, it was a slightly surreal experience – sausage eating as a spectator sport.
But he joined in the fun. “Eating sausages and sitting next to Elin Flur – what more could a man want?” he said.
Elin Flur again collapsed into a fit of giggles after someone made a slightly lewd remark. “I am taking it seriously,” she insisted. “A lot of hard work has gone into making these products.”
The farming judges were showing no signs of slowing down. Gareth Vaughan could probably eat sausage for breakfast, lunch and supper.
“It’s not just the fillings that make the difference,” he muses. “It’s the skins too.”
As each sausage was munched and assessed, the judges marked down their scores, not knowing which butcher had supplied them.
Sion Roberts had another sneak taste and declared that Llechwedd’s sausage had a rival – Stanley Butchers Old Welsh Pork Sausage from Beaumaris.
The farmers munched on happily but Elin Flur was looking a little full. Then she got a second wind.
“I’m a real meat-and-two-veg girl,” she insisted.
“But this is definitely a first for me – eating in front of a crowd.”
Once the scores had been collated, the winner was announced. Three out of four judges agreed that butcher Karl Jones, of Valley Butchers, was the champion.
He can now boast that his Fali Special Pork Sausage was the tastiest on Anglesey.
Just as importantly, he won two tickets for today’s Sponsors Lunch at Anglesey Show.
In reality, all the sausages were scored highly, and Dafydd Iwan said they were a credit to their producers. Although the competition didn’t take itself too seriously, there was a serious point at stake, he said.
Full story from The North Wales Daily Post