THE HEAT was on for sausage specialists as a kitchen of butchers gathered to find the West Midlands’ best banger.
Following county sizzle-offs, eleven butchers made it to the final for the Tastiest Breakfast Sausage and Tastiest Speciality Sausage titles.
Competitors donned aprons at the AGA store in the Mailbox to cook up a storm for a judging panel including Sophie Grigson, the food writer and TV chef, and Midlands Today presenter Nick Owen.
Sophie said: “I was seriously looking forward to judging the Tastiest Sausage Competition again, as it is such an enjoyable experience.
“The finalists have raised the bar even higher this year. And in these difficult times, what better food to cheer us up than a good locally-made sausage?”
After a tough tasting test, the winner in both categories was butchers DT Waller from Ledbury in Herefordshire.
The competition was begun in 2001 by Heart of England Fine Foods to celebrate local produce. More than 80 butchers took part in the county heats, and organisers hope that the annual event cooks up enthusiasm for regional food.
The competition coincides with Farmhouse Breakfast Week, which aims to celebrate the most important meal of the day and encourage people to enjoy a healthy start to their day.
Breakfast devotees recommend fruity granola with rhubarb, or to cheer up a dull Monday morning try cinnamon toast with blueberries.
For a leisurely weekend brunch, they recommend potato cakes with bacon, or stuffed tomatoes with mustard and low fat cream cheese, topped with oats.
Sausage competition organiser Vicki Collins said: “The standard of sausages in both the breakfast and speciality sausage categories has been very high, so the final was tough.
“It’s great that so many local butchers enter year on year and produce such delicious sausages using a wide range of regional ingredients.
“It’s a real testament to the West Midlands.”