JUDGES sampled more than 50 brilliant bangers in an annual competition to find the king of sausages.
Master butchers from across Cheshire gathered at Joseph Benjamin in Northgate Street in the build up to the 2013 Chester Food, Drink and Lifestyle Festival.
Eight judges tasted traditional pork, flavoured and non-pork sausages before choosing Chester’s best bangers.
Ray Tindall, a former sniper who served in Afghanistan and who is now a master sausage maker with Faraly’s Fine Produce in Newton, won the best pork category.
Best flavoured banger was Julian Price’s ‘Sugarbush’ sausage which blends rare breed pork with caramelised red onion, maple syrup and fenugreek. Julian represented Pig and Co, which is based in Goostrey, near Holmes Chapel.
Stephen Vaughan, of Vaughan Butchers, Penyffordd, won the best non-pork prize with his Moroccan lamb sausage.
Competition organiser Carole Faulkner, who runs the Cheese Shop in Northgate Street, said: “The popularity of this event has just exploded recently with the highest number of entries we have ever had.
“I think this was by far the most difficult task the judges have faced to date.”
The three winners will now take their successful sausages to the Chester Food, Drink and Lifestyle Festival on Sunday, March 31 where the festival audience will be asked to choose the Sausage of the Festival, an award that has been running for more than 10 years.
Festival chairman Jane Mooney said: “I have been a judge in this competition since its inception and it is obvious to me the humble ‘banger’ is now being taken to an art form by our incredibly talented group of sausage makers.
“I know people seek out these award winning sausages, not just in the butcher’s shops and farmers’ markets but they also appear on restaurant and hotel menus and breakfast buffets right across the county giving us a true ‘Taste of Cheshire’.
“It is one of the most eagerly awaited competitions each year and one I know the public love getting involved in at the festival.”