Sausages have been a staple in the British diet for centuries-upon-centuries. According to Love Pork, it is believed that sausages were first brought to Britain by the Romans some time before 400 AD. I have always loved sausages, which is why it gives me immense pleasure to be named the 19th ambassador for British Sausage Week. My objective - to help the nation celebrate the quality pork sausage in all its weird and wonderful forms. Working alongside Love Pork and Red Tractor, the message is simple: British farms produce fresh, top quality pork, supplied to some of the best and most inventive sausage makers, butchers and culinary establishments in Britain, giving us cause to celebrate the great, British banger!
I'm passionate about food and it's one of the reasons why I went into farming. The journey our food takes from the field to the fork is of exceptional importance, not only for the future of our food industry, but also for the health and wellbeing of our nation and, invariably, the world. Yet, as a consumer, I want to know that the food I purchase, from whichever source, is sustainable, traceable and filled will quality ingredients that contain the appropriate nutrients to satisfy the continually worried parent of a developing toddler. With all the food scandal we have seen in the news over the last few years and the impact it has had on our food production, it can be nothing but a comfort to see agencies such as Red Tractor creating a quality assurance scheme that we can all stand by and look for, when shopping for our food. Farmers too, are able to fly the flag for the high welfare standards and the often unseen hard work that goes into producing some of the best pork in the world.
I had a chance to meet and speak with Master Butcher and Head Judge, Keith Fisher, who gave me an insight into the skills and techniques required to officiate the sausage competition. The judges had to take into consideration the shape and form of the entered sausage before and after cutting, its ingredients, and the appearance (uncooked and cooked), as well as one of the most important factors: flavour. Having judged the British sausage week awards for over fifteen years, it's no wonder that his taste buds were once insured for a million pounds.
In my opinion, there is no one better placed to lead the search to find Britain's best banger. Keith Fisher and his 25-strong team have been lucky enough to sample over 650 different entries from butchers, sausage producers and retailers alike, in both traditional and innovative categories from every region in the UK.
I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the entrants of this years' awards, where I'll be presenting the competition winners their trophies and hailing some of the best sausage recipes, many of which have been handed down through over four generations. Although, sadly, I was not able to sample any of the entries on this occasion, I'm immensely proud to be presenting these awards, which celebrate and support British farming and food production, at a time when it has never been more necessary. If you'd like more information on British Sausage Week, the 2016 awards ceremony or Red Tractor, visit www.lovepork.co.uk or the Lovepork Facebook page. For a bit of fun, you can even check out my specially formed radio show, 'Sausage FM', for the latest "bangers" in the sausage sizzling charts! Here's to British farming, quality, homegrown produce and of course, the Great British Sausage...