We’ve left the best until last!
The original idea - for what has become a legendary butchers’ sausage competition - was put forward by Richard Wells of Anglian Culinary Suppliers, at a Norfolk Food & Drink committee meeting. While Richard is very happy to take the plaudits for the idea, no one is quite sure who came up with the ‘Battle of the Bangers’ moniker. But boy was it a good idea all round!
Designed to help raise butchers’ profiles outside of their immediate catchment area, while delivering a really fun event for the general public, the Battle of the Bangers was run by Richard for the first two years. Norfolk Food & Drink’s current chair, Sarah de Chair was then asked by Richard to take the helm, which she did most magnificently for ten years – doing everything from finding butchers, sponsors and stewards to erecting fencing, chopping up and printing voting slips and, of course, running the event on the day. As a measure of how passionately the butchers came to feel about the event, Jamie Archer of Archers Butchers took over from Sarah and ran proceedings in 2016 and 2017…
So who’s running the event this year? In a move of perfect symmetry, Sarah Daniels of the RedCat Partnership both sponsored and volunteered at the very first Battle of the Bangers – and jumped at the chance to be responsible for delivering the last ever Battle of the Bangers too. No pressure Sarah! Richard Wells is coming back as Head Judge of the ‘best judged sausage’ category, which runs alongside the hugely popular public voting category.
The Battle of the Bangers’ wide-ranging influence is quite extraordinary…
Back in 2006, a Norfolk smallholder with a couple of Gloucester Old Spot piglets heard about the competition from a family member and decided that they wanted to enter. However the rules dictated that only businesses could enter. And so was born ‘The Norfolk Sausage Company’ – which was the start of one of our county’s most successful local produce shops and businesses (and the first Proudly Norfolk shop), Scrummy Pig at Wroxham Barns. As owners Mike and Sam Fish declare, ‘Without Battle of the Bangers, we very much doubt there would be a Scrummy Pig…’ Having not been involved with the competition for the past decade, Mike and Sam are thrilled to be among the nine butchers battling for the public vote next Sunday.
And the nine butchers are:
Archers Butchers, Coxfords, Pell and Co with the White Horse at Neatishead, Old Hall Farm, Station Smoke House (look out for the train shaped BBQ!), Fruit Pig, Back to the Garden, The Norfolk Sausage Company and Tavern Tasty Meats.
Battle of the Bangers, kindly sponsored by Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, takes place on Bethel Street this year, from 10am to 2.30pm. Winners of both the public and judges’ vote will be announced on the Cookery Stage inside The Forum at 3pm – all are welcome!