New Close Farm Shop, from Bakewell, Derbyshire stole the show with their Dry Cured Streaky Bacon, which really stood out for the judges and scored a perfect ‘100’. This was then pitched against all the other category winners where it continued to stand out from the rest, and so achieved the Best in Show title at the recent AHDB Pork Awards in Newcastle.
In total New Close entered seven of their best pork products and picked up a further two trophies. One for their Traditional Pork Pie and one for their Black Pudding, whilst their other products picked up 3 Gold awards and 1 Silver.
The hoard of awards were presented to the family run business the next day and they were absolutely chuffed at the size of their win. Located in the midst of the busy market town of Bakewell it is a family run business, run by Jim Armstrong a third generation butcher, and his 2 sons Ed and Tom, who are fourth generation butchers. Their business philosophy is “that they combine the best of the traditional farming values inherited from their parents and grandparents with a desire to keep improving what we do whilst also looking to the future”.
The second of the AHDB Pork Awards this year, the event was a last minute addition to the Dalziel Butchers Show held on Sunday 25th September. However, it saw a record 20 butchers from across the North East and West enter 98 homemade pork products.
With ten category trophies up for grab Dales Traditional Butchers, from Kirkby Lonsdale, also received three of the prestigious glass trophies. One each for their Pork & Caramel Sausage and their home made Faggotts. The Caramel Sausage also went on to achieve the best sausage in the show, thus enabling them to enter the prestigious Champion of Champions event run by the trade magazine Meat Trades Journal. Finally for their Young Sausage Maker, Ira Collier, he received his first trophy after being pipped to the post at previous events. Ira is a well-respected team member who can turn out a good pie and is great at hog roasts. He is also great with the ladies, and has a loyal ‘female’ customer fan base!
The remaining impressive glass trophies were presented to:
- G & E Hallsworth from Ormskirk, for their homemade Traditional Pork Sausage and their homemade Spicy Thai Sarawak Pork Pie which the judges were really impressed by its flavours.
Tom Wood of Huntley Butchers, Samlesbury for their Stuffed Walnut Pork Tenderloin which was wrapped in bacon with a lovely walnut crumb inside. Tom has just returned from Australia as part of Team GB’s, the ‘British Beefeaters’ at the World Butchers Challenge, so this a great addition to his awards collection.
- W F Hutchinson, Coniston, for their Smoked Bacon, Piri Piri, Black Pepper and Onion Pork Burger. The judges felt the burger was full of flavours but also complemented the pork really well.
One of the main overall comments from the judges was that the products entered were of a really good standard. This meant 37% received Gold Certificates followed closely by 30% receiving a Silver Certificate and 19% receiving Bronze certificates.
The categories in which butchers could enter ranged from sausages, burgers and bacon to pies, ready meals, offal products and black pudding.
The Pork Awards are held for butchers to get their home-made pork products evaluated by a team of seasoned and well respected judges, all past butchers and well known in the industry. The products are all evaluated by a set of criteria which includes, raw appearance, taste, texture, smell, production method, size consistency, filling, shrinkage and how appealing the overall finished cooked product looks. This provides butchers with a bench mark for their products and also the opportunity to receive feed back from the judges about their products. A key part of the event is that the evaluations help with the continual improvement of pork products on offer from independent butchers.
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