Tropical Pork Takes Top Title

A 'Pork with Chilli & Coconut' ready meal took top spot at the West Midlands Product Evaluation Event and Regional Roadshow for butchers, held at The Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire last week.

A record-breaking 49 butchers from across the West Midlands turned out for the event, organised by the British Pig Executive (BPEX).

Gina Saunders, of H Dayus Family Butchers, produced the winning ready meal, which was a hit with the judges and beat a staggering 299 other quality products to the highly prized title of Overall Champion on the night. She also won two additional gold awards for her 'Lamb Curry' and 'Lasagne' in the Ready Meal category.

"We have always thought our dishes were good, but to come away as the Overall Champion for the region and with two gold awards is fantastic, particularly since we always flag any successes with our customers, as it encourages them to try dishes they may not have considered before," said Gina.

"We make and sell around 35 different meals in the shop now, all made from recipes which we've studied and developed in order to get them spot-on.

"One of the meals is actually a family recipe from the West Indies. All of our dishes are completely homemade, contain no additives - unless it's a touch of wine or coconut milk - and are made without the use of pre-prepared mixes, just like real home cooking should be!

Veteran butcher Allan Bennett also had success at the event, having put down his judge's hat to enter two of his own products for evaluation.

Allan triumphed in the Traditional Pork Sausage, Speciality Pork Sausage and Lamb or Beef Sausage categories with his 'Traditional Pork Sausage', 'Pork & Caramelised Onion Sausage' and 'Lamb & Apricot Sausage'.

Allan said: "To win one sausage category would have been perfect, but to win all three - you couldn't forecast it! We must be doing something right!"

Nineteen-year-old Chris Byng of Don Guest & Son butchers was crowned Young Sausage Maker for his 'Pork & Cracked Black Pepper Sausage'. Chris will also go on to represent the region in the Champion of Champions competition to find the UK's top sausage-maker later this year.

BPEX butchery and product development manager Keith Fisher said: "We were absolutely delighted and quite astounded by the sheer number of products entered by butchers from across the West Midlands region.

"It has certainly set the record for the 2007/2008 tour to date. Our judges really had their work cut out to get through all of the entries, but as usual they completed the task impeccably - our thanks go to them for all their hard work."

The next roadshow takes place at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton on Wednesday, 20 February 2008. For more details and to download an entry form visit www.porkforbutchers.co.uk or contact Jackie Hawkes at BPEX on 01908 844 107.