Video: Ex-rugby ace turned TV chef judges Leeds’s best bangers

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Former England rugby captain Phil Vickery visited Leeds to taste test the regions’s best bangers for British Sausage Week 2014.

The week’s celebrity ambassador – and previous winner of Celebrity Masterchef – spent the afternoon at The Cross Keys pub in the city centre to sample the shortlisted sausages from across the north east.

Phil Vickery, Former England Rugby Captain and Celebrity Masterchef Winner helping to judge the winner of the North East's Tasiest British Banger.

Phil Vickery, Former England Rugby Captain and Celebrity Masterchef Winner helping to judge the winner of the North East's Tasiest British Banger.

Six local butchers reached the regional final of the contest and Phil joined the British Sausage Week team to put the bangers through their paces in a fierce cook-off.

A butcher from Fodder in Harrogate was crowned winner of the ‘traditional’ category with a plain pork sausage while a team from Knitsley’s Farm Shop in Durham scooped the ‘innovation’ category prize with a tapas sausage.

Commenting on the winning sausages, Phil said: “The standard of entries in this region was incredibly high.

“There was so much going on in the tapas sausage but when it came out it looked impressive and when we cut into it all those flavours complemented each other perfectly.

“The plain pork sausage was rammed with taste. It looked beautiful and as soon as I had my first bite, I knew I would love it.

“All the flavours came through and the seasoning was perfect so it didn’t over power the pork at all. A great sausage- I had a whole one to myself!”

He added: “I am proud to be an ambassador for British Sausage Week 2014. With a farming background and also being a keen cook myself, British Sausage Week is close to my heart.”

Phil urged people across Britain to join in the week-long celebration of sausages.

“Versatile, great tasting and also great value, sausages are the perfect option for the whole family to enjoy. So join me in celebrating the Great British Banger,” he said.

British Sausage Week, now in its 17th year, runs from November 3 to 9. The annual celebration aims to raise awareness of the variety, quality and all round tastiness of British sausages produced today. Organisers said this year has been a bumper year for entries to the contest, with just over 200 butchers entering almost 500 sausages up and down the country.

The region’s finalists:

Innovative category:

WINNER: Knitsley Farm Shop, Consett, Durham: Tapas Sausage;

Elite Meat, Harrogate: Pork, Peach and White Silton Sausage;

Penshaw Farm Butchers, Sunderland: Mature Cheddar, Chives and Mustard Sausage.

Traditional category:

WINNER: Fodder, Harrogate: Plain Pork Sausage;

Moss Valley Fine Meats, Sheffield: Breakfast Sausage;

Rothbury Family Butchers at Heighley Gate, Morpeth, Northumberland: Cumberland Sausage.

Winner of the traditional sausage category, Sam Hurren of Fodder in Harrogate, said: “It’s our plain pork sausage that we make at work for the shop. It’s our bestseller by far and we’re really pleased to win on our first year of entering with this sausage.”

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