Thursday 31 October 2013

Champagne, Veal and Truffle Sausages

Champagne, Veal and Truffle Sausages

I picked these up from Island Bay Butchery. They are a different sausage. If you have read the posting about Island Bay’s veal sausage, see link, you will know that I do not claim to be an experienced veal eater. While I enjoy champagne and would claim to have some expertise in this field, I know very little about truffles and the associated flavours. So what were the sausages like? The answer is very good, a different taste and aroma, but one I would happily eat again.

The sausages had what I could only describe as a distinctive aroma, but one where I could not identify what I was smelling. This was neither pleasant nor unpleasant, it was a smell new to my olfactory senses. I will assume this was the truffle. The sausages cooked well, a bit of fat, but not too much. A nice aroma came of as they cooked.


This fine to medium ground sausage was darker than the other veal sausage from Island Bay, and it tasted good. The flavour I assume is dominated, but not overpowered by the truffle, the meat flavour is good. They were well received by the whanau. My wife really liked them, one son liked them a lot, the other son and daughter were not so keen. As a result of this we have decided to have something a little exotic on the menu for our annual whanau Christmas barbecue. I will be going back to Island Bay Butchers to order more. These are not your everyday sausage, they may even be unique, however they are well worth trying out and expanding your sausage eating horizons.

Cost per kilo: $28.95
And great to see that Island Bay Butchery won medals in the NZ sausage competition for their Bavarian sausage and the black pudding. I judged the black pudding section of this competition. Watch out for a review of both sausages, coming to a blog soon.

Tuesday 22 October 2013

It is hard work, but someone has to do it.

It is hard work, but someone has to do it.
Judging at the Devro NZ Sausage Competition

Last week I had the pleasure of being a judge at the Devro NZ Sausage Competition. I went to Auckland and for two days I sampled some of the best sausages that are made in New Zealand. As someone who is very keen on eating quality sausages, I found this an interesting and rewarding experience. I was teamed up with representatives from the meat industry, butchers, chefs and food writers. I am not sure where I fitted in but after much consideration I decided I was there to represent the end consumer, the sausage eaters of NZ.

Around twenty judges were used each day. Judging was done by a table of four judges, which were paired and presented with a sausage for judging, in both its uncooked and cooked form. As each new sausage arrived you were paired with a different judge from the table. All judging was done blind, with sausages only identified by a code. I learnt a large amount from the butchers present who had the knowledge and expertise about the science of sausage making. The chefs could detect some of the added ingredients through their well-developed palates. The ability to identify whether the slight orange flavour was natural or dried orange, along with the quality of the blue cheese used in the sausages was impressive and not something I would have dreamed of challenging.
Here are judges are hard at work.

There were over 460 sausages entered in the competition. During the two days I judged the gourmet, traditional pork, and rounds (black and white pudding, and any sausage presented in a round or horseshoe form). And I see that one of the delectable morsels of black pudding was from the Island Bay Butchery who won the gold medal. There were many entries in the gourmet category, with multiple tables judging this section. The task of evaluating, tasting and offering written feedback on over 35 sausages each day was onerous…. but I was up for the challenge.

As part of the team that judged traditional pork, I can attest to the quality of the entries. The supreme winner was a beautiful pork sausage made by the Village Butcher in Havelock North. See link. Even within the category of traditional pork sausages this snarler had serious competition, with a large number of the sausages being seriously good. The winner of the traditional pork category was a great sausage from New World in Rototuna, Delights Pure Pork.  

Check out the winners of each category, and watch out for reviews of these sausages. Congratulations to the Wellington butchers who collected medals. See link for all medal winners.
Gold Medal:
Preston’s Master Butcher, Turingia Bratwurst - Pre-cooked/Barbecue Category

Greytown Butchery, Beef Flavoured - Flavoured Category

Island Bay Butchery, Black Pudding - Rounds Category

Silver Medal
Island Bay Butchery, Bavarian (Wellington) - Pre-cooked/Barbecue Category

Preston’s Master Butchers, Cracked Pepper, Coriander & Basil (Wellington) - Gourmet Category

So after two days of eating some of NZ’s best sausages I headed home with a smile, a full belly, and a great experience of discussing the intricacies of sausages making and fine food appreciation. It was a difficult task but I was up for the challenge.


Sunday 6 October 2013

It is not all beer and sausages - Part Three

It is not all beer and sausages – Part Three

This weekend I was off to the highlight of the harrier season, the NZ Road Relays. This was held on the Sign of the Takahe to Akaroa route, 76km of varied terrain, run by a team of eight. This course is rightly regarded as the best relay course in NZ. Some teams turn up to win or medal. Our team sorted out our goals before the race - to have a good time and enjoy ourselves. I offered to bring sausages to feed the team.

It would be fair to say that the mighty M50 (men over 50) from Scottish Harriers would not put fear into the opposition with our running prowess. I ran the lap from hill top to Duvauchelle, which concludes with a long 5km of steep downhill. It hammers the legs and feet and I was knackered when I reached the finish. My legs and feet were sore and at the end of my stretch my team mates asked me how many toenails I had lost. I said my feet were sore and took off my shoes. In the supportive way we worked together, they said, ‘There’s no blood in your shoes, stop moaning and get into the van."

At the finish the announcer said, "Here come Scottish’s M50A team, the first finishers in the M50 grade….." What is omitted is, "from the 8.30am start." Most of the M50 teams started at 9.15am.

 We did not come last, and we were not close to the medals. However I can confidently say that we had the best selection of beer and sausages in our van. The teams had to carry a baton over the course - our team abandoned the baton supplied by the organisers and replaced it with a kabonosy.

I cooked the sausages the day before our race. Not knowing my team members preference for sausages I brought a variety - kabonosy from Park Ave Quality Meats, (See review), pork and fennel from Island bay Butchery, (see review) and Cumberland from Cameron Harrison Butchers. From left to right, kabonosy, Cumberland, Sremska and pork and fennel. 

Comments from the learned, if tired, runners in the van: these are good, a very nice flavour, smell good and not too over powering. This was the kabonosy. One team member, in a moment of madness, even offered to run another lap if I could find him another sausage to munch on.
The sausages were appreciated and went down well after each team member completed their lap. The Cumberland were appreciated for the meaty taste, the pork and fennel for their flavour. The consensus was the most preferred sausage of the day was the kabonosy. I shared the sremska (see review) on the way back to Christchurch, but this did not have too many takers. I gave these out in smaller morsels. It is a spicier sausage and received comments about the strong taste.

Of course a refreshing drink was needed to rehydrate and in the van a selection of beers were present, Macs Pale Ale, Tsingtao and a Bismark Brown Ale made by Hancock and Co. This is a malty, hoppy, slightly bitter brown ale, best drunk cold, rather than after being in the van for many hours. However as a post race refresher it meets the mark.

So the team had a very enjoyable jaunt from Christchurch to Akaroa. There were a lot of laughs, ribbing, jokes and irreverent comments about our respective running ability, while racing against other teams of a similar pace. There was a great spirit of camaraderie, enhanced by the snacking on sausages and beer.

We will all be back next year for what will undoubtedly be another highly unsuccessful attempt at a NZ title, but with high anticipation that the day will one an pleasurable one.

For links to other parts of this series.