Harwich Sausage Festival
Saturday 5th November 2016
Historic real ale pubs, superb sausages from Tendring producers,
an amazing atmosphere and some grown men (and women) trying to throw sausages as far as they can!
The Sausages 2016
Here are is the secret sausage schema so if you came along on Saturday 5th November 2016 you can find out who made your favourite sausage:
- Smiths Butchers, Brightlingsea
- New Bell Inn, Harwich (Innovation Class)
- Warnes Butchers, Parkeston
- Frank Wright & Sons, The Triangle, Frinton-on-Sea
- Frinton Road Butchers, Holland-on-Sea
- Wrights of Frinton
- Alma Inn, Harwich (Innovation Class)
- Primrose Pork, Great Bromley
- Ragmarsh Farm Shop, Manningtree
- Chas Bower Butchers, Holland-on-Sea
- Shaws Farm Meats, Dovercourt Street Market
- Primrose Pork, Great Bromley (Innovation Class)
The Winning Sausages 2016
With the field separated into two classes we saw the Alma Inn carry off the Innovation Class and Smiths Butchers of Brightlingsea carry off the Butchers Class. The butchers competition was very closely fought and Primrose Pork of Great Bromley and Shaws Farm Meats of Dovercourt Street Market tied for second place.
In a very tight contest for overall winner it was Smiths Butchers of Brightlingsea that take the overall champion award and will be put forward for the national Champion of Champions competition.
The Throwing 2016
The throwing competition was won by sausage throwing legend Nick Aldridge chucking for the Alma Inn with an amazing 132 foot throw. Second was Guy throwing for the New Bell with a very close 127 feet 3 inches. Third was Ally throwing for Frank Wright & Sons of Frinton-on-Sea with 126 feet. In all there were 8 throws over 100 feet this year but the Harwich Sausage Throwing record still stands at 150 feet 6 inches - set by Nick Aldridge in 2014.
It's all over this year but watch this space for details of the 2017 festival!
We're changing things slightly in 2016 by dividing the field into two classes. The Butchers' Challenge is open to butchers and the sausages entered must be available for sale in a retail outlet for at least three months in the year following the festival. The Innovation Challenge is open to all food producers and the recipe can be a one-off special for the festival. Producers may enter sausages into either or both categories and the competition will be a blind tasting of all sausages from both classes. When the results are announced the highest scoring sausage in each class will be announced along with the overall winner. Our overall champion now goes forward to the Champion of Champions Sausage Competition.
Get the low-down on all our 2016 invited butchers here
Facts and Figures from Previous Years
The winner of the throwing competition in 2015 was Nick Aldridge throwing for The Alma Inn of Harwich. Nick still holds the Harwich Sausage Throwing Record of 150 feet 6 inches which he set in 2014.
The winner of the 2015 tasting competition was The Alma Inn with their delicious Spicy Pork concoction. Coming very close in second place in 2015 was Ragmarsh Farm Shop of Manningtree with their classic Bradfield Sausage and it was proprietor Richard Mitchell who gave Nick Aldridge a run for his money in the throwing competition. Third place went to Warnes of Parkeston with their tremendous Cracked Black Pepper Sausage - always a winner as far as the organisers are concerned.
A Brief History of Sausage Throwing
Somewhere around 2008 at a beer festival planning meeting someone came up with the idea of a sausage throwing competition, we can't be sure who it was or exactly when it was suggested but it resurfaced year after year until 2011 when we decided that it simply had to be done in order to get it off the agenda!
So in 2011 we ran a throwing competition for Tendring sausage producers after which their fine wares were entered into a blind public tasting competition held in three traditional Harwich pubs. Such was the success of this format that it has become a regular event held on a Saturday in early November to coincide with British Sausage Week.
The Producers' Throwing Competition commences at 11.00 with some warming up (of participants, not sausages) before each contender throws a "standard" raw sausage as far as they can. The event is held next to the Hanover Inn in Harwich and is taken very seriously with a deal great of athleticism, psychology and giggling. A cricket umpire adjudicates to prevent cheating and Tendring CAMRA "Sausage Marshals" carefully measure and record each throw.
Once the throwing competition is complete the action moves to three traditional pubs - the Alma Inn, the Hanover Inn and the New Bell Inn where the sausages will be ready for the public to taste over the next couple of hours. Each pub will have supplies of some of the anonymous sausages and a supply of voting slips. Members of the public are invited to tour the pubs, sampling sausages and soaking up the atmosphere. For a vote to qualify all the sausages must be scored and the fully completed voting slip returned via one of the boxes made available at the pubs. When the competition ends at 14.30 the votes are collected and counted in the New Bell Inn (aka "Sausage HQ") where the winner will be announced at 15.00.
If you love the atmosphere of the Great British pub and are partial to a gourmet sausage we warmly invite you to join us. Even if you're not entirely sure we would welcome the opportunity to convince you that the combined talents of butchers, brewers and publicans makes for a fantastic day out!
There is no charge to watch the throwing or join the public sausage tasting but we respectfully ask that you buy drinks and perhaps some food as you visit the pubs. The butchers have donated their delectable produce free of charge so if you like what you taste please seek out and support them!
If you're travelling from away it's really easy to come along to Old Harwich by public transport and sample some sausages whilst enjoying a couple of beers. Both Harwich Town railway station and bus station are within a couple of minute's stroll of the Hanover Inn and the start of the festival and all the pubs can easily be reached on foot in a short circuit of the old town.
Train timetables can be found here
Bus timeables can be found here