JE Toms & Sons of Portstewart is celebrating this morning after collecting the Overall Winner and Housewife’s Choice accolades at the 2012 National Sausage Awards.

The awards, run by the Northern Ireland Pork & Bacon Forum, had over 120 entries this year making it the biggest competition to date.

Norman Brown, Chairman of the Forum commented,

“I am delighted to see JE Toms & Sons win the National Sausage Awards.  Their traditional pork recipe was hailed the best sausage in the province by an expert panel of judges.  Butchers and independent retailers should be rewarded for their dedication and commitment towards the local supply chain.  We would also like to thank DARD and the team at the NI Regional Food Programme for the funding that enables the awards to happen.”

Norman further commented,

“Each entry should also be praised for their innovation and use of specialist ingredients.  We had sausages including honey, Ballyblue Cheese, blackberry, toffee apple and black pudding.  We would encourage all shoppers to visit their local butcher and pick a pack for Northern Ireland Pork sausages.  The local butcher is an important part of our regional high street.”

JE Toms & Sons has been a mainstay on Portstewart Promenade for forty four years and Derek Toms who received the awards on the night said,

“We are absolutely delighted with first place at the National Sausage Awards.  We have won regional winner eight times in the past and this year we surpassed ourselves by collecting the Martin McEvoy Trophy for Technical Excellence alongside the main award.  I would like to thank the judges and hope that the awards go from strength to strength.”

“We consistently perform to a high standard and this is the fourth Overall Winner award in the eleven years the competition has been running.   JE Toms & Sons have a dedicated team in store ready to help and I would encourage all shoppers who are heading to the North Coast to call in.”

The Martin McEvoy Cup was awarded to the team with the best technique during sausage production.  This includes weight, appearance and recipe.  Each regional winner also received point of sale posters and stickers to highlight the awards and encourage consumers to purchase the best in Northern Ireland Pork.

With over 2.3million sausages consumed each week in the UK, it certainly is big business.  The Northern Ireland Pork and Bacon Forum would encourage shoppers into their local store and ask for Northern Ireland Pork.  The awards sponsored by DARD are an important mainstay in the butchery promotions calendar.  On hand to present the Overall Award from DARD was Steven Millar for the Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme.