For this instalment of Tastes of Faversham we rounded up some hungry locals to spend a cold November evening sampling a selection of the town’s bangers. We selected a couple of varieties of sausages from each of the town’s butchers, served up with the full range of mustards, ketchup, fried onions, gherkins and washed down with several bottles of plonk.
Each of our ten tasters was given a scoresheet and asked to give a mark out of ten for both taste and consistency and note any comments. The sausages were cooked and then the blind tasting commenced.
Tasters seemed split between those who like a more traditional banger and those more adventurous in their tastes. There was however an outright winner - the Macknade Butcher’s Italian sausage (£9.49 per kg). With a 98 percent pork content these whoppers are a meaty delight. A chunky texture complements underlying flavours of fennel seed, lemon, garlic and a hint of chilli. One taster described them as “lovely, juicy and tasty. I could eat lots of these”.
It’s not surprising that this foodies’ favourite also won the 2019 Faversham Food Festival’s Sausage Trail Winner – Congratulazioni!
We also sampled Macknade’s Three Conspirators (£8.99 per kg) which have a slightly sweet taste. The tasters struggled to work out that the mystery ingredient in these is Gadds’ No5 Ale from The Furlongs Ale House, a collaboration sausage with Macknade for the 2017 Food Festival. The other special ingredients include mace and sage. We also sampled Macknade’s Merguez (£11.99 per kg) a North African spicy lamb sausage. These chipolata sized sausages had a lovely strong flavour, fine texture and were described as “spicey but nicey”.
A close runner-up was Stour Valley Game’s Boar and Apple cocktail sausages (£9.99 per kg). These had a slightly unusual gamey flavour. They were nice and meaty but the strong flavour was offset by the sweetness of small chunks of apple, all coming together to make an excellent little sausage. Stour Valley Game are based near Chilham and have a stall in Faversham Market on a Saturday. You can also buy a wide variety of other game including pigeon, partridge, deer, rabbit, depending on the season, and also some more exotic meats like ostrich and kangaroo.
On West Street, M.B. Farms Butchers (formerly Barkaway’s) have a decent selection of sausages. One of their best-selling varieties, Champion Pork (£7.72 per kg) is a good all-rounder with a smooth, almost powdery consistency. One taster stated “you could suck that one and it would be fully digested”. Their Pheasant sausages (£7.72 per kg) had a good balance of flavours: nice and juicy although maybe a bit on the fatty side. The skin was also a little chewy.
Baldy Butchers on East Street has a very well-presented shop and again, a wide variety to choose from. Their popular Farmhouse (£6.62 per kg) had a nice traditional flavour, a bit on the salty side and the skin was a little thick. Described by one taster as a “Tuesday night sausage”. The Old English (£6.62 per kg) had similar reviews and was described as good workaday sausage, with a herby taste. Although a little on the fatty side, overall they are good value.
If you’re prepared to take a drive out then you can pick up some Traditional style sausages from Luddenham Court (£3 for pack of six). There was a mixed verdict on these, with some liking the old school style but others finding them unremarkable and the skin a bit tough. They also do a spicy variety.
Least popular of our selection was the Farmhouse variety (£6.98 per kg) from The Butcher of Brogdale (now located at Standard Quay). This sausage had a weird consistency, maybe due to too much rusk and not enough meat. They had quite a smooth texture but also some gristle which was not pleasing. The skin was thin compared to the other types. You also have to hand it to the staff, they make it hard to leave without taking them up on one of their deals. You may be lumbered with half a cow to bung in your freezer before you can step out the door!