Food lovers flock to Norwich city centre to enjoy fair and bangers competition

Food lovers flocked to Norwich city centre on Saturday to enjoy a number of events as part of the Norfolk Food Festival.

The second weekend of the festival, backed by our sister paper the EDP and Bidwells, again showcased the abundance of great-tasting fresh produce that's grown, raised, fish, farmed and manufactured in Norfolk.

The main attraction for many people was the ever-popular Battle of the Bangers outside the Forum.

Five butchers and their staff spent several hours cooking sausages and encouraging shoppers to try them for free and then vote for their favourite.

The winner of the public vote for 'Best Sausage' went to Archers Butchers of Plumstead Road, Norwich for the fourth time in five years.

Owner Jamie Archer said: 'I don't know how we keep doing it. I think we are just having a run of luck. We must be popular with the public.

'We use the same recipe, although we have slightly tweaked it, that my grandfather had when he started the business in 1929.'

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The sponsor's winner based on a blind taste test by Anglia Farmers and the Red Cat Partnership was won by Brambles Farm, from Briston, north Norfolk, which entered for the first time. Brambles also came second in the public vote.

Owner Martin Olden said: 'I did not think we would do this well, but my staff put in a lot of effort, and it's a reward for them.'

The Fruitpig Company from West Norfolk came second in the blind test.

The number of visitors at the event, organised by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association and run by Sarah de Chair, was a record 4,133.

She said: 'It's the busiest I've ever known, but the weather helped.'

There were two new entrants this year, Brambles, and Blofield Farm Shop, near Norwich, who battled it out with Archers Butchers, the Fruitpig Company, and EDP Food and Drink Awards finalist Tony Perkins, of Attleborough.

Karl Beckett, butcher manager at Blofield Farm Shop, said he was surprised how busy the event was.

He said: 'This is our first time here. We thought we would come partly to advertise the shop, but also because we have got a good sausage.'

Among those trying out the sausages was Alex Conroy, 10, from Rackheath, near Norwich, who dragged his family to the event for the third consecutive year.

Other events in Norwich city centre included a food fair at the Castle Gardens, which was transformed into a gastronomic extravaganza, with producers from across the county tantalising visitors' taste buds with their wares.

Among the visitors to the food fair was Polly Cooke, from Norwich, who is a chef at the Coach and Horses pub in the city.

She was with her friend Hannah Moss, a former chef at the same pub, and said: 'We like food but we were also looking for things that we can use in our own cooking.'

The food festival celebrates the finest produce the county has to offer and runs from September 4 to October 2,

It is already the country's largest food festival, with more than 1,000 events showing off the best food and drink Norfolk has to offer, and this year's aim is to show off to a much wider audience.

Last year the attraction, which began seven years ago, became a month-long spectacular.

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