The wine industry was never Stuart Dudley’s first career choice. The viticulturist for Villa Maria Wines in Marlborough had his mindset on research or forensics, having completed a degree in Genetics and Biochemistry.
Over 400 sausages were tasted and judged on visual appeal, aroma, flavour, texture, shrinkage and composition at the Devro New Zealand Sausage Competition semi-final last week.
The 22 gold medallists from 11 categories will go on to the Grand Final in Auckland on October 21st, in the hope of taking out the 2015 Supreme Award.
The categories include traditional beef, traditional pork, poultry, saveloy, pre-cooked, flavoured, traditional flavoured, rounds, continental fresh, continental ready-to-eat and gourmet.
Head technical judge, Matt Grimes, says the quality of the sausages improves annually.
"Each year I am impressed by the amount of skill Kiwi butchers have, which is evident in their product," he says.
President of the New Zealand Food Writers Guild and semi final judge, Kathy Paterson, says she is impressed with the amount of effort butchers have put into this year's competition.
"Each sausage manufacturer leaves their own stamp on their product. There are some excellent flavour combinations which the butchers have put a lot of thought into," she says.
This year marks the 22nd year of the iconic competition, acknowledging the skill of New Zealand butchers and small goods manufacturers, while pointing New Zealander's in the right direction for the best sausages this summer.
The Grand Final will be held at Billfish Cafe in Auckland on October 21st. The competition is supported by Devro New Zealand, Kerry Ingredients and Alto Packaging.