How a traditional butcher shop's unique flavours are competing with the best in the UK
George H Pickings Butchers, in Front Street, East Boldon, has been cleaning up at sausage competitions over recent months.
Manager Paul Clark and fellow butcher Stephen Auton have been working on exciting new flavours, ranging from toffee apple sausage to beef and marmite.
Their work has been rewarded, and the butchers took part in a ‘champion of champions’ event in London last month, competing as one of the best 15 sausage makers in the UK before finishing in the top five.
They also won two gold awards at an evaluation event in Hebburn, with Stephen picking them up for his pork spicy tomato and sticky onion, and pork ham hock and mature cheddar, flavours.
Two more gold awards were won during National Sausage Week, and Paul – who has been involved in the business for 36 years – has been left delighted by the recent success.
He said: “We’ve won a few different awards recently and it is great recognition for us.
“It’s about coming up with different ideas. We always have one or two different flavours on.
“Competitions in this neck of the woods are quite few and far between, but I always enjoy them.
“It’s nice when you go to the competitions, because you see the same people there. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years.
“You get the chance to talk to the different lads and get some different ideas.”
Paul, 52, joined the butchers after leaving school.
He added: “I started here on a work scheme, and still enjoy it as much as I always have done.
“If you like your job like I do, you’re laughing.
“You get up every day and enjoy going to work, and that reflects in what you do when you’re there.
“I’m very proud of what we do.
“We could go down the cheaper route, but we want to stay as being a traditional butcher offering a good quality product at a decent price.”