THE growth in veganism has been hitting the headlines recently but meat will be the main ingredient when the Great Hampshire Sausage and Pie Competition returns next month.

Food group, Hampshire Fare, based in Rownhams, is on the hunt for the county’s talented butchers and producers ahead of the contest on February 5.

The judging will take place at Eastleigh College where a panel of experts from across the UK will judge the 12 categories.

The event is being sponsored by Lucas Ingredients, Dalziel, Santa Maria, Ringwood Brewery and Mozzo.

The categories include Traditional Pork Sausage, Hampshire Sausage, Young Sausage Maker, Speciality Sausage, Charcuterie, Hot-Eating Pie, Meatballs and Faggotts and Cold-Eating Pie. A new addition this year will be the Innovative Produce Award presented by Hampshire Fare.

Entries will be marked against strict criteria including texture and flavour.

Tracy Nash, Hampshire Fare's commercial manager, said: “The Great Hampshire Sausage and Pie Competition is a unique opportunity for all local butchers and producers. The event puts the spotlight on our county’s butchers with lots of interest from local and national media. Through highlighting the best local products we aim to encourage people to make shopping at their local butchers a regular event.”

As well as the winner in each category there will be an overall champion.

Last year it was Eastleigh-based Ambrose Sausages who took the supreme champion award as well prizes for best home-cured bacon and best charcuterie .

Phil Ambrose and his wife Sue started the business six years ago

Phil trained as a master butcher before leaving the trade altogether but Sue, a trained chef, suggested they get into the sausage and bacon business.

The couple put down much of the success to the fact that they rear their own pigs in Lower Upham.

Entry forms must be completed and returned to Hampshire Fare by January 31.The entry form is available at or for by calling 023 8073 3830 or email