The Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association came up with a winning recipe to showcase local produce and products at this year's Hawkesbury Show.
A tent dedicated to flaunting the best on offer from the Hawkesbury food bowl attracted crowds of punters over the weekend, with hordes flocking to get a taste of the sizzling sausages that were entered into the inaugural Sausage Competition, judged on Friday.
The Sausage Competition was open to local butchers only, with around 12 entering both their traditional sausages and gourmet creations, for judging by a panel of experts - and local residents to boot - from the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC).
After much deliberation, the judges named Bligh Park Butchery's Pumpkin, Spinach, Shallot and Feta Lamb sausage 'Best Hawkesbury District Sausage'.
Created by Bligh Park Butchery owner Aurelio Sartori, the sausage also took first prize in the Gourmet Thin category.
Second prize in the Gourmet category went to Bill Denne of Valley Meats in North Richmond Shopping Village for his Steak, Bacon, Onion, Cheese and Capsicum sausage.
Jud Haines, owner of Glossodia's Country Fresh Meats, took third prize in the Gourmet Thin category for his Lamb, Shop-smoked Bacon and Maple sausage.
In the Classic Thin Beef category, Kurrajong Butchery owner Andrew Sinclair was declared the winner, with Valley Meats again taking second place.
Third place in the Classic category went to Dean Diasinos of M & A Butchery at Wilberforce.
Though Bligh Park Butchery's gourmet sausage was named the best in the Hawkesbury, Valley Meats won the competition in terms of the most points scored.
AMIC judge and sausage competition organiser, Craig Wright of Grose Vale, who organises the NSW Sausage King Competition for AMIC, said he was "pretty impressed" with the quality of the sausages on offer in the Hawkesbury, declaring them "very good".
"In the raw state, we were looking at how it's filled out, and customer appeal," he said.
"When cooked, we looked at if it shrunk or if the skin split, but the big factor is the flavour."
Fellow judge Simon Apostle of Kurrajong said: "I was surprised by the variety, and the number of butchers that entered."
Judge Ron Clark of Wilberforce - who has judged sausages in Holland - said the Classic category was "so close" and ultimately it came down to "personal taste".
Taste the Hawkesbury
The Taste the Hawkesbury pavilion was organised by Hawkesbury Harvest CEO Ian Knowd, and was sponsored by Western Sydney Airport.
A bunch of local producers held stalls within the tent, showcasing their goods.
Punters were able to chat to the producers, and taste produce from companies including Bilpin Cider, Kurrajong Kitchen, CSA Farmers, Canoelands Orchard, Goose on the Loose, Karu Distillery, Tizzana Jubilee, Wild Hibiscus, and Hillbilly Cider.
The Hawkesbury Harvest Farm Gate Trail also represented a small clutch of local producers.
Mr Knowd said it was a "decent showcase of the authentic artisans in the Hawkesbury".
This was the first time Taste the Hawkesbury had appeared at the show, and Mr Knowd said he was keen to organise it again for 2020.
"Next year we'll have even more tastings, and get as many artisans as we can in the tent, to show that Hawkesbury is a contender for the food bowl of Sydney [title]," he said.
"Next year the [Hawkesbury Show] will be three weeks earlier [in the year than this year], so it'll be a different profile of fresh foods that we'll be able to showcase."