BUTCHERS and producers are being urged to enter their top meaty products into this year's Great Hampshire Sausage and Pie Competition.

The annual contest organised by local food group Hampshire Fare will held at Eastleigh College this year with judging beginning on Valentine’s Day.

All twelve categories are now open for entry: traditional pork sausage, speciality pork sausage, lamb/beef sausage, Hampshire sausage - Hampshire Fare trophy, home-cured bacon, meatballs and faggots, traditional pork pie, pies – hot eating, pies – cold eating, black pudding, Hampshire charcuterie and young sausage maker.

Tracy Nash, commercial manager at Hampshire Fare, said: "Taking on board feedback from previous competitions, new rules have been put in place for 2018. These include entrants no longer needing to cook their sausage entries and the awards ceremony being held on a separate day to the judging.

"The competition highlights and celebrates the fantastic butchers and producers we have here in Hampshire. It is a chance for people to show their love and appreciation for their local butcher. Encourage your butcher to enter so they can get some well-earned recognition for their efforts and talents."

Last year’s competition attracted 201 entries from 38 butchers and producers.

The title of Supreme Champion was awarded to LJ Smith Butchers, who went on to represent Hampshire at the Champion of Champions national competition.

Pip Smith, owner of LJ Smith Butchers, said: "Achieving this title reinforces our customers’ belief in what we do. It gives them confidence in our commitment to making the best products we can. We have been lucky enough to win this title before and it has helped bolster sales and also keep enthusiasm going in the shop."

Entries must be received by February 2 2018. Entries can be made online, or by call 023 8073 3830 or emailing info@hampshirefare.co.uk.

Judging will take place February 14 and 15 with the award ceremony being held in the evening on March 1.