A BUTCHERS in County Durham has clinched a national award for its black pudding.

Coates Butchers in Coxhoe has won a best-of-the-best Diamond accolade in the Q Guild of Butchers 2020 Smithfield ‘Star’ Awards.

The Church Street shop achieved a Diamond in the Black Pudding category with its Chilli Black Pudding, which had first picked up a top-ranked three star rating.

Judges deemed it “well produced and overall a superb twist on a traditional black pudding, with a lovely taste and texture”.

Coates Butchers’ shop manager Michael Snowball said: “Naturally, we’re over the moon to pick up a category-leading Diamond award in the face of such strong competition from our fellow butchers nationwide. I dedicate this success to the entire team.”

For the first time this year, the revamped Smithfield ‘Star’ Awards had a brand-new star rating system through which three star, two star or one star certificates were awarded to products achieving a set standard. Diamond awards are then achieved by pitching all the three star products against each other to find the Category Champion.

In fact, Coates Butchers received seven product awards, including two further three stars, which were for their Thai Pork Sausage in the Speciality Sausage category and Chicken Balti in the Kitchen Ready Product category.

An independent panel of food and meat sector experts, led by Institute of Meat chief executive, Keith Fisher, judged 220 individual products entered from 29 Q Guild butchers across the country.

Butchers Q Guild general manager Claire Holland said: “These awards are a great way of showcasing our members and their achievements. They work really hard to develop outstanding products and to keep up with consumer trends therefore to have it topped off with an industry judged accolade is the icing on the cake, for which they should be very proud.”