Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Victoria’s Award winning Greek and Cypriot/Italian Australian butcher Tony Tartaglia is at his best again, taking out the Australian Meat Industry Council’s (AMIC) Sausage King competition. After taking out the regional championship earlier this year, Tartaglia faced off against five other Victorian regional champions to claim his first state wide gong.His North Balwyn butchery, Tony’s Gourmet Delights, in Melbourne’s east, is his very own ‘art factory’. A place where he creates his finest art pieces that have landed him an array of accolades. Some of the unique flavours of his Mediterranean Sausage, which won him through his continental category, can be traced back to Greece.“We actually got the olives from Kalamata, which we shred ourselves and put in the pork and veal mixture. Some beautiful tasty cheese we put in there as well, shredded ham off the bone which we cook and smoke ourselves and then the fresh oregano, which is actually the sporo from my mother-in-law, which she got about 50 years ago from Kefalonia. That fresh oregano gives it a lovely fresh unique flavour… “It’s a bit like a pizza in a skin if you like, we call it our Mediterranean.”Tartaglia says that he finds inspiration from his mother’s and yiayia’s cooking and much of his successes have come from trial-and-error.“We have a kitchen with a qualified chef, so we do a lot of prepared meals, and often for lunch we’ll do different little experiments… We’ll put in a few olives and put a bit of cheese, put a bit of chilli and it might need a bit of this or a bit of that and we might just play around with different flavours and come up with something that we think is quite nice and sort of go with that.“We do it for a few weeks and let the customers have a taste and get their feedback and that’s how I pretty much come up with our 13 or so different flavours that we do have.”Aside from the fresh ingredients and an insistence on using minimal fat in his sausages, Tartaglia insists that one of the keys to a winning formula is a simple philosophy. “I was always taught as an apprentice that if I wouldn’t eat it, I wouldn’t give it to anyone else to eat.”And in a health conscious society, he ensures that all of his products meet the needs of the whole community.“We’ve converted all our pre-mixes to a rice based pre-mix, so they’re all gluten free, all our sausages, which is a big thing these days with a lot of people being diagnosed with coeliac disease and wheat problems, so that also is a big plus that we make them all gluten free.”Tartaglia will travel to Adelaide in February to take on winners from all the remaining Australian states.