A Sweet Contest

On December 7, I had the pleasure of being a part of the judging panel at a baking contest held at Manitoba Hog Days in Brandon. Hog Days is a showcase for the Hog industry in Canada; over the course of the two days 140 exhibitors and 1000 spectators crowded the Keystone Centre.

The cakes and cupcakes table (1 of 2).

Amongst the exhibition and speakers, a baking contest was held. Growing in scale since the previous year it had been held, the contest attracted over 140 entries! The baked goods were divided into five categories: cakes and cupcakes, cookies, breads, pies, jams and jellies.

Yours truly had the difficult task of taste testing every single entry and deciding what went to the final judging stage. I say difficult because everything was so good, it was hard to eliminate any. Another judge and I tasted 140 scrumptious baked goods and selected which ones went to the final judging that was done behind closed curtains by  four chefs from Crocus Plains High School Culinary Arts Program and the Pastry Chef from Lady of the Lake Cafe in Brandon.  They were better fit to judge based on factors like presentation, creativity, and complexity to name a few.

The Pies table.
The table of jams and jellies.







Four hours later, the results were in but were not announced to the public until the next day at Hog Days. The anticipation was nerve wracking for those who had submitted their goods.

The winners were:

Category: Cakes / Cupcakes

1st – Janice Waldner, Baker Colony – Tiramisu Cake

2nd – Astrid Maendel, Baker Colony – Hot Fudge Cake with Peanut Butter Sauce

 Category: Pies

1st – Alice Hofer, Green Acres Colony – Layered Lemon Pie

2nd – Marilyn Waldner, Green Acres Colony – Coconut Tarts

Category: Cookies

1st – Melanie Waldner, Baker Colony – Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

2nd – Hannah Maendel, Baker Colony – Meringue Kisses

Category: Breads

1st – Marianna Maendel, Fairholme Colony – Pumpernickel Swirl

2nd – Eva Gross, Cascade Colony – 4 Grain Bread

Category: Jams/Jellies

1st – Linda Hofer, Green Acres Colony- Pepper Jelly

2nd – Selma Maendel, Fairholme Colony –Saskatoon Jam

The Meringue Kisses that took second place in the cookie category.

All winners were awarded prizes, but the best prize of all were bragging rights, not only for the bakers themselves, but for their families too. The contest “…created an entirely new market of spectators to the event” stated event organizer Helen Waldner. The intention of starting this portion of the event was to attract ladies to the event – but it even created some creative competition from the men.  Waldner and the Hog Days Committee were ecstatic with the results and have hopes that future events will involve more categories to enter as well as larger prizes.

Be Well…Wendy

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