It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Not Christmas. Not Eurovision. It’s the day the Baking Association of Australia announces where you can find the country’s best vanilla slice, sausage roll, hot cross bun and pie.
The 2023 Victorian Baking Show was just held in Bendigo, where 143 bakeries from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland presented a whopping 590 products to the judging panel, Escape reports.
North End Bakehouse in Shepparton, Victoria, took out the gong for the country’s best vanilla slice.
“This was an absolute standout. The judges couldn’t believe how creamy the custard was, and the fondant was tempered perfectly on the top. The pastry was crisp and thin, not soggy,” Tony Smith, executive officer of the Baking Association of Australia, told Baking Business.
“John Humphrey, one of the main judges – along with Stewart Latter, chief judge for the BAA – judged the vanilla slices and stated that sometimes it’s very hard to temper the fondant and allow it to sit perfectly on top. Along with this, some people have custard filling that leaves a gritty or grainy feeling in your mouth.
“But this was perfect.”
North End Bakehouse also took home the prize for best sourdough loaf, and landed first place for best innovative hot cross bun for its Vegemite-flavoured bun (which will be available in-store in the coming weeks).
Sunraysia Bread and Butter Bakery in Mildura won the prize for best pasties, and landed second place for the innovative hot cross bun category (with their limited edition sticky date hot cross buns).
The best fruit flan prize went to Adriano Capretto Bakehouse in Whittlesea.
Best meat pie – yet again – went to Victoria’s Country Cob Bakery (which has stores in Kyneton, Boronia and Springvale). They also won the gold medal for best gourmet pie with their lamb ragu pie.
The prize for most outstanding sausage roll went to the McKinnon Village Bakery, which is about an hour south of Melbourne.
Best hot cross bun went to Banana Boogie bakery at Belair in South Australia.
“The hot cross bun competition is judged over several sections by two judges,” Mr Smith said.
“The main thing is the judges cut one in half across from left to right, and then another on a diagonal. This allows the judges to see the fruit distribution in the bun and make sure it is evenly spread.
“Of course, there is spice aroma and then mouthfeel, making sure it is fresh and doesn’t stick to the roof of your mouth.”
This story originally appeared on Escape and is republished here with permission