In Which I Won a Few Things and Lost a Few Others
First off I forgot the plum jam at drop-off time. There was only a two hour window and the show was 40 minutes away. This is depressing because the plum was the best thing I made all year. Of course this year was really about feeling out the judges and competition.
The big success was my marmalades. First, Second, and Third for lemon ginger, lemon, and mandarin. There was only one other entry in marmalades but it obviously wasn’t up to scratch.
My Jelly did okay. I got second and third for my chardonnay/green apple jelly and my merlot. My cherry jelly didn’t place and the first went to a hot pepper jelly.
Raspberry jam took a third. Neither my blueberry or apricot jam placed. There was a lot of competition in those sections. Those were also the sweetest of all the jams I made.
My takeaway for next year is not too sweet and think outside the box.
Baking went a little different.
That beautiful loaf of bread I made only took a second. I guess I must have lost points on taste or texture. It was hands down the most complicated looking loaf there.
My fruitcake got nothing. That was a bit of a surprise. It had to be a minimum of 3 pounds and mine was four. I baked it in a bunt cake pan and dipped it in rum. I figured it would be an easy place. Nope. The winning one was decorated and very pretty. The other two were just huge. I mean absolutely giant bricks of cake. I have no idea how they were baked, they had to be at least five pounds each.
My chocolate cake, which took three tries to not come out half raw didn’t place and was probably too dry. I tried to pass off my excellent banana bread and banana cake but they didn’t buy it. My Victoria sponge cake took a third. I think that was an aesthetic thing. The jam squeeze out of mine but the winners were quite tidy.
I got a second in the Genuine Flop category for a sponge cake that came out the same size, shape, and texture as a Frisbee. The winner looked like a giant fruitcake that had been dropped.
Then there was the cookies. These pissed me off. I entered two cookie sections, chocolate chip and shortbread. For my shortbread I entered my dark chocolate/cranberry shortbread. It is awesome shortbread, everyone loves it, I’ll post the recipe near Christmas and I don’t think the judges so much as nibbled it. The winners looked like the shortbread that comes in the big tins around Christmas.
As for the chocolate chip, I made the best fucking chocolate chip cookies you have ever had. Perfectly golden brown, chewy, dark chocolate chips that stayed soft, plenty but not too many, nice rich flavor and not too sweet. Perfect. The winners looked like the kind that sit in glass jars at chain coffee shops that no one ever buys. They looked like oversized anemic shortbread with a sprinkle of chocolate in it.
Bah! And I say again Bah! Those judges obviously have never had proper chocolate chip cookies.
So the baking take away was traditional and tidy.
Next year shall be total domination.