Check out the gallery of goodness from the recent Taste of Williamsville where I had the pleasure of judging the biggest-ever pie-baking contest in the history of the annual food festival. Event chairman Jeff Voelkl, a real-life judge, offered me the opportunity to experience the sweet competition at the Island Park fest.
Both rookies and veteran bakers were invited to participate. Although the weather was cool and rainy, the two dozen bakers just kept on coming, presenting one palate-pleasing pie after another. My fellow judges and I loosened our belts and, with plastic fork in hand and water bottle at the ready, sampled each and every one, judging on taste, crust and presentation/appearance.
Judge Voelkl did a masterful job presenting and cutting the pies in order. After the slices were distributed to us, the remaining pie was sold for a mere two bucks (by the slice) to hungry festival-goers. Proceeds from the pie contest were donated to the Williamsville Library.
Taking our roles seriously—and adding to our beltline rolls—the other judges and I debated the merits of each offering. We awarded the following bakers on these categories:
-Best of Overall Blue Ribbon: Deb Asfour for the coconut cream pie
-Most Original: Crista Stoklosa, margarita pie
-Best Fruit Pie: Tie - Kristen Johnson, strawberry rhubarb; Barbara Bulmahn, peach pie
-Best Appearance: Janice Schlau, strawberry raspberry sundae pie
Almost all of the “slices of heaven” were tasty and beautifully displayed; I was most impressed by the many variations, even on classics like the All-American apple pie. Whether it was a cool chocolate or a savory mushroom and cheese pie, the variety was outstanding and satisfying.
A tip of the toque to the bakers, organizers and other judges. My pie thighs and I had a blast!