Judging a baking competition is serious business and fortunately the first time I was involved there was an official WI judge who gave me some top tips on what to look for. I was happy to impart these to the other judges this time around. We were looking for good colour, a nice rise, a light texture and of course the scones had to taste delicious. The scones got marks out of ten for appearance, taste and texture.
There were six categories: Cheese, Plain, Fruit, Freestyle, Children’s and Signature. I was judging the Freestyle round again because it was such an unusual category, you never know what you’ll get. It proved to be the most popular category this year with the most entries - I lost count of how many scones I tried but there was at least twenty! A little overwhelming to sit down to but I proved my WI credentials and tasted them all.
The trick was to only take very small pieces of each scone and I alternated between sweet and savoury to keep my taste buds fresh. This year Mediterranean flavours were really popular, lots of sun dried tomatoes and olives as well as two entries with Norfolk saffron. There was also some fun sweet flavours including s’mores, gingerbread and Nutella.
It was very close between first and second, just a couple of points between them. First prize went to a sun dried tomato, chorizo and feta scone and second was cheese, apple and onion. Both were delicious and I would be very happy to be served them at any afternoon tea I attend.
Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.