AFTER hours of tasting and debating the judges finally agreed that the World Champion Bara Brith baker of 2018 is Joyce Smith from Llandudno and the Champion of the junior class for 2018 is Elin Gore from Aberystwyth.
Over 50 entered their traditional Bara Brith. Entries came from over Wales and a few from over the border in England, and while the bake-off was taking place at the Holly Trinity church, the bakers enjoyed a relaxing weekend in Llandudno soaking in the Christmas spirit of the Fayer.
The four judges, Deiniol ap Dafydd from Blas ar Fwyd, Jane Roberts Head Assessor of Catering from Llandrillo Collage, Jimmy Williams owner and Head Chef of the Signature Restaurant Conwy and Linda Jones former Home Domestic teacher and representing Mercher y Wawr, were all extremely happy with the entries.
“We were amazed at the variety and style of Bara Brith that we judged this morning” said Deiniol “ but I’m very pleased that we were all unanimous when it came to the winners”
When asked what decided the winners, Jimmy explained, “ When baking it all starts with the produce, you need good quality ingredients. Then there’s the mixing and the baking, if you get all these right then you’re a winner. And it’s most certainly true with our two Champion. They had good basic flavour, and you could see that the fruit had a moist glazed look when you sliced into the cake.”
Both Linda and Jane agreed that they had expected more to use the traditional receipt of using yeast “It’s an old debate, is Bara Brith a cake or bread?” said Jane,
“It certainly was bread in the beginning, I remember my grandmother adding fruit into the left over dough as a treat, this was the traditional Bara Brith” she added. But as Linda explained, “this is what makes the Bara Brith so interesting, its the way generations have passed down recipes thus giving us a wonderful insight to the way the cake/bread has progressed and will continue too for years to come. Some are now adding liquor-flavoured marmalade to their Bara Brith, giving yet again another twist to the interpretation.
This is certainly true for Elin, the cake that won her the title of the Junior Champion Bara Brith 2018 was a recipe passed down to her from her grandmother.
Elin who’s 12 and a pupil at Penweddig School Aberystwyth loves baking. She started making cakes as a way of raising money for the Macmillan coffee mornings while her father was suffering from cancer – she managed to raise £2442.00,
“Elin is a worthy winner”, said Geraint Hughes from Jones crisps, one of the sponsor’s of the Championship. “We wish her well, I’m sure she has a bright future in the baking world”
Joyce Smith who was declared the World Champion Bara Brith Baker was over the moon with the result.
“I can’t stop shaking” she said, “I was so shocked when Geraint Hughes announced that I had won”.
This is the second time that she had entered the Championship, the first year the judges praised her bake enormously. “I make Bara Brith every week for the Church”, she said “We sell it at a pound a slice to raise money for the Church”.
It really does seam that practice does make perfect in the case of Joyce’s Bara Brith.
“We were all so glad for Joyce” said Geraint Hughes, “she really is a worthy winner, she works tirelessly for this Church (The Holly Trinity Church), so to be crowned the Champion in a competition held in her beloved Church was something really special”.
Both winners will receive a trophy made by Great British Ironworks, a cash prize plus a year supply of Jones Crisps.