‘Round these parts, autumn is baking season. While pie competitions are the light-hearted fare of spring, fall is when the gloves come off and the time of Serious Baking Season begins. Yes, the time for state fairs is upon us. (Actually, the time for state fairs has passed, but I’m writing about it now. I couldn’t have written about it beforehand—I’m a baker, not a friggin’ psychic.)
In late September, Serious Baking Season begins with NGSF. Based in Marietta, GA, NGSF is the smaller of the two competitions with 17 classes comprising this year’s culinary contest. Last year was our first venture into competitive baking, and at NGSF we won a combined 10 ribbons for 15 total entries.
This year, we entered 16 items (into 16 categories—we don’t compete against each other). For NGSF, the entries are taken up the day before judging and held overnight. Judging is done the next morning, and photos of the winning goods are taken and posted on a board at the fair. We come up the evening after judging to check out the winners (we do have day jobs—we can’t hang out at the fairgrounds all day like carnies).
We earned 12 ribbons, 6 each, with one 1st place (for pumpkin cheesecake), one 2nd, and four 3rd place awards for me. Truthfully, it was not as many blue ribbons as I had hoped for (so conceited!), but I was still very happy with the outcome. While my devil’s food cake and sweet and salty brownies—absolute favorites of mine—did less well than I had expected, Paul doubled the number of ribbons he earned last year. Because it is smaller, NGSF is a great testing ground for trying recipes for Georgia National Fair.
Part II of our baking saga, focusing on Georgia National Fair, will be posted next week. See you then!