Tag Archives: English Village Life

Best In Show- Frenchay Flower Show 2016

Flowers For The Show, Rocking Dog

Flowers For The Show

Rocking Dog was asked to help judge the food classes at Frenchay Flower Show on Saturday. It was a real experience- I do so love a good flower show. Having entered the childrens’ classes with handwriting, painting, miniature garden at this flower show half a century ago (how is that ever possible?!), it was a real honour to try my hand at judging.

Working with an experienced judge I worked my way through tasting about 25 pickles, 10 marmalades, 15 jams, fruit cakes, breads, shortbread, pastry items, and Victoria Sandwiches. If truth be known there were many pickles i’d have honestly rather not tasted…but it was all in a days work!

Predominantly it was about the flavour- definitely substance over style. It was an absolute bonus if a delicious product married with a beautifully labelled jar or pretty plate.

The most competitive class is that of baking a prizewinning Victoria Sandwich. In particular a group of men from the village set themselves the task of trying to win the prestigious red certificate. The cake has to be made with a prescribed list of ingredients and baked in a particular size of tin. You would think therefore that the twenty four or so cakes would look fairly uniform. Aahh no! Some cakes were eliminated at the beginning of the judging process because they had failed to rise, were over baked or had other cakey issues. Beatrice and I were left with a core of six or seven cakes that required further investigation. They were cut, tasted and then deliberated over. I am pleased to report that two men would be cawing about their prize winning cakes in the pub that evening!

Thankfully Beatrice and I very much agreed on every prizewinning jar, cake or loaf. However, I think the sourdough and artisan breads were rather new-fangled for her, and the crusts just a little too tough. Personally I think i’d have done a little bit of certificate swapping in this section! It’s such a subjective process.

One of our last tasks left was to break open some hens eggs to determine the freshness before awarding certificates for best clutch of freshly laid eggs.

Thankfully the wines were tasted by another set of judges, not only would I have been full I would have been literally staggering out of the marquee.

It was a really enjoyable two hours, and I got to learn so much. Although I wanted to stay and buy plants, browse and soak up the sun I was feeling a little jaded. I never did find out whether the hoped for Lancaster Bomber did its fly past. I hope so, it really is such a rare and wonderful sight.

Flowers, brass band, stalls, ice creams, patchwork, bees, cream teas, tombola, and radiant sunshine, it’s a quintessential little bit of English village life. Long may it continue.

Dazzling Dahlia, Rocking Dog

Dazzling Dahlia

Scented Blooms, Rocking Dog

Scented Blooms

Fiery Flowers, Rocking Dog

Fiery Flowers

Tidy Onions, Rocking Dog

Tidy Onions

Going For The Prize, Rocking Dog

Going For The Prize

Paper Fruit & Veg', Rocking Dog

Paper Fruit & Veg’

Best In Class, Rocking Dog

Best In Class

Preserves To Taste, Rocking Dog

Preserves To Taste

Embroidered Flowers, Rocking Dog

Embroidered Flowers