I am looking forward to attending the Royal Queensland Show tomorrow on opening day and visiting the preserves section in the Agricultural Hall to see who the winners are. Judging took place last Saturday and there was no hint of who was competing, only a number on each jar. My fellow judge Julia Matusik and I tasted our way through 206 entries finishing late in the afternoon. We also have the assistance of a few very experienced stewards who keep the pace moving throughout the day.
There was an increase in the entries in the Lemon and Passionfruit Butter categories which is hardly surprising given the popularity of these curds as they are more commonly called. Many of the jars were very good and choosing a winner was not easy.
We noticed less salt being used in some of the pickles and chutneys which often resulted in a poor balance of flavor. I think it is better to make a well flavoured chutney and if necessary use less of it rather than compromise the overall flavor.
Whilst we were busy with the Preserves, judges were tasting fruit cakes and puddings and others were judging the large number of iced cakes. I have no ability in this area and greatly admire the skill acquired to create delicate flowers, amusing creatures, exquisite wedding cakes and more. The aroma in the whole cookery section was of sweet Christmas fruit and alcohol – great working atmosphere! The teapot cake reminded me of Clarice Cliff designs.
There is a new area at the Royal Queensland Show this year. The Flower and Garden & Quilts Exhibition will be in side and in the grounds of the Old Museum on Gregory Street. A special Royal Queensland Rose has been bred and will be planted in the garden on Friday morning and the Flower and Garden Platform Stage will have a full program of speakers for the ten days of the EKKA.
Some of the sessions on the stage tomorrow will be well known florist Phoebe Stephens working wonders with flowers, Caroline Jones, chef/owner of Three Girls Skipping Café in Graceville creating dessert with strawberries and I will be talking with Renee Holbrook, horticulturalist at Brookfield Garden Centre at 10.30am on Saturday about growing your own tomatoes and strawberries and using them in the kitchen. There will also be plenty of activities for children and more details can be seen at https://www.ekka.com.au/entertainment/the-old-museum-precinct and download the brochure for the full program.