World Champion bara brith baker is crowned

A Llandudno woman who bakes to raise money for her church has been declared the World Champion bara brith baker of 2018.

Entries to the contest came from across Wales – with even a few from over the border in England – and judges ultimately declared Joyce Smith (pictured above) winner of the title.

“We were amazed at the variety and style of bara brith,” said Deiniol ap Dafydd from Welsh food hub Blas ar Fwyd, one of the judges at this year’s event.

Bara brith is a Welsh fruit loaf typically flavoured with tea, and some judges said they had expected more entries to use the traditional recipe including yeast.

“It’s an old debate, is bara brith a cake or bread?” said judge Jane Roberts, head assessor of catering at Llandrillo Collage. “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.

Fellow judge Linda Jones, representing women’s group Merched y Wawr, said the way generations had passed down recipes made bara brith so interesting and offered insights into the way the product had developed.

“Some are now adding liquor-flavoured marmalade to their bara brith, giving yet again another twist to the interpretation,” she added.

Competition winner Smith said this was the second time she had entered.

“I make bara brith every week for the church,” she explained. “We sell it at a pound a slice to raise money.”

Winner of the competition’s junior category was 12-year-old Elin Gore from Penweddig School in Aberystwyth, who started making cakes to raise money for the Macmillan coffee mornings while her father was suffering from cancer.

“Elin is a worthy winner”, said Geraint Hughes from Jones Crisps, one of the sponsors of the championship. “We wish her well, I’m sure she has a bright future in the baking world.”

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