Where have all the bread and confectionery competitions gone? Down in Kent we still run a county competition each year to find the Champion Kent Baker. The Western Region has been running bread and confectionery competitions for many years. Both competitions are well-supported by bakers from all over their areas.

Many of us will remember the ’Hovis’ competitions or the Cardiff or Swansea competitions. These local contests provide the friendly rivalry to encourage bakers in their area to improve their products and strive to reach higher standards in their shops. The judges at such events are always happy to explain to individual competitors how improvements can be made.

On competition day, the banter between competing bakers is evident and many lasting friendships are formed. It is important that bakers in a locality mix together, as they often have to rely on these friendships in times of emergency - or just to borrow supplies!

l Watch out for the California Raisins competition with the final to be held at this year’s NA conference in Bournemouth in May. The California Raisin Bread Competition offers craft bakers the chance to win a trip to Las Vegas for producing the best-looking and tasting raisin bread. First prize is a trip to IBIE - a comprehensive baking expo in Las Vegas, held in 2010, combined with a study trip to California.

For details, call 020 8741 8513 or email info@ukraisins.com. Deadline for entries is 19 March.