Bakers Journal

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Sweetest of the Bunch


March 4, 2008
By California Walnut Commission

Topics

March 3, 2008, Toronto – Liako Dertilis and Pamela MacDonald, owners of Curious Epicureans in Toronto, were awarded Best in Baked Goods and Best in Confectionary in the third annual California Walnut Inspirations Contest held at the CRFA Show (Canadian Food and Beverage Show + HosteEx) yesterday.

March 3, 2008, Toronto – Liako Dertilis and Pamela MacDonald, owners of
Curious Epicureans in Toronto, were awarded Best in Baked Goods for
their Walrus Bars and Best in Confectionary for their Salted Walnut
Pralines in the third annual California Walnut Inspirations Contest
held at the CRFA Show (Canadian Food and Beverage Show + HosteEx)
yesterday.
 
"We are ecstatic to have won first place in both categories," exclaimed
Dertilis and MacDonald. “California walnuts are the perfect pairing in
sweet or salty treats because their mild nutty flavour combines well
with other ingredients.”

The Walrus Bars won Best in Baked Goods and are a decadent treat made
with a chocolate shortbread base and a gooey caramel and walnutty
topping. The Salted Walnut Pralines won the title of Best in
Confectionary. The New Orleans-style pralines combine the rich, earthy
flavours of California walnuts with salt and a hint of rum. Judging
criteria was based on taste; appearance; innovative use of California
walnuts; quantity of California walnuts used and marketability of the
products.
 
“Liako and Pamela were up against some tough competition in both these
categories,” remarked Dennis Balint, Chief Executive Officer of the
California Walnut Commission and participating judge at the new product
development contest. “Choosing a winner wasn’t an easy task, but their
products really showcased the walnuts visually, as well as in the
taste, texture and crunch. I am delighted to present them with both of
these awards.”
 
Dirtilis and MacDonald will move on to the final Best In Show
competition on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. where they will
compete against winners in the remaining three categories including
Desserts, Snacks and Breads. The grand prize winner will receive a cash
prize of $10,000 along with peer and industry recognition.
 
Sponsored by the California Walnut Commission (CWC), the California
Walnut Inspirations Contest is a new product development contest
intended to encourage food industry professionals from across Canada to
develop innovative and unique recipes that incorporate California
walnuts as a key ingredient. Competitors in the contest represent many
areas of the multi-faceted Canadian food industry and include: product
manufacturers, foodservice companies, product developers, culinary
professionals, private professional bakers and retail grocery
professionals. The contest is hosted by Mairlyn Smith, cookbook author,
television personality and professional foodie.