Judges given a taste of Fife’s black magic

Derek McMahon (left) of Stuart's of Buckhaven receives the award from George Stuart of sponsor Dalziel Ltd.
Derek McMahon (left) of Stuart's of Buckhaven receives the award from George Stuart of sponsor Dalziel Ltd.
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Buckhaven was judged to have the best in the East of Scotland when the regional heat of this year’s Scottish Black Pudding Championship was held at the Inchture Hotel recently.

The black pudding from Stuart’s of Buckhaven now goes forward to represent the region at the Scottish final to be held at Western House Hotel, Ayr, later in the summer.

The black pudding will be purchased by a mystery shopper and tested against the winners from the other four regions of Scotland.

A panel of experts will then carry out a further evaluation to decide who has the best butcher’s black pudding in Scotland for 2012.

In the final the Buckhaven black pudding will face the challenge from T. Baillie & Son in Saltcoats, representing South West Scotland, the North champion from Forbes Raeburn in Huntly, West from Mearns T. McCaskie in Wemyss Bay and South East from Shaws Fine Meats in Lauder.

And while Levenmouth is challenging on the pudding front, Barnetts bakery in Anstruther has been recognised by a panel of expert judges as producing some of the best cheese and leek bread and fruit scones in the land.

Customers from across Scotland voted for their best bakery products during March and the top 30 products in each of the five categories were baked and delivered for judging by a panel of independent experts.

The panel professionally judged all 150 items shortlisted in the five categories – bread, scones, sweets, savouries and morning rolls to decide on which should be put through as the best in Scotland.

Only 33 bakers baking a total of 45 of the best products were deemed good enough to win a prize and be automatically entered for the ultimate accolade Scottish Baker of the Year.

The final results will remain a closely-guarded secret until Saturday when the results will be announced and the first ever Scottish Baker of the Year crowned.

But for now, Barnetts can take pride in their place as having produced some of the country’s best loaves and scones.

But the East Neuk bakery isn’t the only Fife challenger.

Fisher and Donaldson of Cupar also won through on its scones.

Head judge Robert Ross commented: “The sheer number of votes has given us a good indication of how strongly the people of Scotland feel about their high street bakers and we were delighted with the quality of the products we had to judge. We believe Barnetts and Fisher and Donaldson are worthy of their place on the shortlist and they should be proud to be counted amongst the best of the best of Scottish baking.”

Chief executive of Scottish Bakers Alan Clarke said “These bakers do a great job day in and day out delivering a quality product and I am sure their customers will agree. What is key for me though is that this competition has given me great heart that the people of Scotland really do value their high street bakers and are pleased to have been able to back them by voting in this competition.”