Wroxham scone contest

The annual scone competition at Wroxham Barns is one of the highlights of the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival.

Plain or cheese? Jam or cream first? Fruit or no fruit? And do you say 'scon' or 'scown'?

It may be a teatime treat made from humble ingredients, but the scone is the source of much debate – especially at Wroxham Barns' annual scone contest.

A highlight of the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, last year I was invited to be one of the judges – and the competitors certainly rose to the occasion.

I was given job of co-judging the cheese scone category. I had prepared for the task by watching the Great British Bake Off. Taking my cues from judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, I figured that I could pretend that I knew what I was talking about armed with a supply of comments such as 'that's a good bake' and 'no soggy bottom there'.

Scones are surprisingly tricky to get right. The winner ticked all the boxes – it was fresh, well-risen, had a moist texture without being too doughy, and had a good strong cheesy flavour.

While I'm a huge fan of eating scones (although after tasting about 30 in one afternoon, I did go cold turkey for quite some time), my efforts at baking my own have not been successful in the past.

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Sylvia Barnes, owner of Casaccio's cafe in Norwich, is famous for her scones. She advises: 'I always say with my scones I don't handle the mixture too much . I hand mix it all up, put whatever ingredients in it – currants, cherries or cheese – fold it all in and add water. After that I will roll it out. I don't roll it out too thin. I use a large cutter – I like them to look rustic.

'But I'm not telling you my recipe, it's a secret!'

Wroxham Barns' annual scone competition is being held on Sunday, September 30. For more information visit www.wroxhambarns.co.uk

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