Tyrone’s Valerie McConnell has scooped a place in the final to find the best Victoria Sandwich.
From Abercorn WI, Valerie beat off 21 entries for one of the six places for the coveted title.
Last month Victoria Square announced that, together with the Women’s Institute and cook Jenny Bristow, they have launched a quest to find the best Victoria ‘Square’ Sandwich baker in Northern Ireland this spring.
One representative from each of the 21 Area Groups of Women’s Institutes across Northern Ireland were invited to submit their very best four-egg sponge to be judged by Victoria Square Centre Manager, Michelle Greeves, and Jenny Bristow, at the semi-final on January 28 at the WI Headquarters.
Six finalists, including Valerie, were selected to compete in the grand final in Victoria Square on Saturday, March 4 when they will be tasked to bake their own unique Victoria Sandwich against the clock and in front of a live audience.
Michelle Greeves, Victoria Square Centre Manager said: “Baking appeals to all ages, especially now since the growth in popularity of baking TV shows, so this will be a lovely fun family event. There are many great home bakers here and I’m sure many of us can recall our favourite treats baked by family or friends at special occasions. The WI members in particular are famously known for their baking and cooking talent so we’re really excited to get together to have some fun with our own bake-off with a Victoria Square twist.”
Finalists will race against the clock in front of a live audience to bake their best ‘Victoria Square Sandwich’ and the showstopper will literally be the icing on the cake when contestants will be challenged to delightfully decorate their sandwich for spring, under the watchful eye of host and judge Jenny Bristow.
“The Victoria Sandwich has been around for hundreds of years and while basic recipes haven’t changed and may have been handed down through generations, there are lots of variations in terms of fillings and decorations and there may even be some ‘secret’ ingredients used”, explains Jenny Bristow.
“I will be looking for all the traditional qualities you’d expect from a sponge – light and tender – but there needs to be a good balance of flavour with the sponge and jam and of course, no soggy bottoms allowed!”
The winner will be crowned the coveted title of Victoria Square Star Baker and will take home a bundle of premium baking equipment and treats courtesy of House of Fraser, as well as a place at the ‘Jenny Bristow Cookery School’ experience. The runners-up will receive a £50 Victoria Square gift card to spend in a choice of 70 stores, cafés and restaurants under the dome at Northern Ireland’s leading retail destination.
All information about the event, including the centre’s opening hours, can be found at www.victoriasquare.com