The Village Tavern’s Cooking With Fruit Contest at the Dixie Classic Fair drew 39 adults and 7 youths with its “anything goes” approach and $1,800 in prize money.
The contest, held Sunday in Yesterday Village, drew a mix of savory and sweet entries — a few of which took advantage of the technical definition of fruit by featuring tomatoes.
In the end, a contemporary and elaborate twist on a classic cake won Tanisha Randolph the first-place ribbon and $1,000. Randolph’s Hummingbird Cheesecake with Banana, Pineapple and Almonds has two cake layers, two cheesecake layers and two frostings, including one made with caramelized bananas.
“I had made the hummingbird cake before for a contest, and I had used the cheesecake before in a contest, but I had never put the two together before,” Randolph said. “And the caramel banana and the pineapple flowers are new.” The latter garnish — which some judges mistook as real flowers — consisted of thin slices of fresh pineapple dehydrated in the oven.
Nikki Shupe drove all the way to the fair from her home in Fries, Va., primarily so her 6-year-old daughter Breanna could show her lambs. While she was here, she decided to enter her classic apple pie — which had won contests back home — and she won $300 in the process. What probably makes her pie so good, she said, is the homemade apple filling. “I make the filling from our own trees at home,” she said.
Third place went to a savory, meat-heavy entry that incorporated blueberries. Betsy Tankersley also drove a ways to participate in the Dixie Classic Fair. Tankersley came from Flat Rock, N.C. Part of the reason was to enter her relishes, sauces and more in the Food Preservation contests in the Education Building, where she won 15 ribbons. “ I have never been to the Dixie Classic Fair before,” she said.
She won $200 for her Family Barbe-Blue Platter, which combined homemade goat-cheese flatbread with ribs and filet mignon — all incorporating blueberries. “Fresh blueberries make a huge difference,” she said.