Several tables were laden with hundreds of edible goodies inside Piedmont’s Community Center on Sunday. Dozens of jars of jam, pie plates, cakes and loaves of bread were surrounded by tiny plastic tasting cups and spoons. A handful of judges moved from table to table, tasting, savoring and commenting to one another about the various notes of each treat.
“Great texture,” said one judge as she swallowed a piece of zucchini cranberry bread, “excellent.” The judge next to her agreed, remarking that the bread had a “great combination of zucchini and cinnamon.”
The was one of the main events at the 13th annual . The judges included six public officials and six community members, and their task was to taste, judge and rank homemade entries submitted by Piedmont residents. The rules were simple: Any item submitted for a cooking category must have a main ingredient that could feasibly grow in Piedmont.
“Participation is our highest goal,” said founder of the Edibles Contest, Susan Hill. “Every entry is super and every entry gets a positive comment. The winning is as low key as possible.”
One of the central goals of the Edibles Contest is to show off Piedmont’s amazing food bounty, Hill said. It’s meant to be fun and bring together the community.
Geoff Grote has been judging the Edibles Contest since its inception. “It’s consistently good,” he said. “People in Piedmont have really embraced this. It’s very high quality and people have put a lot of effort into it.”
This year, the contest received 208 entries, a new record. Smells wafted up from each table, from garlic-y pesto and vinegary pickles to cinnamon apple pie and whole lemon preserves. There were classic items like raspberry jam and French-Style Country Bread, along with more unusual entries such as Marsala and rosewater jelly sweetened with agave nectar and sugar cookies topped with bacon, caramel and apples.
After working through choosing the best pickles, Piedmont resident John Constantine and Councilmember Jeff Wieler were next in charge of judging the savory breads.
“Okay Jeff, now for the hard work,” Constantine said as he looked across the table lined with a variety of breads. “I love this color,” he said pointing to one. “This one, I love the consistency - it was so moist,” he said as he motioned to another. “This one, I love how it looks… We’re in trouble.”
Wieler agreed. “You have no idea how difficult this is,” he said.
Ultimately they chose a rounded loaf of white bread with a golden crust that was made with blue cheese, green olives and white wine. “We’re very blessed to be in the Bay Area, especially in the East Bay,” Constantine said as he savored a bite. “We have all these flavors.”
For information on the Edibles Contest winners, go to the Piedmont Harvest Festival website.