Mary Hamblin preparing chocolate cake for judging at the 2019 Allora Show.
Mary Hamblin preparing chocolate cake for judging at the 2019 Allora Show. Michael Nolan

SHOWTIME: Crowds flock to stellar country show

A CRACK team of country cooks spent about eight hours slavishly judging cakes, cookies and conserves at the Allora Show pavilion yesterday.

Pantry steward Carmel May is an expert on the qualities of good bikkie, and a tough lady to impress.

"This is biggest number of entries we've ever had in the pantry section,” she said.

"We have about 250 entries.”

Each biscuit, cake and slice must be cut and assessed for evenness of form and colour, consistent shape and, importantly, no burn marks.

The judges then shave off a few crumbs for a taste test.

With hundred of entries the calories quickly mount, so the ladies must be miserly in their portions, but sometimes the lure of a fine jam drop gets the better of them.

"We often finish up with half of a biscuit missing,” Mrs May said.

In all the years of her judging, Mrs May has developed an appreciation for the cooks across the region.

She say it is rare for one cook to consistently stand above the rest, but does have her favourites.

"Mary Dwan always makes a good sponge, but the late Phil Higgins was the best,” she said.

"He was a good supporter of the pantry section and his sponges were legendary.”

Mr Higgins's sponges were so well-loved the winner of the sponge section gets a trophy named in his honour.

The Allora Show pavilion is open to the public today from 7am.

It has a wide selection of flowers, horticulture arrangements, sewing, woodcraft, honey, photography, arts and baked goods.