After weeks of competition, the search for the winner of the Wrexham Apple Challenge concluded today – with Bellis Brothers taking first prize for their classic dish.
In September the hunt to find the winner on the Wrexham Apple Challenge began – a tasty event which saw 13 eateries across Wrexham create apple based dishes to coincide 25th anniversary of the Erddig Apple Festival.
Following weeks of mystery taste tests, last week Wrexham.com reported that The Ramada Plaza, The Mulberry Inn and Bellis Brothers Farm Shop had been unveiled as the finalists.
Today saw the competition heat up, with the three finalists taking part in a live cook-off at Rendezvous, Coleg Cambria, before serving their delicious dishes to a panel of carefully selected judges. Local businesses and members of the press were also given the strenuous (!) task of sampling the three dishes.
First up on the menu was the Orchard Celebration dish (Gwyl btrllan), courtesy of the Mulberry Inn, Llwynmawr. Speaking about the inspiration for the dish, Chef Rob Ankers said they had taken inspiration from where they are in the area – noting that the dish has been very popular in the restaurant!
The dish was the only ‘main course’ to make it through to the final and was made with local Chicken breast stuffed with Caerphilly cheese and Erddig apples, wrapped in Welsh bacon and oven baked. Served with local asparagus, parmentier potatoes and smothered in a creamy leek and Welsh apple cider sauce.
Next up for tasting was Bellis Brothers Farm Shop’s three tier Apple Cake – courtesy of a classic recipe created by non other than Grandma Bellis herself! One of the chefs at the Bellis Brothers restaurant, Estelle Cank said: “We are delighted to be a part of this and excited to be part of the final.”
Speaking about how the towering apple inspired dish came about, Estelle noted it had come through looking at old cook books and giving the cake a modern twist.
The towering dessert featured a variation of a traditional sponge cake with cinnamon, chopped walnuts, pecans, sultanas and apple sauce which is made from a selection of Erddig’s apples. A nice touch to the dish was the original Grandma Bellis plates the cake was served on (everyone was told to be extra careful not to break or damage them!)
After two fantastic courses, you may think it would be difficult to fit in a third – however, last but not least was the ‘Textures of Apple Dish’, courtesy of the Ramada Plaza.
The inspiration behind the dish came after Chef Steve Rawlinson, found out he was diabetic and how apple is one of the number one superfoods in the world. Steve added: “There are lots of textures that you can create from using a single apple.”
The ‘Textures of Apple’ dish itself was made up of several apple based products, including apple jelly cubes, a mini toffee apple, warm apple fritter, tangy apple sorbet and a caramel apple brownie.
After much deliberation by the judges, Bellis Brothers were unveiled as the winners – with the Ramada Plaza taking second place Mulberry Inn coming in third.
One thing we personally took from the live cook-off was the fantastic range of local produce and excellent talent eateries across Wrexham have to offer.
From Wrexham.com it’s a congratulations to Bellis Brothers for their superb dessert – and also a well done to all those who took part in the competition, showcasing the amazing food the county has to offer.
(Main image featured above courtesy of Eye Imagery)