Wellington Bakery Wins Xmas Mince Pie Competition
Wellington Bakery Wins the Great New Zealand Xmas Mince Pie Competition
Finely cut, spicy fruit mince with “a good zing of citrus”, set in a shorcrust pastry shell made with real butter, topped by a red-lipped marzipan angel – this is what it took to win the inaugural Great New Zealand Xmas Mince Pie Competition.
Max Fuhrer of Arobake in Wellington says it takes a little longer to make Christmas mince pies this way, but believes that his pouting angels were a winning point of difference. “We haven’t changed the recipe for the competition. We used the same recipe we’ve always used.” says Max, “The only difference was the marzipan angel.”
The angels are made of a number of pieces of marzipan cut into shapes, with the eyes, nose and mouth made with special marzipan tools. The mouth is created by dipping a round wedge into colour and then turning the wedge into the marzipan to form the pretty red lips. Arobake makes all its own marzipan – evidence of Max’s Swiss training – and is used in other products made by Arobake, like Stollen.
The Christmas Mince Pies were hand delivered to save them from the vagaries of the courier system. They were judged alongside entries from bakeries all over the country. Chief Judge Mike Meaclem says that the angels were a really nice touch but that the flavour of Arobake’s pies was the real winning factor.
Max says he was always hopeful of winning because he thought the angel looked good on top and fitted in well with the Christmas theme. “I had a feeling that if the phone rang on Monday morning and it was for me it would be good news.”
Arobake is no stranger to awards, having won gold medals in 1995 and 2001 in the Baking Industry Association’s Baker of the Year Competition, and the Best Overall Bread Bakery in the 2007 Bakery of the Year Competition.
Arobake supply their Christmas mince pies into the popular Moore Wilson food store in Wellington, and Max has no doubt that winning the Great New Zealand Xmas Mince Pie Competition will boost sales there and at his retail bakery in the Aro Valley. The extra work involved in making the angels means these special Christmas mince pies will sell for a bit more than their traditional counterparts.
Arobake has been operating as a bakery in Max’s skilful hands since 1989. They’ve outgrown their premises more than once but always stayed within a stone’s throw of the original building. It’s a family business now, with Max’s two sons full time in the bakery, and a third son part-time while he finishes school.