Ouyen commits its Vanilla Slice Triumph to history

By Charlotte King

Around 3,000 people came to the Mallee town of Ouyen on Friday for the Grand Finale of the Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph. Professional pastry bakers drove hundreds of kilometres to submit their entries to the prestigious categories of 'professional' and 'professional innovative', but many eyes in the community were fixed firmly on the coveted 'amateur' section.

The weather couldn't have been better for Ouyen's final pastry contest; with a sun high in the sky, and the expected crowd of three thousand showing up for the event, Ouyen seems to have achieved it's goal of going out with a bang as the host of the Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph.

Friday saw the Mallee town send off the event, which has drawn tens of thousands of visitors in its fourteen year history of holding it.

Originally set up on the intiative of Jeff Kennett, when the then Premier was challenged by a local as to why the Grand Prix could not be brought to the town, Ouyen has created a pastry event of near epic proportions.

The professional categories are now highly sought after by those in the baking industry - although it is still the amateur section that gets the community most excited.

Electrician Barry Gregg has won this category, much to the dismay of long term friend and rival Steve Vallance, multiple times; despite the latter's efforts, the legendary Gregg family recipe - which actually originates with Barry's mother Margaret - brought home the prize once again, for the 2011 Grand Finale of the Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph.

The success of the event begs the question as to what lies in the post-pastry future for the sleepy town of Ouyen?
"The vanilla slice has been a lovely addition over the fourteen years", said the Chair of Ouyen Inc., Mark Wilson.
"It's an opportunity to expand on a lot of the other things that are already in existence here in Ouyen; things like the Mallee Art Show, the Farmers Festival, the future of the Ouyen Harness Racing Cup - to return to Ouyen at some stage soon, all those things will require the resources of the volunteers and we look forward to working in those areas," he said.




This is starting to get outa hand.  Now I'll have to go to Mildura to see if their vanilla slice is indeed better than Green Poppy at Shellharbour Village!

My shortlist of excellence in vanilla slices, in order of distance from my place here at Primbee, is....

Green Poppy Shellharbour Village
European Bakery Mittagong
Jeriderie Bakery
Anywhere in Ouyen (subject to verification in light of the Mildura takeover)

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