4/12/10

Going to be in Florida Next Weekend? Check out the National Pie Championships... and enjoy a pie buffet!

North American Pie Makers Preparing For Prestigious Competition:
16th Annual APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships
April 23-25, 2010


ORLANDO -- A national pastime will attract national attention as contestants from across North America sift through their most treasured recipes in hope of finding one that leads to an award-winning pie. Perhaps it’s a family favorite that’s won praise for generations or a new creation that’s pleased a friend, but dedicated pie makers -- from contestants with decades of blue ribbons to a new generation who are warmed up and ready to enter the competition -- will be rolling out fresh dough and carefully measuring ingredients as they prepare for the three-day APC/ Crisco® 2010 National Pie Championships® April 23-25.

The competition heats up at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate as Commercial, Professional, Amateur and Junior Chef pie makers test their tasty creations in a variety of categories. Last year, more than 170 judges graded pies created by 138 bakers who entered 465 commercial, 130 professional and 266 amateur pies. Emile Henry USA, makers of the finest quality ceramic bake ware and gourmet cooking products, has returned for 2010 as the “Official Pie Dish” of the National Pie Championships. Each junior, amateur and professional competitor receives an Emile Henry ceramic pie dish, valued at $45 each. For 2010, Best of Show winners in the amateur and professional divisions will each win $5,000, a new Sears Kenmore range and a Crisco® gift basket, while the top winner in the Junior Chef division receive a $2000 Crisco college scholarship and a Crisco® gift basket. First place ribbons and bragging rights will be awarded to Commercial Division winners.

To enter, APC members pay $15 per pie entry for amateurs and $20 per pie entry for professionals. Non-members pay $35 per pie entry for either category. Junior entries are free.

This year’s contestants will whip, puree and roll their way to victory in a wide range of categories: Amateurs are judged in 15 categories including Apple, Citrus, Crisco® Classic Cherry, Crisco® Classic Chocolate, Cream, Cream Cheese, Custard, Fruit/Berry, Nut, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin, Open, Raisin, sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board, Splenda, and Sweet Potato. First place winners in each category receive $200 cash and a Crisco® gift basket, second place winners receive $150 cash and third place winners take home $100 cash.

Professional bakers enter pies in nine categories: Apple, Citrus, Crisco® Classic Chocolate, Crisco® Classic Cherry, Fruit/Berry, Cream, Nut and Open and new for the 2010 competition -- Raisin, sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board. First place winners in each category receive $200 cash and a Crisco gift basket.

Junior Chefs who are in high school and between the ages 14 to 17 can test their pie-making skills with entries in Apple, Cream, Fruit/Berry or Open categories. Three first place winners will receive a $100 gift certificate to Emile Henry USA, a $100 gift certificate to Cuisipro USA, a source for popular professional chef tools, as well as a Crisco® gift basket.

Commercial bakers competed in categories including Apple, Blueberry, Fruit/Berry, Open Cream, Citrus, Open, Nut and Chocolate, and Raisin, sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board.
“If you’re not familiar with the competition, you’d think a pie is just a pie,” explains Crisco’s Brenda Alten. “But this is really an art. Pie makers are serious about developing the right blend of flavors, the right taste and texture… There’s a lot that goes into a pie, which is why there’s such a serious sense of competition at the championship.”

This serious competition is complemented by a sense of homespun fun in the community of Celebration where the special weekend event is festive, fun, and filled with flavor. Presented by the American Pie Council® (APC) – an organization dedicated to preserving America’s pie heritage – the APC Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco®, April 24 and 25, is a free-admission family-friendly event that attracted a record 25,000 pie lovers and dessert devotees in 2009. Presented in a Lakeside Park speckled with shade trees, winding sidewalks, and picnic pavilions, the setting for the All-American event is picture perfect and filled with pie-making demos, pie eating contests, PieCasso Art, music, entertainment, vendors and food and beverage booths.

The event’s highlight offers the tastiest treat. For only $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12, attendees can partake of the festivals’ incredibly popular Never-Ending Pie Buffet where they can “taste drive” all they can eat from more than 50,000 slices of pie provided by the nation’s leading commercial pie makers. From fruit to sweet potato, chocolate to custard, pumpkin to citrus, and nuts to berries, the savory slices of pie cover an incredible spectrum of flavors. The award-winning slices are offered by local, regional, and national commercial bakeries, restaurants and markets, including Bakers Square Restaurants and Pies, Bonert's Slice of Pie, California Raisin Marketing Board, J. Horner's Desserts, Kroger's Private Selection, Publix Super Markets, Inc., Rocky Mountain Pies, Schwan's Bakery featuring Edwards and Mrs. Smith's Pies, Village Inn and Wick's Pies. An abundant array of ice cream flavors, toppings and other treats from Smucker's Toppings, The Folger Coffee Company, Velda Farms and Publix Super Market gives everyone an artistic ‘food license’ to create their ultimate “pie in the sky” fantasy dessert.

“If there’s ever a time or a place to sample pie – every type of pie you can imagine – the Festival’s the right time, and the Never-Ending Pie Buffet is the right place,” assures Linda Hoskins, executive director of the American Pie Council. “But pace yourself. Some people are impulsive and they’ll have six slices of apple pie in a row. Others have a strategy so they can sample chocolate, then banana, then cherry… They create their own pie free-for-all.”

Ironically, between trips to the buffet festival attendees can enjoy pie-eating contests (by participating or cheering on contestants), baking demonstrations by professional pie makers on the Bakers Square Village Inn “Pietopia” Demonstration Stage, food and beverage vendors, more than 20 craft vendors and live entertainment. Young pie enthusiasts can make their own pies at the Crisco® Kids Creation Station, make pie tin art, make a “PieCasso” painting or play in inflatable bounce houses, a rock climbing wall or the world's largest pinball machine. All festival events will be held both days.

The festival will be held at Lakeside Park at 631 Sycamore St. in downtown Celebration. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, April 24; noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 25. Admission to the festival is free, with tickets for the Never-Ending Pie Buffet priced at ($10 adults, $5 ages 65 and up, and $5 ages 6-12.)

The APC is now accepting registrations for the upcoming championships. Participants are encouraged to join the American Pie Council prior to registration in order to receive discounted entry fees.
The American Pie Council offers individual membership for amateurs as well as professionals and commercial bakers. Pie lovers receive multiple benefits including the “Pie Times” e-newsletter, membership directory and member-only online “pie talk” access for idea exchange, pie recipes, coupons and discounted entry into the annual APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships. For more details, to become a member of the APC or to register for the National Pie Championships, visit www.piecouncil.org

Ten minutes from Celebration, the host hotel Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate is offering a special $129 per night room rate for those attending or participating in the pie championship or pie festival. To book the American Pie Council special rate, call 800-843-6664 and identify yourself as associated with the APC. For more information, visit the Front Porch Celebration Community Web Site at www.celebration.fl.us; or the American Pie Council®, www.piecouncil.org.

Crisco® is a registered trademark of The J. M. Smucker Company. For more information, visit www.crisco.com.

The American Pie Council® is the only organization committed to maintaining America’s pie heritage, passing on the tradition of pie-making and promoting America’s love affair with pie. The APC offers personal, professional and commercial memberships. For more information, please visit www.piecouncil.org.
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