Good Heavens, it's rise and shine once again


Like a well-prepared bread dough, Hawke's Bay bakeries rose to the occasion at the national Bakery of the Year awards, taking the first three places.

"It must be the weather here in the Bay," a delighted Leanne Heaven said, as she reflected on Greenmeadows-based Heavens Bakery again taking the Baking Industry Association's top trophy at its annual awards dinner in Christchurch last week.

It was the second year running that the bakery has bagged the Bakery Shield for its efforts in the three categories - bread, pastry and cake - and Mrs Heaven said the target was now a trifecta of wins.

"That hasn't been done before," she said.
"We will be aiming to be the first to win the title three years running."

Hawke's Bay's reputation as being a top spot to find baked treasure was reinforced by Wairoa's Oslers Bakery taking the runner-up spot. Havelock North-based Jacksons Bakery took third place.

It was the eighth time Heavens has entered and after winning it for the second time, there were lighthearted remarks about staying away next year "to let someone else have a chance," Mrs Heaven said.

However, taking the title twice was a huge incentive to go for the third as it meant the company's 12 bakers and apprentices would have to up their game even more to maintain increasingly high standards.

"There are new bakeries entering every year, so the challenge is there," Mrs Heaven said.

As well as taste, entrants are marked on colour, presentation and imagination.

Across the three categories, Heavens Bakery picked up three golds, three silvers and a bronze.

When asked what sort of a shout would be laid on for the successful baking team, Mrs Heaven said cakes and savories were unlikely to be on the agenda.

"They make them all day ... they don't want to eat them."