Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Henry Street Heritage festival benefits from sweet potato pies

Judges panel lines up sweet potato pies.

Four chef’s had the difficult task of judging six sweet potato pies Saturday evening at the Claude Moore Education Complex. The Harrison Museum of African American Culture’s sponsored by The Roanoke Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. benefited the Henry Street Heritage Festival that will be held September 15 in Elmwood Park.

Daphne Miles general manager at Hollins University, Chef Warren Jones at Brandon Oaks, Doug Robinson owner of Wildflour Market and Bakery and Chef Jerome Bonds at Norah’s located in the Taubman Museum judged pies on appearance, taste and overall appearance said Diane Jones President, sorority president.

The Henry Street Festival is in it’s 23rd year and “serves as an annual reminder of the time when Henry Street was the hub of entertainment, small businesses and hospitality services for African Americans,” said Joyce Bolden, Chair of the festival.

Judges take their time during taste test.

The sweet potato pie was the most popular desert served at African American family gatherings. The recipes have been handed down from one generation to another said Bolden.

Each contest participant gave a history of their recipe and did a bit of schmoozing with the judges – always a good idea. Each pie was slightly different in color from a light bright orange of a sweet potato to a more amber tone and one with pecans on top. Probable ingredients were a little ginger and nutmeg and no doubt a secret ingredient or two.

The judges took their time and cleansed their palate between each taste. After they were satisfied that they gave each entry fair consideration they retired to another area to deliberate on their choice. They returned in silence and will keep the Judge’s Choice award secret until it is announced at the Henry Street Heritage Festival.

After the judges had meticulously viewed and tasted each of the six pies attendees got their turn to taste. Each pie will also be judged and voted on by the people. The People’s Choice award winner with the most votes cast on September 15 between 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. will be revealed at the festival. To vote you must be present said Bolden.

Other festivals have chili, barbecue and ribs but the sweet potato pie contest will continue to be a staple at the Henry Street Heritage festival.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Local Events

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