In a town known for its rum a bakery has stamped its name for a different Australian delicacy - the humble meat pie.
Paradise Bakehouse in Queensland's Bundaberg region, nearly 400km north of Brisbane, was named maker of the nation's best plain meat pie at The Official Great Aussie Pie Competition.
Bakery owner Huyen Nguyen summed up the win saying she was "surprised, emotional and so happy".
Ms Nguyen and husband Lam Khong opened their first bakery in Moore Park in May 2021 and recently opened another in Innes Park.
It's their second major title win after bursting onto the pie scene in 2021 when their 'Dancing Scallop Pie' topped the gourmet category.
"For this year and another victory we're so happy," Ms Nguyen said.
"I think it compiles a lot of things but the most important thing for my husband [the baker] is to make it with love and his passion, he loves cooking and making food for everyone to try.
"And when we're serving food we try to get feedback from our customers and try to learn from everything.
"Thank you to the [competition organisers], our loyal customers, the staff and family as well, and all the locals who support us - we would love to say thank you for that."
Competition manager Dani Lindsay said Paradise Bakehouse were "amazing producers" deserving of the win.
"They're lovely people and put quality ingredients into their products, and they've put a lot of heart and soul into it," she said.
"It's a testament to them and what they've done in the past few years."
More than 400 bakeries entered the competition in 2023, making it the biggest show in the event's 34-year history.
"It was huge. There was something different about the show this year, people were back, they were excited and the crowds were big," Ms Lindsay said.
She said meat pies were a hotly contested product in Australia with their status as a "true Aussie icon".
Regional bakers feature among top pie-makers
Of the five major title winners at the competition this year three were bakers from regional Australia.
The best gourmet pie was the chunky beef and bacon from Rolling Pin Pies & Cakes, based in Victoria's Ocean Grove.
J&M Catering from Wendouree, Ballarat, collected the best traditional pastie title.
The best plain sausage roll was awarded to Jack's Bakery in Halls Head, Western Australia, and the gourmet sausage roll title belonged to New York Cakes, Miranda NSW for their chorizo roll.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The major titles were announced on September 14 after four days of judging.
The annual competition was held at the 2023 Fine Food Australia trade event in Sydney.
Other baking competitions have honoured pies this year including Australia's Best Pie and Pastie Competition 2023, which also favoured regional bakers.
A Victorian bakery has also scooped two prizes for Australia's best vanilla slice this year.
Full list of Australia's best pies for 2023
- Plain Meat Pie: Paradise Bakehouse, Innes Park QLD - Chunky Pie
- Gourmet Pie: Rolling Pin Pies & Cakes, Ocean Grove VIC - Chunky Beef & Bacon
- Plain Sausage Roll: Jack's Bakery, Halls Head WA
- Gourmet Sausage Roll: New York Cakes, Miranda NSW - Chorizo Roll
- Traditional Pastie: J & M Catering, Wendouree VIC
- Tom Lindsay Pepper Steak Pie Award: Paul the Pieman, Inverloch VIC - Pepper Steak Pie
- Apprentice Category (Chicken Pie): Henning Ostendorf from Banana Boogie, Belair SA - Banana Chicken Curry Pie
- Shepherd's/Potato Top Pie: Rolling Pin Pies & Cakes, Ocean Grove VIC - Lamb Minted Pea & Potato Pie
- Slow Cooked BBQ Pie: Brown Sugar Bakery, Forresters Beach, NSW - BBQ Bourbon Brisket Jalapeno & Cheese Pie
- Game Pie: Miami Bakehouse, Greenfields WA - Slow Cooked Kangaroo Guinness & Veg
- Poultry Pie: Hungie Fangs Artisan Bakery, Cobram VIC - Banana Chicken Curry Pie
- Red Meat Pie: Rolling Pin Cakes & Pies, Ocean Grove VIC - Chunky Beef & Bacon Pie
- Vegetarian/Vegan Pie: Sweetie Pies Bake Shop, Glen Innes NSW - Vegetable Morney Pie
- Pork Pie: Paul the Pieman, Inverloch VIC - Korean BBQ Pork Pie
- Seafood Pie: The Little Red Grape, Sevenhill SA - Surf & Turf Pie
- Apple Pie: Pinjarra Bakery, Pinjarra WA - Apple & Rhubarb Pie
- Brekkie Pie: Mountain High Pies, Wentworth Falls NSW - Big Breakfast Pie
- Gluten Free Pie: Jo Jo's Gluten Free Goodies, Kernot VIC - Angus Beef & Caramelised Onion Pie
- Gluten Free Sausage Roll: Jo Jo's Gluten Free Goodies, Kernot VIC - Spinach & Ricotta