THE underdog of popular Australian cuisine, the humble sausage roll, is gaining ground on the meat pie as the fare of choice in bakeries across the country.
And the pastry minnow's rising profile didn't go unnoticed at this year's Official Great Aussie Pie Competition.
After 24 years running the pie competition, Dani Lindsay says the popularity of sausage rolls sparked the decision last year to create a dedicated award for the morning-tea staple.
"For a lot of bakeries, sausage rolls are just as big as pies," says Lindsay.
"In some areas sausage rolls are actually bigger sellers.
"We had a lot of feedback from entrants asking if we hold a sausage roll competition. We're in our second year now and we're getting hundreds and hundreds of sausage rolls.
"We have 16 judges, 1500 entries and about a quarter of that are sausage rolls, and at the end of the four-day competition, based on a points system we announce major winners of each category.
"We get them in from literally everywhere, Northern Territory, Queensland, Broome in Western Australia, all over the place.
"We open the entries two months before, so there's months of preparation, modifying recipes and making sure they've got the perfect sausage roll.
"Anyone can enter, but that doesn't mean you qualify for getting a medal, you have to meet certain criteria to get a bronze, silver or gold medal. The basic things to watch out for as a baker are making sure the pastry isn't too thick and have good flavours, good taste and have good stability of the sausage roll."
First-time entrant Gold Coast bakery Goldsteins wanted to use the competition as a national benchmark for its sausage rolls and ended up taking home top honours this year.
"With the Official Great Aussie Sausage Roll Competition we kind of just entered to see how we'd go against other sausage rolls across the nation," says Josh Goldstein, of Goldsteins Gold Coast.
"It was just a natural progression to join in on the sausage rolls competition. We're surprised that we won a place. "
Western Australia-based bakeries Four Seasons Patisserie Bakery & Café, Mount Barker Country Bakery and Denmark Bakery, NSW bakery Mountain High Pies and Victorian bakery Rolling Pin Pies & Cakes are the other five businesses that made it to the finals.
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