Over 4000 pies expected on judging day at Bakels Supreme Pie Awards

The hunt for New Zealand's top pie is underway with judges observing and tasting entries for this year's Bakels Supreme Pie Awards.

Just under 500 bakeries have entered the competition that's become the biggest event for bakers around the country. 

Hand-sized bundles of goodness, welcome to pie heaven.

"This is our 25th year of the pie awards, so it's a real achievement," New Zealand Bakels managing director Brent Kersel told Newshub. 

It's one that's become the premier event for New Zealand bakers. Kersel told Newshub 497 bakeries entered this year's competition, which he says "equates to 4500 pies turning up on judging day". 

All of these are examined from top to bottom and everything in between.

"This pie [is] not looking too bad. Obviously, you're looking at the overall appearance of the pie, the glaze, how the pastry is puffed, the thickness of the pastry when you cut into the pie, how the filling looks," said judge Ralph Thorogood. 

And then of course there's the all-important taste test. 

"Mmhmmmm. That's got a great flavour, that's awesome. That's a great pie. So good," said another judge. 

There are 11 categories bakers can enter, from chicken and vegetable, steak and cheese, mince and cheese, and vegetarian.  

There's also not your stock standard. A cafe boutique category has the likes of chicken, camembert and cranberry pie, another with beef mince and cheddar with handmade plum sauce, and champagne, chicken, bacon, brie, oyster, mushroom, black truffle, prosciutto, and garden herbs pie. 

"The standard is high. I must say, as the competition has gone on the standard has just gone up and up and up," said Kersel. 

Celebrity chef Al Brown is a judge for the Supreme Award this year. 

"The pie is part of our culinary DNA. There's something about a pie: they are very humble, they are portable, they are warm, they are tasty," Brown said. 

From delicious, mouth-watering golden pastry to the range of delectable fillings - but which ones hit the spot won't be known until next week.