H-E-B's second Quest for Texas Best contest has come to a conclusion. After two days of tasting, debate and deliberation, a panel of judges whittled down the 25 finalists to a Grand Prize winner and three runners-up. All earn cash prizes and the chance for a coveted spot on H-E-B's shelves — or in its freezer cases.
Taking this year's Grand Prize of $25,000 is Austin's TEO Gelato, which serves signature flavors that include Texas pecan and whiskey, peanut butter and nutella, Poteet strawberry and Texas Hill Country peach.
Homemade vanilla wafers from a bakery in the tiny town of Slaton (population: 6,121) in northwest Texas took first prize and $20,000.
Houston's six finalists produced second-place winner Blackbird Foods. The farmers market favorite earned $15,000 for its sweet and savory pies in a variety of flavors that include Cajun, traditional Cornish pasties and Indian-spiced chicken tikka.
Austin's Blackbird Bakery took home third place and $10,000 for its gluten-free baked goods.
"The final presentations were a wonderful display of ingenuity and vision,” said H-E-B director James Harris in a statement. “Our state is prime territory for smart, inventive food entrepreneurs further solidifying Texas’ national reputation as a foodie state."