Pie-lovers’ heaven as Melton hosts eighth annual British Pie Awards

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More than 800 heavenly pies of all shapes and sizes filled Melton’s St Mary’s Church as judges had the mouth-watering task of picking the winners of this year’s British Pie Awards.

A total of 816 pies battled it out across 20 competition classes this year as acclaimed pie-makers from across the UK hoped to take home the Supreme Champion title.

Deputy head judge Hugh Weeks (right) and one of the event organisers Stephen Hallam (left) inspect the entries for this year's Speciality Class: A Pie for the Queen EMN-160314-124545001

Deputy head judge Hugh Weeks (right) and one of the event organisers Stephen Hallam (left) inspect the entries for this year's Speciality Class: A Pie for the Queen EMN-160314-124545001

But beating them all to secure the highly coveted trophy, and raising eyebrows in the process, was a pasty made in Cumbria.

The winning beef skirt and vegetable pasty was made by A.F Huddleston Butchers, of Windermere.

Dr Matthew O’Callaghan OBE, chairman of the British Pie Awards and Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, said: “I know many will be surprised to see a pasty winning the British Pie Awards, but the definition of a pie is a filling totally encased in pastry.

“Pies come in all shapes including round pies, square pies and pasties which have been a feature of British cuisine for centuries.

From left are British Pie Awards judges Pete Lawrence (TV producer), Andy Clarke (food blogger and TV producer), Rachel Green (TV chef), Stephen Hallam (British Pie Awards event organiser), Andy Bates (TV chef), Neil Broomfield of the Great North Pie Co (2015 British Pie Awards Supreme Champion) and Neil Davey (food journalist) EMN-160314-124811001

From left are British Pie Awards judges Pete Lawrence (TV producer), Andy Clarke (food blogger and TV producer), Rachel Green (TV chef), Stephen Hallam (British Pie Awards event organiser), Andy Bates (TV chef), Neil Broomfield of the Great North Pie Co (2015 British Pie Awards Supreme Champion) and Neil Davey (food journalist) EMN-160314-124811001

“The winning pasty was outstanding. It looked so appealing; an even bake with a beautiful glaze and a perfect crimp. Eating it was a delight, well balanced flavours, tender meat, small chunks of vegetable and a delicious gravy with just the right amount of seasoning. It was one of the best examples of a perfectly produced pasty.”

The eighth annual British Pie Awards took place in St Mary’s Church last Wednesday - during British Pie Week - with the results announced on Friday.

This year 816 pies were entered from 132 professional bakers, butchers and chefs and judged by over 100 top pie perfectionists - including leading food critic Charles Campion and renowned TV chefs Rachel Green and Andy Bates.

Among the pie producers to win awards for their tasty creations included Dickinson & Morris (Melton Mowbray Pork Pie) and Walker & Son, part of the Melton-based Samworth Brothers group, who won four classes and achieved five highly commended titles.

Senior Townwarden and British Pie Awards judge Dinah Hickling inspects one of the more devilish pies EMN-160314-125119001

Senior Townwarden and British Pie Awards judge Dinah Hickling inspects one of the more devilish pies EMN-160314-125119001

Among its winning pies was a Victorian corset pork and chicken pie which triumphed in this year’s speciality class encouraging pie-makers to create show-stopping pies fit for The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.

Old Dalby-based Nice Pie also won a major award, with its luxury chicken pie seeing off all competition in the chicken and vegetable/herb pie class. Other local producers to be recognised by the judges included Katherine Walmsley Fine Foods (highly commended in Fish Pie class) and F.Bailey & Son (highly commended for its Melton Mowbray Pork Pie).

Dr O’Callaghan added: “It’s been a great year for the British Pie Awards, seeing significant growth in entries from small producers, and the standard of entrants this year was higher than ever before.”

Ian Heircock, of Walker & Son (Speciality Class Champion - Pie for the Queen) with Matthew O'Callaghan OBE, chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association EMN-160314-124240001

Ian Heircock, of Walker & Son (Speciality Class Champion - Pie for the Queen) with Matthew O'Callaghan OBE, chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association EMN-160314-124240001