Thousands of people flock to Melton’s first-ever PieFest event

Crowds flocked to PieFest at Melton Cattle Market to sample a tempting variety of pies, pastries and bread EMN-160815-093216001

Crowds flocked to PieFest at Melton Cattle Market to sample a tempting variety of pies, pastries and bread EMN-160815-093216001

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Thousands of pie lovers flocked to Melton Cattle Market over the weekend for PieFest - the latest addition to the town’s event calendar.

Over 2,000 people visited the debut event which featured around 40 piemakers and other food and drink exhibitors showcasing local produce.

Young pork pie fans Daniel Bystrom and sister Anna show how festival tasting should be done EMN-160815-093401001

Young pork pie fans Daniel Bystrom and sister Anna show how festival tasting should be done EMN-160815-093401001

Visitors were able to sample, buy and eat pies and even learn how to make their own. The inaugural celebration of pies also included talks, tastings, demonstrations and workshops on how to make the perfect pie, with the pie theatre hosting various pie-related talks.

It was £4 entry for visitors, with children under 16 free.

Event organiser Dr Matthew O’Callaghan OBE, who is also chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association and Melton Mowbray Food Partnership, said: “I’m very pleased with how it went. The pie makers had a great day, many of them sold out of their popular lines on Saturday and had to bake more pies for Sunday. They all said they’d be back for next year’s event and we have about 25 more who want to be there.

“We had more visitors than the first Artisan Cheese Fair and I think the public enjoyed it. We had people who came from quite a wide area outside of Melton. I spoke to people who came from places such as Stamford, Peterborough, Wolverhampton, Nottingham and Daventry.

The pie panel of Linda Robinson (Leics and Rutland Country Markets), Neil Broomfield (Great North Pie Company), Julian Carter (Hambleton Bakery) and Stephen Hallam (Dickinson & Morris) get ready to answer questions at the pie theatre EMN-160815-093717001

The pie panel of Linda Robinson (Leics and Rutland Country Markets), Neil Broomfield (Great North Pie Company), Julian Carter (Hambleton Bakery) and Stephen Hallam (Dickinson & Morris) get ready to answer questions at the pie theatre EMN-160815-093717001

“PieFest wasn’t just about pork pies, there was a wide variety of pies of all different shapes and sizes.

“Stephen Hallam (managing director of Dickinson & Morris) gave a demonstration on the history of making a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. There was standing room only in the pie theatre which just showed the amount of interest there is in Melton and what we have to offer.”

Mr O’Callaghan said the £4 ticket price for PieFest wouldn’t be going up in the future, with organisers aiming to build upon its success.

He added: “I think people who came to PieFest from outside of Melton, and who hadn’t been to any of our events before, would have thought it was value for money.

“For putting on a first-time event we do have some overheads but it’s more expensive because we’re having to pay a lot more for publicising the event and getting people interested.

“The council doesn’t put any money into this event but it has to come from somewhere. I’m afraid that’s reflected in the ticket price but we won’t be putting up prices in the future.”