If you love pies, Melton’s St Mary’s Church was the place to be yesterday (Wednesday).
There were more than 900 set out on tables throughout the historic old building for this year’s British Pie Awards.
A record number of piemakers - 177 - from across the country entered this year’s event, a sizeable increase on the 154 who baked entries for last year’s contest.
A third of the piemakers were new to the awards and more than three-quarters were classed as small producers employing five or less staff making the pies.
More than 130 judges were chomping their way through the hundreds of tasty pies, which represented the second highest ever entry.
This year’s awards saw a shift away from large companies, a number of whom halved the number of theirentries, in favour of smaller piemakers.
Chairman of the awards, Matthew O’Callaghan, said: “It is really pleasing to see the number of pies entered on the increase again, and especially the participation of so many small producers, particularly those who have never entered before.
“There are some wonderful flavour combinations amongst the pies as well as some very unusual names which in no way betray what might be inside the pie.
“This, in fact, reflects the origin of the word pie - from magpie - where the various combinations of ingredients are compared to objects randomly collected by a magpie.”
The Awards took place during British Pie Week and were attended by judges from a range of professions, such as journalists, bakers, butchers, chefs, cooks and just lovers of pies.
Appropriately, given the venue, the Dickinson and Morris Melton Mowbray Pork Pie was named the Supreme Champion of ‘Pie of Pies’ last year.
This year’s winner will be announced at the awards lunch tomorrow (Friday).
All the winners will be listed in next week’s issue.