Judges at yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) British Pie Awards sampled almost 900 pies from a record 154 producers.
The ninth edition of the Melton event was switched to Pera because the usual venue, St Mary’s Church, is closed for a major refurbishment.
And pie producers converged on the show from throughout the UK.
Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, which organises the event, said: “We have made an effort to reach out to more pie producers this year and I, personally, made over 600 phone calls to companies explaining about the awards and what they mean.
“We used to hold it in May but we moved it to March to coincide with British Pie Week and it is now the crowning event of the week.”
There were 21 classes based on different fillings and styles of pie and included a new class, ‘The Regional Pie’.
This was designed to celebrate quality pies associated with different areas of Britain, with the Melton Mowbray pork pie expected to go up against the likes of the Shropshire Fidget Pie and the Devon Squab Pie, as well as regional pasties.
An army of judges were brought in for the tasting, including Mayor of Melton, Councillor David Wright, and Senior Townwarden, Dinah Hickling.
Emminent food industry judges included TV Masterchef critic Charles Campion and star chef Tim Vickery. Awards winners will be announced at a lunch event tomorrow (Friday).