Melton’s annual celebration of livestock, food and flowers - the annual Christmas Fatstock Show and Sale - attracted another impressive array of entries today (Tuesday).
The quality of the cattle, pigs and sheep was praised by the organisers as trophies were handed out in the sheds at the town’s livestock market.
And across the market in the Exhibition Hall there was a mouth-watering selection of pork pies, cheeses, sausages, cakes and home produce for the judges to taste test.
There was also a range of stunning floral art pieces on display at the event, which is organised by Melton and Belvoir Agricultural Society.
Committee chairman Harry Baines told the Melton Times: “It has been another great show and the livestock classes, in particular, have been well supported.
“It’s quite a unique event in this area. The Uppingham fatstock show only has pigs, sheep and cattle whereas we have classes for produce and flowers as well.
“It’s great for Melton and it’s nice that in the food categories you could have a big commercial producer competing against Mrs Smith making them in her own kitchen.”
Two sisters from Top Field Farm, in Gaddesby, celebrated winning the prestigious Champion Beast category for the third year running.
Georgia and Charlotte Davies won with Pippa, a striking Belgian Blue Cross Limousin, taking a trophy and a £400 cash prize.
“It was great to win it again,” said Georgia.
“There is a lot of work goes into it - you have to buy well in the first place and then train them to walk in the ring for the judges.”
Perennial winners, Walkers, had more success in the food classes, claiming first place in four of the five pork pie classes.
But the winners of the coveted Best Three Melton Mowbray Pork Pies class this year were Leeson Butchers, of Oakham.
Owner Steve Leeson has been making them for 25 years and sells them in Melton to businesses such as Melton Cheeseboard, More Coffee Co, The Boat, Anne of Cleves and Nigel Keep’s 54A King Street cafe.
He said: “I am over the moon to have won this class because Walkers take some beating when it comes to pork pies.
“We also won this year at the British Pie Awards so it’s been a great year.
“I taught myself how to make Melton Mowbray Pork Pies after getting hold of the recipe and I love it.”
Leesons also triumphed in the class for speciality sausages not containing pork or garlic and the category for the best six mince pies.
There was a familiar winner in the section for best two Stilton cheeses, with Long Clawson Dairy carrying off the honours, as well as the accolade for best midlands cheese.
Richard Mayfield, head cheese-maker at the dairy, said: “It’s quite prestigious to win a cheese class at this event.
“It’s the big local one so we are very pleased.”
One of the most impressive pieces of floral art being judged was Penny Vincent’s winning entry in the Jack Frost category.
Penny, of Sewstern, said: “I won a trophy here many, many years ago and I am absolutely amazed to win one again this year.”
Among the other floral art winners were Sandra Meakin, of Freeby, and Melton’s Pam Edmundson, in the classes for A Guiding Light and Refreshing Brew, respectively.
First place rosettes in the home baking section went to J Sore, of Melton (Victoria sandwich cake) and F Long, of Waltham (best yule log), while G Lant, of Melton, won the best 1lb jar of soft fruit jam category.