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Melton Mowbray Pork Pies


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When I was growing up my father claimed that it was part of our heritage to eat Pork Pie for Christmas breakfast. From an early age I followed this tradition with enthusiasm and added my own slant - a generous dollop of brown sauce. The pies were from Walkers, (the Charnwood Bakery), made with thin crispy pastry, peppery filling and a thin layer of jelly. I maintain to this day that the best way to judge a good, fresh pie is to slice it with a sharp knife and listen for the "shiver" as the crusty, hot water and lard pastry slices.

Melton Mowbray pies are one of our great regional foods which have been twisted and perverted by the food industry, so you can buy rubbish pies made in factories anywhere in the country. Just like Cumberland sausages and the other regional specialists. Perhaps the worm is training - the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association has recently won a court case brought by Northern Foods. A fine operation who bring us those quality foods such as Fox's biscuits, Dalepak burgers and Goodfellow's pizza. These purveyors of quality produce brought an unsuccessful case against a DEFRA decision that the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie should be put forward for EC protected status.

EC protected status (PGI) is granted to products which are produced or associated with a particular area and include Champagne, Stilton Cheese, Feta Cheese, Parma ham and Parmesan. This would not prevent producers making pork pies anywhere in the country but could only call them Melton Mowbray if they were made locally.

Should we care? I think so because protecting the name helps to protects the integrity of the product - if you want a mass produced pie you can buy a factory made version or if you want a quality product buy the name!

Regional sausage producers are watching this case carefully - who knows, Cumberland, Oxford etc might become better protected?

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