There will be a diverse range of pies for visitors to try at this year’s PieFest event, to be held in Melton Mowbray from 29-30 July 2017.
One of the more unusual ingredients for a pie to be found at PieFest 2017 is squirrel – grey squirrel that many farmers find is a pest.
Nice Pies near Melton Mowbray shot to fame with its unusual entry for the British Pie Awards – Squirrel Pie. Given that there was no specific class for this type of meat the company had to enter it in the ‘Other Meat’ Class. Jamie Oliver got to hear about the pie and featured it on one of his shows and people went nuts to buy these unusual pies. Nice Pies will also have pies with zebra and crocodile meat – hoping that these will be snapped up by curious pie lovers.
There are loads of things people put in pies. In the past it was swan meat, boar meat, blackbirds and for the poor; umbles – the entrails of a deer; hence the expression to eat humble pie. Often vermin were killed and put into a pie; locally there is still a farmer’s rook club which every year goes out to shoot rooks and celebrates the cull with a supper of rook pie.
Other unusual pie names at PieFest include Beaver and a Penguin Pie. These however do not contain any beavers or penguins. The former was so named because it uses steak from cattle raised in the nearby Vale of Belvoir (pronounced beaver) and ale from the Belvoir Brewery. Penguin Pie is so named from a penguin’s favourite dinner – smoked haddock.
Around 30 pie makers have booked to come to PieFest and pie aficionados can chomp their way through at least 200 types of pie from the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie to Lamb, Mint and Mushy Pea Pie, Bramley Apple Pie and all pies in between, hot and cold, sweet and savoury. There are even Russian Pies baked by the great granddaughter of the pie maker to one of the Czars. And with Wimbledon in mind, you can taste the same pies that are sold at the famous tennis club as well as at Lords and the British Golf Championships.
A new trend in pie making is the Gluten Free Pie – those with gluten intolerances weren’t normally made very welcome at a Pie Festival but with modern techniques of baking and ingredients Gluten Free Pies are now tasty and even winning pie awards. There are plenty of such pies at this year’s PieFest on many of the pie makers stands.
Besides pies, visitors can buy other foods such as cheese, chutneys, cakes, cider, chocolate, beer and more.
There’s a Pie Theatre with Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn demonstrating pie making and a Pie Clinic for tips and hints on great pie making.
PieFest 29-30 July 2017, 10am-4pm, £4 entry children under 16 free.
Livestock Market, Melton Mowbray. LE13 1JY – all under cover. www.ukpiefest.co.uk