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Melton Mowbray Pork Pie

Pies and Pastries
EU Protected Name

A Melton Mowbray Pork Pie
Image: Unknown

Cylindrical raised pie with high-bake double-crust of hot-water white wheatflour pastry made with pork fat. Of highly variable size, but usually of about the same height as its diameter. Filled with uncured shredded, not minced, pork. Associated with the town of the same name.

It appears to be the case that, while the Leicestershire Pork Pie has a reputation at least since the early 18th Century, the distinctive Melton Mobray pie style only appears in the mid-19th.

Morning Post - Friday 30 September 1842, p1

There is a long-standing story that the Melton Mobray pie style originated around 1831 with a baker called Edward Alcock, operating from a shop in Leicester Street, but we haven't been able to confirm this. The first advertisements we can find for pork pies by precisely the Melton Mowbray name are in the 1850's, and there is also reference to a Melton Mowbray Game Pie

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 21 December 1850

Official Description: Melton Mowbray Pork Pies have a bow walled pastry case giving them their characteristic bow shape. The pastry is golden brown in colour with a rich texture. The pork filling is uncured and therefore grey in colour - the colour of roast pork. The texture filling is moist and particulate. The meat content of the whole product must be at least 30 %. Between the filling and the pastry wall is a layer of jelly. In flavour, the pastry has a rich, baked taste while the filling is full of meaty flavour and seasoned in particular with pepper. The pies must be free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.

Image: www.samworthbrothers.co.uk

Melton Mowbray Pork Pies are big business - worth something like a million pounds a week. While several bakers in the town continue to produce entirely traditional pies, their fame has led to a proliferation of similar products from makers across the country, sometimes even using the ingeniously meaningless name 'Melton', to describe them. Some use bright pink cured pork rather than the slightly depressing grey of the original product, or bake their pies in over-neat moulds. In 1999 The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, led by the giant Samworth Brothers food group with their 'Dickinson & Morris' brand, applied for EU Protected Geographical Indication status for the pies, offering a map of the Melton Mowbray area which had expanded to include their factory in Leicester. Their pie rivals, Northern Foods, objected, even though their 'Pork Farm' pies are made in Market Drayton and Trowbridge.

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association

Waitrose Mini Melton Mowbray Pork Pie (2014)

Strange pie that is almost a passion,
O passion immoral for pie!
Unknown are the ways that they fashion,
Unknown and unseen of the eye.
The pie that is marbled and mottled,
The pie that digests with a sigh:
For all is not Bass that is bottled,
And all is not pork that is pie.

   Richard Le Gallienne.

"Edward Adcock produced the first pork pie to be marketed commercially and my family namely my grandma trading as F Sharp took over the shop of Adcock when he retired."
Image: http://www.malcolmsharp.com

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