That’s pie-ly unusual! Vegan fare leads the field as non-meat category attracts the most entries at British Pie Awards
- Nearly 80 competitors have entered the plant-based category this year
- It follows a controversial overall win for a vegan pie – made from curried sweet potato, butternut squash and spinach – at the 2019 awards in Melton Mowbray
- Today, 150 judges began inspecting 800 entries across 23 categories
- The winners will be announced tomorrow
Melton Mowbray may be the home of that meaty treat the pork pie.
But vegan fare is leading the field to be named upper crust at the British Pie Awards in the Leicestershire town.
The plant-based category has attracted the most entries this year with nearly 70 competitors.
It follows a controversial triumph for vegan pies after their introduction to the awards in 2019 when, to the surprise of traditionalists, the overall winner was a curried sweet potato, butternut squash and spinach creation.
Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association and a vegetarian, said it had initially been ‘a challenge’ to convince locals that vegan options had a place in the contest.
But ‘we wanted to make the pie awards inclusive’, he told The Guardian. ‘I know it’s a bandwagon – a lot of butchers and others are entering the vegan class to test new recipes and flavours. But I don’t think the classics are going anywhere. Steak and ale is always in the top three.’
Vegan fare is leading the field to be named upper crust at the British Pie Awards, with the plant-based category attracting the most entries this year with nearly 70 competitors
After a ceremony to bless the pies, the 150 judges began inspecting 800 entries across 23 categories
Stephen Hallam, a former managing director of Dickinson and Morris, the oldest makers of Melton Mowbray pork pies, said vegan pies were ‘bang on trend’.
‘Once it was all about meat and two veg but we’re more adventurous with our food,’ he added.
The contest was postponed in March because of Covid but began yesterday in its usual setting of St Mary’s Church. After a ceremony to bless the pies, the 150 judges began inspecting 800 entries across 23 categories. The winners will be announced tomorrow.
Other ‘free-from’ entries proving popular include pies without gluten and next year there might be a halal class, said Mr O’Callaghan.
He stressed the importance of all entries being proper pies under a definition backed by Parliament.
‘A pie is a filling completely encased in pastry and baked,’ he said. ‘So it’s not samosas, which are not baked, it’s not tarts, it’s not fripperty things with lattices and all those sorts of things.’
The contest was postponed in March because of Covid but began yesterday in its usual setting of St Mary’s Church
The winners will be announced tomorrow. Pictured: Pies are judged at the competition