We caught up with Stephen Hallam of Dickinson & Morris’ Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe in Melton Mowbray to find out what groups can expect on a visit, the perfect pork pie recipe and the best time to visit the region.
Firstly, tell us a little bit about your role?
Helping to put Melton Mowbray on the map and spreading the gospel according to Melton Mowbray, Pork Pies, Stilton Cheese and Dickinson & Morris.
How did you get into the business?
I’ve been a baker all of my life, inheriting inspiration and the love and passion for the craft of baking from my father.
What’s the secret to the perfect pork pie?
Melton Mowbray Pork Pies are the pies against which all other pork pies are judged! Rich, crunchy pastry, succulent British pork and tasty bone stock jelly. Well-seasoned, with the spiciness coming through from the pepper which enhances the flavour of the pork.
Why should groups visit Melton Mowbray for a pork pie making lesson?
Melton Mowbray Pork Pies were awarded protected status 12 years ago in 2009. No better way to discover the ‘how, why & wherefore’ than making your own pork pie… and it will be the best that you’ve ever tasted because you’ve made it.
Other than pork pies, what else is worth making time for in the area?
Melton Mowbray is also the home of Stilton cheese which can only be made in the three counties of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Where these three counties come together is the Vale of Belvoir with the town of Melton Mowbray at the heart of the Vale. Discover how this famous, protected British cheese came to be made in the area with a visit to The Melton Cheeseboard, run by Tim Brown in Melton town centre.
In its heyday, fox hunting brought huge wealth and prosperity to the town. Learn more at the Melton Carnegie Museum and also, how back in 1837, the antics of the Marquess of Waterford and his aristocratic friends gave rise to the expression ‘Painting the Town Red’.
St Mary’s Church, in the town centre, is cathedralesque in size and an architectural gem with parts dating back to about 1170. And then there is Belvoir Castle, a historic castle and stately home dating back to the 11th century and recognised as one of the finest examples of Regency architecture in the country.
When is the best time to visit the region?
With four markets per week, Melton Mowbray is a true market town and has 20 cafés and 18 takeaways. Tuesdays, with a livestock market and vibrant street market, make for an excellent day to visit.
The town is described as the Rural Capital of Food and hosts a number of food and drink events throughout the year and the Christmas Tree Festival, held each year at beginning of December in St Mary’s Church, is a truly evocative experience. With over 1,200 decorated trees, the Festival is considered to be the largest of its kind in the UK.
For more information about the history of the shop and booking pork pie making lessons visit www.discovermelton.com.