A very fine pork pie

Listen, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we’ve all been tricked. For decades we’ve been told that Melton Mowbray was the home of the pork pie, and I suppose to an extent it is. The EU even granted the town its very own ‘Protected designation of origin’ (PDO) a couple of years ago, meaning that only pies made in Melton Mowbray could call themselves ‘Melton Mowbrays’. But PDO is not a guarantee of quality, and, having eaten plenty of MM pork pies over the years, I can tell you that their pies are not a patch – not a patch – on those you will find in Appleton’s of Ripon.

The large lattice is a monster. Yes, you can get little picnic-sized, two bite pies, and very nice they are too, but if you’re going to visit Appleton’s then there’s only one pie to buy. A discus thrower would struggle with this meaty behemoth. Just look at it! The glistening pastry, the meat ever-so-slightly kissed by the heat of the oven and poking through the trellis. The pastry is crisp with the merest hint of chew, the meat gently spiced, dense, and seasoned, as Goldilocks would say, just right. If at all possible, I would recommend warming the pies first, so the jelly melts through the pie and the pastry crumbles in your mouth.

When you are next on the A1, I fully recommend a detour to Ripon. Bring a large knife, a pot of mustard, and several napkins. And a freezer bag. You’ll want to stock up.

What’s the best pork pie you’ve ever eaten?

24 Comments

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24 responses to “A very fine pork pie

  1. Wow that sounds nice.

    I am currently feeling ill and off work and I am thinking that now I can eat meat again a nice Pork Pie would be some good comfort/medicinal food!

  2. I’m not sure i’ve ever eaten a truly great pork pie, but then, being born as far south in the UK as you can get, i’ve never really visited much of the north either.

    The pies i’ve had have always been just too rich and too processed, and i rarely finish them. I’ll have to go on a dedicated search to find a decent pork pie in London – any recommendations?

  3. A proper raised pie is a labour of love.
    But, for a special occasion, so worthwhile.
    This one http://j.mp/nowthatsapie was built in a Suffolk farmhouse kitchen (by Eat Pictures’ Mum).

  4. Sam

    This is the best pork pie I’ve ever eaten – http://samskitchen.tumblr.com – even if I do say so myself! Ok, so it may look a bit agricultural (mainly due to the size of it) but it tasted amazing…

  5. Hmm best pork pie comes from Ripon eh? A little bias going on there perhaps ; )

    But still, I am no expert and you’ll often find me wolfing a Pork Farm Pork and Pickle Pie in a dark, dirty corner of Sainbury’s car park. The shame of it………

    • I’ll have no accusations of bias here Mr. Urchin.

      Oh, the pork pie in the car, one of shopping’s guilty pleasures. As I think I mentioned in my shopping list piece 😉

  6. Kate Leeming

    I would like to add my backing to your decleration James – being from Gods own county, but living in London also, I have these pies sent down on special request from my mother – unbeatable!
    Fantastic Blog – I picked you up after your feature in the times. Bit of a change from when I met you working in the Galphay Inn. Good luck for the future – and pass my love to Lottie L. when you see her next. x

  7. I’ve never tried this pork pie before, but like you I’ve recently been introduced to the joy of the handmade pork pies. Have you ever tried a Samphire Rare Breed Pork Pie? It’s advertised as Giles Coren’s favourite.
    I wrote about it on my blog:

    http://ilovemealplans.com/2010/06/samphire-pork-pie/

  8. Whoa there Rambo – warming the pie? Surely the beauty of pork pies is the lovely cold set wobbly jelly?

  9. Love a pork pie,though cant imagine heating one!

  10. Mrs King’s pork pies at Borough Market, made in Nottinghamshire, use uncured pork meat, so are a pinky grey colour inside, rather than the unattractive blush you often get. The pastry is perfect and they taste delicious.

  11. I think I’ll try a lattice top on my xmas pork pie this year. Last year I made an absolute beast. Burst the bastard with jelly though as I was too greedy pouring it in.

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