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?