Pork pie afficionados gathered to scoff dozens of ‘growlers’ in a bid to crown the world’s best baker.
Once again the annual ‘World Pork Pie Championships’ were hosted at Calderdale boozer The Old Bridge Inn.
And while the competition was over the border, not even a change in the judging panel could shift Huddersfield’s continued domination of the contest.
Despite Melton Mowbray near Leicester being the most famous pork pie producer, our town’s pie makers have won the majority of the prizes since the competition’s launch in 1992.
This year, the 24th contest, was no different with Golcar’s Bolster Moor Farm Shop retaining their crown from 2015.
Brian Gill, pie baker for 14 years at Bolster Moor, said: “It’s brilliant to win. We’ve won it a few times but it’s nice to win it again.”
Brian said “quality” was the key to his winning pies adding: “we always go for the best ingredients.”
Organiser, Peter Charnley, had said he was hoping for an upset after more than a decade of domination by the two Huddersfield firms.
A decision was taken to have women only judge the first two rounds of tasting.
But it seems their taste buds produced the same results as the men’s.
All tasting is done ‘blind’ with the pie makers only revealed after all rounds are completed and scores allocated.
In the Artisan class – a range of more exotic pork pies – Otley baker Peter Middlemiss was the winner with a pork, chicken and stuffing pie.
Dewsbury ’s Gourmet Pie Company came second with its pork and spicy mango chutney pie.
Bolster Moor was third with a caramelised onion and Wensleydale cheese pie.
One of the lady judges, Kelly Hallos, said: “It’s something that’s never been done before.
“My dad is the president of the club so we’ve been brought up on pies and he thought it would be a great idea for his two daughters to get involved.
“It’s been very nerve racking; I didn’t realise how under pressure you’d feel.
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“You’re responsible for whoever wins and it’s not easy to make a decision.”
Another judge, Selina Akinnawo, was called in to judge the ‘traditional’ pies for the first time.
“I’ve done artisan before but judging traditional is a lot more pressure because artisan are all completely different whereas traditional you’ve got the same basics with just slight differences, so it was quite pressured.”
Peter Charnley, secretary of the Pork Pie Appreciation Society, said: “This year we thought some of the judges know what they like, and they like what they know, so we thought we’d shake it up a bit.
“This year we got people who think they can cook a good pie, which all happened to be women.
“We were interested to know if it brought in a little bit of a different result.
“Huddersfield has dominated but I’m sure other people can do it.”
The event is thought to have raised more than £3,000 for Elland’s Overgate Hospice.