Diane McInnes believes everything tastes better in pastry.
Those words adorn the front of Di’s Pies, the little shop in Greetland that she runs with husband Colin.
And just two years after opening its doors Di’s Pies has beaten off competition from piemakers across the country to bag a gold, a silver and a highly commended in the British Pie Awards.
Diane prides herself on her handmade and homemade delicacies. And whilst her shop, tucked away on a back street, offers all the traditional tastes one might expect it was her own recipes that wowed the judges in Melton Mowbray.
Thus her Lamb, New Potato and Mint Gravy pie took both gold and highly commended with silver going to her Signature Steak pie.
“We were absolutely over the moon to win,” says Diane. “We just couldn’t believe it. We are just a little pie shop but we make some fantastic pies.”
The concept of what was to become Di’s Pies came after Diane, 48, Colin, 51, and daughter Kelsey enjoyed a trip to Australia and New Zealand.
“In New Zealand they are mad on pies. I came home and thought I’d have a go. I am a homely cook and I can make good fillings. I made a few for friends and they said they were beautiful, so we decided to give it a go.”
Having previously run the nearby Queen’s pub and being local to the area Diane and Colin set up shop in Victoria Street. It rapidly acquired a reputation as a hidden gem. Social media and word-of-mouth recommendations meant they picked up a solid customer base for takeaways. Soon they were able to offer outside catering. Colin is also custom building a trailer for food festivals and markets.
And then came the British Pie Awards.
“I was a bit scared to enter,” said Di. “We hadn’t a clue how it worked. We sent our pies down and hoped for the best.”
Rules for entrants were strict, particularly around the temperature of the sample pies. The tasting on March 7 took place behind closed doors. And with a whopping 963 pies in 21 categories Di, Colin and Kelsey faced some tough competition. The results came through at 11pm that night.
Diane recalls: “We found out we’d won something but we didn’t know exactly what. At the presentation we saw all the trophies lined up. We were ecstatic when we received a gold for our lamb pie. And it all started in New Zealand.”