What is a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie?

Melton Mowbray Pork Pies - Protected Geographical Indication

In 2009 the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie gained the status of 'Protected Geographical Indication' within the European Union. This was the culmination of a decade of work by the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association who believe in protecting this iconic product. The Protected status means that for pork pies to call themselves 'Melton Mowbray Pork Pies' they must not only be made in the Melton Mowbray style but also within a predetermined area around Melton Mowbray. This includes parts of Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire as well as Leicestershire where Melton Mowbray is located. The area decided upon is fairly arbitrary and was a result of negotiations trying to prevent any company from being unfairly penalised but at the same time attempting to remain true to the region that these pies have been made historically.

Melton Mowbray pork pie (left) compared to a standard pork pie (right)

But what actually is a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie?

Melton Mowbray Pork Pies are made with hot water crust pastry. They are not cooked in a case, unlike other pork pies, which gives them their characteristic bowed sides. Not cooking in a case also contribute to making the pastry a deep golden brown colour on the outside. The hot water crust pastry is generally quite firm which makes these pies very portable. This was why they were originally created, for a working man to take with him during the day. Despite being firm pastry it should not be dry. A good Melton with have a little crunch to the pastry on the outside.

The pork filling is uncured and therefore grey in colour – the colour of roast pork. You will find that other pork pies have meat much more pink in colour because they use cured meat. The minimum percentage of meat required to be a true Melton Mowbray is 30% although many will have more than this. Melton Mowbray Pork Pies have a jelly, made from gelatine or bonestock, added to fill the gaps and help preserve the meat. This also helps to keep the pie moist.

To meet the requirements of the Protected Geographical Indication the pies must be free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Maybe that means they are actually good for you?!

It is interesting to note that despite having to meet all the these requirements there is still a good deal of flexibility in producing a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. For instance, many of the companies will use a secret blend of spices in their pies so that they will taste like no other. There is also a large range in the size of the companies producing Melton Mowbray pork pies. Those produced in large production facilities will inevitably taste different to those made by hand on a small scale.

Just how different is a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie? See our article comparing a Melton with a standard Pork Pie.

melton mowbray pork pie
A classic Melton Mowbray Pork Pie

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association

The MMPPA is formed from 11 of the leading producers of Melton Mowbrays. They believe in protection the integrity and standards of Meltons and it was their hard work which allowed them to gain Protected Geographical Indication. Here at Pierate we take our hats off to the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association. Not only do they champion quality products they also organise the British Pie Awards every year. This is held in Melton Mowbray church and really does support Melton Mowbray's claim to be the rural capital of food.

The members of this club are Brocklebys, Dickinson & Morris, Dunkleys, F Bailey & Son, Hartland Pies, Leesons Butchers, Mark Patrick Butchers, Mrs Kings, Nelson Family Butchers, Northfields Farm and Walker & Son. Walker & Son and Dickinson & Morris are both owned by Samworth Brothers who are by far the largest producer of Melton Mowbrays making about 4 million a week.

Pork Farms are also registered as a licenced Melton Mowbray producer however they are not part of the MMPPA.

Where can the best Melton Mowbray Pork Pies be found?

Anyone who has been following the results of the British Pie Awards over the last few years will have noticed that Walker & Son have dominated awards for the best Melton Mowbrays. They came 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the British Pie Awards 2013! They make many of the supermarket own brand pies in addition to their own. Walkers have a pie shop in Leicester, they used to own the Walkers crisps brand but have since sold this. At Pierate we have given Walker & Son a good review, as we have also done for Dickinson & Morris who run the 'Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe' in Melton Mowbray. You can order their pies online.

There are also many more great Meltons produced by smaller companies, however, it will take us a while to try all of these. If you know of a great Melton Mowbray then please do tell us!

melton mowbray pork pie area map
Map of the area where Melton Mowbray pork pies can be produced


Many thanks to Matthew Rippon for his thorough research on the PGI status of Melton Mowbray Pork Pies which has helped guide this article. Find more information on his website.

Pierate is a pie review website on a search for the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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  1. what is the price of a Melton Mowbray pork pie?

    1. Prices will vary depending on the quality and size of the pie you get; generally a bit more expensive than a standard pork pie but worth the investment!


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