Pies down as butchers and bakers bid for upper crust

World Pork Pie Championships, at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden
World Pork Pie Championships, at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden

The pie was the limit for butchers and bakers from across the country as they descended on The World Pork Pie Championships to show off their prize ‘growlers’.

Organised by the Pork Pie Appreciation Society, the annual competition was held at the Bridge Inn, Ripponden, last Saturday.

Judging at the World Pork Pie Championships, Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden

Judging at the World Pork Pie Championships, Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden

There was plenty for pork pie aficianados to get their teeth stuck into, from the more traditional pie to artisan pies packed with black pudding, Wensleydale cheese and chilli.

Society secretary Peter Chanley said entries have become more and more innovative since the competition began 24 years ago.

“People are getting more imaginative and they really pull all the stops out,” he said.

“The standard is very high, but it’s no big secret that the people who put that little bit of extra time to get them just right do well.

World Pork Pie Championships, at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden

World Pork Pie Championships, at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden

“It was a lovely day, with lots of spectators and we had a band playing all afternoon.”

The competition is judged in three rounds. In the first, one third of entries are lost and in the second around half are lost to leave the final 12 ‘premier’ pies.

Judging was changed this year to welcome newcomers to the table and in the first round, an all women panel of judges put their tastebuds to the test.

Despite the competition being held in Calderdale, Huddersfield reigned supreme in both categories, with butchers from the town swiping first second and third place in the traditional category and third and fourth in the artisan.

Judging at the World Pork Pie Championships, Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden

Judging at the World Pork Pie Championships, Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden

Mr Charnley added: “Next year we want to invite people who have done well in the last few years to take part in the judging for some newcomers.

“These people have done so well and we know how good their pies are.

“Huddersfield keeps coming out as the best, now Halifax needs a chance and needs to come back fighting.”

The Pork Pie Appreciation Society started around 30 years ago, when a group of friends used to mark pork pies while having a pint.

Charity auction in action, during the World Pork Pie Championships, at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden

Charity auction in action, during the World Pork Pie Championships, at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden

Now nearly three decades later, the competition has exploded into a ‘must attend’ event for those in the business of making pork pies.

It also raises money for charity - this year’s championship raised around £3,500 for the Elland-based Overgate Hospice.

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The Friendly Band, play at the World Pork Pie Championships, at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden

The Friendly Band, play at the World Pork Pie Championships, at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden