Saturday, 6 September 2008

Melton Mowbray Beer Festival

There's more to Melton Mowbray than Pork Pies and Stilton Cheese you know! Not that I'm denigrating two of Leicestershire's best known, and world class traditional foods.

The pies from Dickinson & Morris's Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe are without a doubt my all time favourite pork pies. Uncured pork, hand raised pastry, and just the right amount of peppery seasoning make the Dickinson & Morris Pork Pie a worthy recipient of the Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) status which has finally been granted this year. Tuxford & Tebbutt make Stilton Cheese in the very heart of Melton, and whilst it's probably not my favourite of the seven traditional Stilton Cheese makers (that honour must go to the Long Clawson Dairy down the road), they certainly produce a fine round of tangy blue cheese.

The market town of Melton Mowbray has become a bit of a foodie destination in recent years, playing host to the very successful East Midlands Food & Drink Festival in October, and a weekly farmers market which takes place at the excellent Livestock Market on Scalford Road. Melton Mowbray Market is a wonderful place to be on a market day, and a rare survivor from the days when most towns hosted a regular market for the sale of livestock. As a child I remember being taken to the Cattle Market in Leicester and being entranced by the noise, smells, and general hub-bub of a busy livestock market.

As if all this were not enough to make Melton a bit of a foodie hot spot, Melton Mowbray Market is also home to one of Leicestershire's finest beer festivals. The Melton Mowbray Beer Festival is held over the weekend of the 19th and 20th of September on the same site which hosts the weekly Farmers Market. Lovers of fine food and drink can combine a day at the festival with visits to the excellent pie and sausage shops, the busy farmers market, and perhaps enjoy a glass of our own Rockingham Forest Cider at the cider bar, the ideal accompaniment to a wedge of local Stilton Cheese.

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