SCOTLAND has not produced too many world champions of late, but our luck should change at a top competition next month – because 78 of the 80 entrants are from north of the border.
Butchers and bakers from around the north and north-east will be making special deliveries to Dunfermline this morning as judging begins in the World Scotch Pie Championship.
Each pie will be sampled by experts and master bakers before being marked on appearance, filling, texture and taste.
Patrick Jackson, owner of the Hame Bakery on Peterhead’s Queen Street, is one of the contenders fighting for the tasty title.
He said: “This is the one that everybody wants to win.”
The competition also has a “specialist” category which allows producers to get creative.
Mr Jackson hopes his efforts to bring Scotland and Italy together with a “pizza pie” – a pie shell filled with pizza dough, cheese, sliced sausage and tomato – will win over the judges.
Alan Stuart, of Stuart’s of Buckhaven, who organises the annual event, now in its 12th year, said: “I’ve received 80 entries this year, 50 butchers and 30 bakers, and that is extremely encouraging given that we are in a recession.”
But it is not just getting one over their rivals that is driving competitors – winning is also good for business.
Murdoch Brothers of Forres took the top prize back to Moray last year and Graham Murdoch, co-owner of the High Street-based butcher, said the title had definitely helped to sell more pies.
Mr Stuart added: “The winner can expect a money-spinning year. Records show that the successful company can increase their annual turnover by over 30%.”
Royan the Butcher of Elgin, W Reid Butchers of Hopeman, R George (Butcher) from Lhanbryde, JC Dawson of Elgin and Maclean’s Highland Bakery, of Forres, will be hoping to keep the title in Moray.
Aberdeen will be represented by H&S Milne and Sons, Kelly of Cults, AR Ross and Son, and Chalmers Bakery. Bert Fowlie Butchers of Strichen, JG Ross of Inverurie, HM Sheridan of Ballater and Fraserburgh’s Bruce of the Broch are also among the contenders.
As well as pies, the competition features categories for sausage rolls and savoury products.
Overall, 400 entries are entered in all categories and they will be judged by a hand-picked panel of industry experts at Carnegie College, Dunfermline, from noon today.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday, November 30.