Amy Moore visits the Rural Capital of Food, home to the famous Melton Mowbray Pork Pie and the Melton Farmers Market.
On July 29, GTW attended a familiarisation trip to Melton Mowbray hosted by the GTOA Central Branch, which saw a little over 30 GTO's (including guests) in attendance.
Melton is a rather quaint town, which remains proud of its unique cultural heritage. It has been built on the tradition of locally sourced produce, with celebratory events hosted throughout the year, such as the Melton Mowbray Food Festival. Tourists flock to get a taste of the authentic Melton Farmers Market, which suffered a bout of overcrowding on the weekday we were visiting. The day’s itinerary was well organised by Hatty McShane-Smith, Marketing Co-ordinator for Leicester Shire Promotions, who could accommodate a large group with ease.
Dickinson & Morris are established at the heart of Melton’s town centre, having produced authentic Melton Mowbray Pork Pie’s since 1851. The store is a definite hot spot for groups, accredited as the oldest pork pie bakery and the last remaining of its kind in the UK. Our group enjoyed a short pie making demonstration at the venue and were all given the opportunity to sample some fresh goods, characteristic of flaky pastry and perfectly peppered pork stuffing. Its bow sided shaping is accredited to the loss of a hoop or tin when baking. Once cooked, the pies are wrapped in parchment paper and sealed with a crest, ready to sell in store.
The Melton Cheeseboard is a family run business situated on Windsor Street; a short walk from the traditional market town.
It sells a variety of produce and is famed for its strong and tangy stilton cheese. Our group got to indulge in a cheese tasting activity courtesy of Tom and Lyn Brown, sampling such goods as Red Leicester; its name accredited to the neighbouring city. Neatly decorated gift packs are available to purchase in store, with a vast collection of stock on display, including beer from the Belvoir Brewery, which we visited later on the tour.
Our group enjoyed a ploughman’s lunch at the Belvoir Brewery at around 1400hrs. The venue adequately functions as a business and conference facility, with large viewing windows that have been installed for guests to enjoy a direct view of the traditional brewing process. Jugs of beer were provided, including the popular Star Bitter, which had a sweet flavour accentuated by a healthy dose of lemonade. We were taken on a limited tour of the brewery and its storeroom, where our group learnt more about the original site that was set up in 1995. Group packages include a tour operating daily from 1400hrs, with alternative packages tailored to a minimum of 10-30 people depending on the GTO’s choice of itinerary.
Set within 12 acres of sublime woodland scenery, the Scalford Hall Hotel served up a perfectly quintessential afternoon tea, which can be enjoyed with a glass of sparkling wine upon request. Significant changes have been made to the building since it came under the ownership of Hampshire-based Director Colin Warburg in February. Two suites are being renovated to cater to a wider variety of guests, with the hotel suited to those staying on leisure. As it stands, the hotel has 77 bedrooms and nine additional meeting and conference rooms suitable for groups. Those staying can take advantage of its beautifully landscaped gardens, which hosts a large chessboard and croquet field. Many exciting events have been scheduled for the festive season.