The first Evesham Pie and Ale Festival was a roaring success as the town’s Market Square and Abbey Park were packed with more than 1,000 food enthusiasts of all ages on Saturday.

The event was opened in the morning by the Mayor of Evesham, Councillor James Bulman, with visitors sampling a selection of the finest food and ales that the Vale of Evesham has to offer. Throughout the day events such as ferret racing and circus skills workshops also proved a hit with both children and adults.

Celebrity chef Tom Bridge was on hand to judge more than 50 entries for the day’s pie-making competitions.

Among the winners in the professional categories was Annie’s Market Garden, who picked up three awards including Best Sweet Pie, Best Pork Pie and Overall Best Pie.

The evening brought a merry atmosphere as local bands took to the stage and the pies consumed during the day were washed down with some fine ales from breweries such as Sadler’s and Purity.

Vecta Pie and Ale Committee member Mick Hurst said: “It was a fantastic event and the weather didn’t dampen Evesham’s enthusiasm for great food and ale! We had more than 1,000 people come along and there was a great atmosphere in the centre of the town throughout the day.

“The day was a great chance for local producers to show off their great wares and they rose to the occasion – there was everything from perfect pies, pints and piccalilli to great quality cakes, craft stalls and competitions.

“Celebrity chef Tom Bridge was a fantastic and entertaining host throughout the day and an expert judge for the pie competitions. Tom even commented on the high quality of Evesham’s pie producers, which is a real compliment considering he judges at dozens of pie festivals each year.”

With more than 40 stallholders in attendance, the festival proved very popular, attracting visitors from all around the area. The success of the festival suggests it could become a permanent fixture in the town’s calendar, promising a bright future.

Those who have pictures from the day or comments on the festival can tweet them using the #pieandale hashtag.

Evesham is hosting its inaugural Pie and Ale Festival on Saturday 17 September. There will be string of local food producers and award-winning local brewers, including Purity Brewing Co and Sadler’s Ales. A variety of family-friendly entertainment from Morris dancing and ferret racing to Punch and Judy and a circus skills workshop.

Chef to the stars and pie expert Tom Bridge will be judging the festival’s pie-making competition, open to anyone from kitchen novices to professional culinary masters. Tom will also be filming for his next television series during his time in Evesham.

From 5pm onwards a selection of local bands will take to the stage.

Date: Saturday 17 September
Time: 11am onwards
Tickets: Free
Location: Market Square and Abbey Park, Evesham, Worcestershire
Audience: Entertainment for the whole family

Tom will be doing a live cookery demonstration at Southport Food Festival on May 15th. For more info and directions please head on over to http://www.visitsouthport.com/site/whats-on/southport-food-and-drink-festival-p150071.

Tom will be one of the judges of this year’s British Pie Awards!

To find out more about the event, head on over to http://www.britishpieawards.co.uk/

The awards will take place on Wednesday 8th June 2011, St Mary’s Church, Melton Mowbray.

It’s that glorious time of the year when the glorious pie is venerated across the land.

Why not see what’s happening on Twitter? http://twitter.com/search/%23britishpieweek#search?q=%23britishpieweek

Or, check out our list of pie recipes online:

http://www.piesocietybook.co.uk/pie/category/recipes/

Happy baking!

We’ve had lots of great feedback about the book since publishing a few weeks ago – online reviews and comments in signing sessions have all been very complimentary!

The press coverage has been also very praiseworthy, with lavish double page spreads appearing in newspapers all over Britain (see below for a few of these).

The response of the book trade itself has also been excellent, and we’d like to highlight one particular piece of feedback we’ve received. Julie, a buyer at Waterstones, made Pie Society her Christmas Cookery book Choice and wrote this lovely review:

At last a book to celebrate the wonderful traditional Pie! This fantastic cookbook contains a wonderful selection of pie recipes, from cheese and onion to Beef Korma. I loved everything in this great book, so make any Pie lover happy and buy a copy today!

The Pie bandwagon rolls on! Why not check out some sample pages? Better yet, visit our online shop and sort out your Xmas shopping with copies of Pie Society ;) .

Tune in to tonight’s Inside Out on BBC1 at 7.30pm – Tom Bridge will be back on the box talking about Elizabeth Raffald!

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Yes, you read that title right! And yes, this pie is something of a challenge, its sheer extravagance earning it a place in the “silly pies” section of Pie Society!

I made this ridiculously expensive pie to be auctioned off to raise funds for Derian House Children’s Hospice. It cost £1,700 all told, because of the truffle, champagne and gold leaf used, so you probably wouldn’t want to fork out that much! It’s fun to read about, though, and you could make it with some nice wild mushrooms, wine and no gold leaf – but then it wouldn’t be such a silly pie would it!!

Download the recipe!

Hand-raised gold leaf game pie

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This week’s recipe would be a great Bonfire-night warmer (and would probably be rather nice alternative to the sausage casserole  that makes an appearance every year!).

Tom’s top tip for this recipe is to go the extra mile:

This really is worth the hard work of making a creamy tomato soup to pour over the vegetables before baking.

And if that’s not enough of a challenge for you, you could always bake your own crusty wholemeal bread to serve!

We’ve also included a bonus PDF of the cobbler pastry (well, it wouldn’t have been fair to leave it out!). Remember, Pie Society is out now and you can order the book direct from us! All good bookshops should be able to order it in for you too.

Download the recipe!

Roasted Root Vegetable Cobbler, page 174

Cobbler pastry recipe, page 42

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This sample recipe from Pie Society is an absolutely fantastic way to treat your fellow diners to some top-quality rump steak. Never made a pudding before? Never fear, Tom’s recipe is easy to follow and even easier to scoff down.

And to serve?

Hmmm, what to serve with this luscious beefsteak pudding … what would the readers of this book enjoy? I reckon rustic fat chips cooked in duck fat, with fresh mint peas and gravy, would be just the ticket!

Well said Tom!

Download the recipe

Aberdeen Angus Beefsteak Pudding, page 166

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