A family-run bakery has laid claim to the selling the country’s best mince pies after it picked up a prestigious 3-star Great Taste award.
Thomas the Baker, which has 30 stores across Yorkshire and the North East picked up the gong for their Heavenly Sweet Mince Pie, the first time any mince pie has received the accolade in the awards’ 25 year history.
The festive treat consists of a filling of sweet mince with apricots and brandy as well as some secret ingredients encased in an all butter pastry shell made with finely ground almonds.
It’s finished off with a tender Viennese Biscuit topping and cost £4.50 for a pack of six.
Thomas the Baker, which has 30 stores across Yorkshire and the North East picked up the gong for their Heavenly Sweet Mince Pie (pictured), the first time any mince pie has received the accolade in the awards’ 25 year history
A Great Taste award is prestigious accolade in the food world.
Only 205 of the 12,777 products entered from 106 different countries received the coveted 3-star award this year.
What are the Great Taste awards?
Recognised by its distinctive black and gold logo spotted on goods in supermarkets shelves and upmarket grocers, Great Taste has become one of the world’s most trusted food and drink awards.
The awards are judged by 144 discerning palates over a 14-week period.
This year’s panel included; cook, writer and champion of sustainable food, Melissa Hemsley, cook, writer, stylist and voice of modern vegetarian cooking, Anna Jones, celebrated Spanish chef, José Pizarro, Kavi Thakrar from Dishoom, food writer and cook, Xanthe Clay, and baker and author, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Waitrose.
The Heavenly Sweet Mince Pie pie was introduced into Thomas stores in 2019 following two years of recipe development from chefs.
Judges described the Heavenly Sweet Mince Pie as ‘a true delight that has been made with great skill’ while another said it was a ‘perfect example of what a mince pie should be like’.
‘A stunning mince pie, gloriously crisp, with short pastry that melts in the mouth.
‘It is not often that a mince pie ticks all the boxes. Every component is balanced with the next. Fabulous,’ said another.
‘Attractive, neat and enticing. The pastry melts in the mouth, the fruit is full of fresh tang and the topping just buttery heaven. A well balanced, sophisticated and delicious mince pie,’ said a fourth.
Last year, the bakery’s best-selling Luxury Mince Pie was awarded a 1-star Great Taste award.
The firm sells around 200,000 mince pies in the eight weeks prior to Christmas – with half of those sold in the week before 25th December.
However, at least 2,000 are sold every week around the year, with demand growing from October onwards.
Fourteen tons of sweet mince filling will be made by Thomas the Baker in 2020 and more than 3,000 additional man-hours are needed to meet the Christmas demand.
As well as winning acclaim for its mince pies, this year saw Thomas the Baker also awarded a 1-star Great Taste award for its Bakewell Muffins.
Simon Thomas, managing director at Thomas the Baker, said: ‘To say we are delighted to have been awarded the coveted 3-star Great Taste award would be an understatement!
The Heavenly Sweet Mince Pie pie was introduced into Thomas stores in 2019 following two years of recipe development from chefs. Pictured is the storefront
‘We are very proud of all of our products, with a lot of love and years of experience going into everything we make.
‘But, when you receive an award like this, it means so much – particularly one as well respected as the Great Taste awards and when you realise no sweet mince pie has ever before received the accolade of 3-stars!
‘It has, of course, been a very strange year and if our mince pies can help bring a smile to some faces this Christmas it will make all the hard work worthwhile.
‘We’re working round the clock to get stock in store for people to enjoy – I think we’ll all be looking for little ways to add some festive cheer to our lives this Christmas.’