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The pie's the limit – Cheltenham celebrates one of Britain's most loved snacks.

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: March 11, 2011

DELICIOUS: Robin Jenkins with a selection of his locally-sourced pies

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IT'S one of our favourite comfort foods, but does the humble British pie always get its fair slice of credit?

This week, pie-lovers across Cheltenham are being encouraged to celebrate all things pastry-wrapped as part of The Great British Pie Week.

From steaming steak and kidney to chunky chicken and mushroom, Echo readers have been voting for their favourite fillings in a bid to find the country's best-loved pie.

Staff at Robin Jenkins butcher's, in Bath Road, said despite a downturn in years gone by, pies were making a strong resurgence.

Robin Jenkins, who owns the shop, said: "Sales are as buoyant as ever. We sell more hot meat pies in the winter – our rabbit pies and steak and ale pies are particularly popular.

"Then in the summer people turn more to cold pies, such as pork with pickle or stilton.

"Pies are something our customers have always enjoyed. You get some people who worry about staying off the pastry, but any hard-working person will soon burn it off."

Robin's pies are baked in Winchcombe, with fillings sourced from farms and markets across Gloucestershire.

"It's all locally produced," he added. "I think that's important for customers. They want quality fillings, which is what we have."

A snap survey from the Echo showed the pie of choice in Cheltenham is steak and ale, although more women prefer their pies to be chicken-based.

Other more unusual flavours to get a mention include wild mushroom with asparagus and spinach with goat's cheese.

Staff at supermarkets in Cheltenham also said pie sales were on the up. At Waitrose, in Honeybourne Way, sales of the pastry dish were up 36 per cent last year.

Laura Keey, who works at the store, said: "Pies are a great British tradition and there is nothing better for a warming meal. An expanding range of pies are flying off the shelves from new pie producers which have evolved to meet growing customer appetite."

The Cotswold Pudding and Pie Company, in Winchcombe, supplies butcher's, pubs and shops across Gloucestershire, offering flavours such as pigeon, bacon and apple or lamb and mint.

Myles Salmon, who runs the company, said: "I'm absolutely flat out at the moment. Pie sales are doing really well.

"I think there was a bit of a fad for a few years where people were worried about calories in pies. But if it's a good quality filling with home-made pastry, you can't beat it."

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