It may not be considered the most sophisticated of Britain's delicacies but a Midlands-manufactured pork pie has received the highest accolade at the food industry's "Oscars".
On Monday, a pork pie entered by Birmingham butchers Walter Smith beat more than 4,000 other entries at the Great Taste Awards to win the title of Supreme Champion.
Held at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London, the competition saw 490 judges faced with finding the best product on the market out of 4,300 entries. Andrew Ayres, Walter Smith's managing director, said its pork pies were made from free range pork with pastry made to its own recipe and own blend of seasoning.
The recipe was developed at the company's Cannock branch by its regional director Robert Jones.
With 27 branches across the region, the company was established in 1885 and has become the largest privately owned chain of butchers in the country. Mr Ayres said: "Since this is the most prestigious food awards, to win something like this is just incredible.
"It says that ours is the best pork pie in the country and the judges have deemed it to be the best food item in Britain that was entered in the Great Taste Awards.
"We entered some months ago and then we went through various stages of judging."
He said the company's emphasis on using local organic pork had contributed to its win. Our recipe is a secret and the only thing I can tell you is that we only buy free range pigs and it is all locally sourced. They then go a few miles to the abattoir, which is just the other side of Walsall and Cannock.
"It is all free-range pork and is all prepared by hand, filled by hand and it is all our own recipe, with spices for seasoning. Everything is mixed by hand and the meat goes on by hand and then the pie is baked and glazed."
Walter Smith’s pork pie win was strongly contested by a balsamic reduction with sherry and fig - which can be poured on deserts or used in a dressing - from En-Place Foods in Ireland and a handmade traditional velvet fudge by Hi-T’s in London.
To choose between the three finalists, Guild of Fine Food director and leading industry figure Bob Farrand's panel of judges asked producers questions on sustainability, production values and food ethics.
"After this, it was quite clear who our winner was," he said. "The global food processing industry can con the public with fabulous packaging but you cannot fool the taste buds.
"Once again simple ingredients made with passion win hands down. Even supermarkets are now realising this but not, I hope, at the expense of the small independents." Now in its 14th year, the awards were created by the Guild of Fine Food and judges included journalist Charles Campion, musician, farmer and journalist Alex James, chef and TV star Sophie Michell and Tom Barker-Bowles.
It was described by Alex James, former band member of the group Blur, as "the David versus Goliath of the food world."
In addition to the competition, it is also an accreditation scheme, with products bearing its logo having proven to be of origin, quality and excellence.