Eating all the pies in Angus
Bel's Butchers in Edzell and Montrose brings healthy, homemade pies and meals from farm to table
Dreams don't always come true the way you would imagine. Annabel Forbes always wanted to open a cake shop, but has ended up running butchers shops selling pies. She wouldn't want it any other way. Bel's Butchers in Edzell and Montrose are thriving businesses that not only supply nutritious food to the local community but connect consumers to the farmer. Annabel, known as Bel, always makes sure to use farmers treating animals well and can tell any customer exactly where the meat comes from.
The fastest-growing seller in the shops is pies, as people look to ready-made meals to fit into their busy lives. Bel has expanded the range to include chicken and leek, mince and skirlie and chicken curry, as well as the favourite steak and gravy or macaroni pies. Every month there is a speciality, such as Mad March Pie with bangers and mash or Christmas pie with chipolatas and cranberry.
But Bel's favourite is the traditional Scotch Pie. She explains that every butchery makes it differently, but the best way is with short pastry, a mixture of beef and lamb and plenty of spice. She admits to using lots of white pepper instead of black to give the pies plenty of heat, but refuses to divulge the recipe. It's easy to see, though, that there is no filler, little fat and the filling goes right to the top.
Bel's Butchers also sell healthy, ready-made meals such as mince and tatties or macaroni cheese. Although she is passionate about encouraging people to buy cuts of meat to cook at home, Bel also recognises how hard it can be to feed a family. 'I may not know all there is to know about cutting up meat, but I know how to cook it,' she says. 'People come into the butchers to be inspired.'