Although many Doncastarians know and love Toppings Pies, it was a twitter chat that led to our visit at Doncaster’s pie HQ and bakery situated behind the HUB.
Going under the crust was certainly a new experience for me, although I was aware of how much these delicious pies are loved in the Donx by folks of all walks of life. Every year my other half buys a Toppings Christmas pie and although I am vegetarian, (much to Mr. Toppings horror) these pies are hand crafted, artisan, locally sourced bundles of joy.
He’s got delicious quiches for me and they are far from soggy or watering either, with the recipies such as feta, chestnut with spinche and my favourite sweet peper and chill. There’s certainly a spicy kick but the flavours are delicate and fresh. We are informed the pies were made on site that day. Yum!
Apparently Mr. Rodger Topping picked up a copy of Doncopolitan whilst having a hair cut in a local salon. Flicking through the pages, he was impressed that in this publication there was nothing slagging off Doncaster for once. A few tweets and emails exchanged and we’re in the office to talk hardcore pie banter, including the history and plans for the company.
It was Rodger’s father Bill Topping who opened his butcher’s shop in 1961, little did he know that it was the start of a multi award-winning company whose products would one day grace the deli counters at Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
The Scawsby butchers shop was moved to the Doncaster Market Hall a decade later to meet customer demands and today remains a family affair with Bill’s grandson Mark managing the outlet for more than 20 years and continuing the family tradition.
Bill hung up his butchers apron in 1989 handing the baton to son Roger alongside his wife Maggie who took over the butchery firm – but it was Maggie’s talent and passion for home baking that was to change the shape of the business. In 1991 Maggie took some of her family’s favourite original homemade pies made to her own recipes to sell in the butcher’s shop.
The reputation of the tasty traditional Toppings pies, some inspired by historical recipes dating back to Victorian and Tudor times, quickly spread and within two years Maggie and Roger had set up a separate bakery division and moved to bigger premises to keep up with customer appetite for family inspired products.
Making top quality British pies and quiche is at the heart of the company and the Topping family continue to source and use only the very best locally sourced British Red Tractor pork meat and ingredients. By 1997 the company continued to enjoy its reputation for fantastic home made pies and picked up a number of awards – the trophy cabinet is now groaning under the strain of housing more than 40 awards!
By 2000 the company had once again outgrown its premises and The Topping Pie Company was officially born when Roger and Maggie bought a new bakery. Topping pies have been enjoyed on deli counters up and down the country for many years and
Shoppers in the hub of Doncaster’s town centre at the Frenchgate Shopping Centre are now tucking into Topping pies since the shop opened in November 2011. Sheffield now has a slice of the action with most recent shop opening in the Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre.
The Company has now transformed from a small family butchers to a multi-award winning speciality pie business supplying a wide range of handcrafted products to retail, independent, wholesale and export customers – but it still retains its traditional family roots and the original butchers shop.
On our trip around the bakery we get a glimpse into ‘the life of pie’ here in Doncaster. The food tech world is serious business, we’re all clad in hair nets and plastic suits. We could be in Area 52 but instead we’re here to go under the crust of Toppings. A small team of staff are working in on the production line crafting each pies with there stunning fillins. It’s an artisan opperation, and I quite fancy having at making one. Especially playing with the Carnberry or Apricots.
It’s nearing luch we’re all starting to get hungry, and thanks to Mr. Toppings pies are on the menu.