A NATIONAL confectionery expert has created an unusual northern ‘delicacy’ which is sure to divide punters.
Andy Baxendale, a full-time consultant at Stockley’s Sweets in Blackburn, has launched meat and potato pie-flavoured sweets following a string of requests from customers.
The new soft sweet range, made at his factory in Billinge, Wigan, uses meat and potato flavourings to recreate the experience of eating a pie.
He said: “Everyone associates Wigan with pies and so it seemed like a logical thing to do to create a sweet version of this great northern delicacy.
“The term Pie-eaters is believed to date from the 1926 General Strike, when Wigan miners were starved back to work and so were forced to metaphorically eat humble pie.
But it just so happens that in Wigan we love eating pies as well.”
Andy, who was a technical manager at Glisten (now known as Big Bear) from 2003 to 2007, has 23 years' experience in the industry and has worked for many of the biggest names in UK confectionery production, advising companies on everything from recipes to staff training and enhanced production techniques.
He has called on the government to set up a national academy of sweets to protect the industry and teach a new generation the art.
The former product development manager for Chewits said he fears that without support those skills will disappear forever. The 51-year-old said: “We are losing a lot of our skilled workers and something needs to be done to ensure these skills don’t disappear forever.
“In the UK there is nothing being done to train people and even then I fear that these skills will become lost.
“I offer my own training courses which people can come to and learn about these skills.
“I fear the art of sugar boiling will be forgotten otherwise.”
Andy, who also worked in a pie factory for two years early in his career, has a reputation for creating unusual confectionery, including bacon fudge and cheese flavoured popcorn.
He said: “I’m working on a new product creating hot dog flavoured popcorn.
“I hope it will sell well in the next couple of weeks.”