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Efforts to prevent imitation

Lochhead backs bid for EU name protection for Forfar Bridie

Forfar BridieForfar bridies could soon have the protection of Europe to prevent other food producers imitating them.

Food Secretary Richard Lochhead today announced that the Forfar Bridie Producers Association, a collaborative team made up of McLaren & Son Bakers and Saddlers of Forfar, is applying for Protected Food Name (PFN) status for the famous Scottish snack.

If successful, the status will offer the Forfar Bridie protection against imitation and provide it with increased product awareness.

It follows successful campaigns to gain protection for Arbroath Smokies, Ayrshire Dunlop cheese and Stornoway Black Pudding.

Mr Lochhead said: “Achieving protected status for Forfar Bridies will ensure that consumers at home and across the EU have a one hundred per cent guarantee of the product’s authenticity.

“It guarantees the food’s provenance and supports local producers.”

The geographical area for a Forfar Bridie, if the application for protected status is successful, will be the towns of Forfar, Glamis and Kinnettles.

The Forfar Bridie is a solid horseshoe or ‘D’ shaped pastry made of a savoury beef and onion filling in a shortcrust pastry case. It has become tradition to eat these bridies for lunch on Saturday in Forfar.

Karen Murray is the fifth generation of bakers at McLaren & Son in Forfar which has been making brides since 1893. She said: “Applying for Protected Food Name Status will ensure that we protect the heritage of a real Forfar Bridie and that customers can be assured that what they’re eating the real thing.”

She said it would also help raise awareness of the history behind a real Forfar Bridie, as well as giving a boost to the town and local food and drink in the area.

Angus Provost Helen Oswald said: “The Forfar Bridie holds a unique place in the town’s heritage and is popular with tourists and visitors to the area. It is one of the county’s most famous produce and an important part of our history. It’s only right that we work towards protected status for the Forfar Bridie and achieving PGI status will make sure that consumers are guaranteed of the product’s authenticity.”

The word ‘Bridie’ has no meaning either in English, Scots or Gaelic other than its connection with the Forfar Bridie. It is claimed the word comes from ‘bride’s meal’ with the very first pasties being served at the wedding feast and fashioned into a horse show shape, the symbol for good luck.

A local story claims the Forfar Bridie was invented by and took its name from one Margaret Bridie of Glamis who sold these meat pasties at the Butter Market at Forfar in the eighteenth century. Recent genealogical research shows that there was a Margaret Bridie who lived in the first part of the eighteenth century in Glamis.

It is possible that the bridie was invented in and around Forfar using the local Angus beef and made by wives for their husbands working in the fields. Margaret Bridie sold them successfully in Forfar at the Buttermarket. Jolly’s of Queen Street in Forfar were making them in the 1840s.

J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, wrote about the Bridie in his novel Sentimental Tommy (1896). This is an account of a little boy growing up in a town called ‘Thrums’ which was based on Kirriemuir, six miles from Forfar, where Barrie himself was born and raised. He certainly would have been familiar with the Bridie from his childhood days. He wrote:
“She nibbled dreamily at a hot sweet-smelling bridie, whose gravy oozed deliciously through a burst paper-bag.”

Protection is sought under EU legislation which came into force in 1993 providing a system for the protection of food names on a geographical or traditional recipe basis.

The EU Protected Food Name scheme highlights regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed. The product is awarded one of three marks: Protected Designation of Origin (PDO); Protected Geographical Indication (PGI); and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG).

Under this system a named food or drink registered at a European level will be given legal protection against imitation throughout the EU.

Producers who register their products for protection benefit from having a raised awareness of their product throughout Europe. This may in turn help them take advantage of consumers’ increasing awareness of the importance of regional and speciality foods.

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