Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Football Pie: Oldest Football League Pie?

Mansfield Town All Steak Pukka Pie Review


A rainy and windy Tuesday night in Mansfield is what being a football supporter is all about. Under those conditions anything can happen which adds to the excitement. While anything can happen, actually nothing extraordinary did occur when we visited for the 0-0 draw with Wycombe Wanderers, although the match was fairly entertaining. When the weather is terrible it makes the match day pie even more obligatory. Rob and I both opted for the classic Pukka All Steak pie option for £3, a pie we have reviewed many times before for our football pie league.

The All Steak Pukka Pie at the One Call Stadium
However, as is often the case at the football the quality was variable. It really was a game of two halves. My pre-match pie was extremely dry which provided a contrast to the extremely wet weather. Rob's was cooked fairly well, although also dry on the bottom. I found mine was so dry the pastry had actually gone quite chewy and was difficult to eat by hand. This was very different to other football pies I have had recently which had soggy and crumbly pastry due to microwave cooking. It seemed that my Pukka had been sat above a heater element in the hot locker which had caused the bottom to burn.



Given that I got my pie before the match it was impressive that they had managed to dry it out so badly. I wondered quite how long it had been sat around for. Mansfield claim to have the oldest football league ground, dating back to 1861. Perhaps this pie had been sat in the locker since 1919 when Mansfield first started playing there? I also wondered how likely food poisoning might be after Mansfield were previously bottom of the football league in terms of their food hygiene rating.


This at least did mean that my pie had been kept warm. The molten gravy proved frustrating as it slowed me down in my pie consumption. I find my desire to devour pies often causes me to bypass my common sense. I keep taking bites somehow expecting the pie to have cooled to a reasonable temperature in the seconds that have elapsed since my previous bite. Whilst the pastry was pretty terrible the filling was just as I have come to expect from Pukka. Ample amount of thick, beefy gravy made the pastry a little more palatable but as usual it was not ideal to eat by hand because the gravy oozed out. The steak pieces weren't huge or overly abundant but none were chewy. Rob however found the opposite with a few gristly pieces.

Overall, sadly the pies weren't leaving us rushing back for more. Despite my claim that I was going to get a second pie at half time, I waited until after the match to get another Pukka pie from Kev's Fish Bar whilst we sheltered from the rain. It was both cheaper and cooked much better!

This review really highlight that whilst a lot of grounds serve similar pies, the choice of how the pies are stored, cooked and kept warm makes a massive difference!

All Steak (Mansfield Town/Pukka)
3.75/7

SJL and RAS


We've rated over 600 pies, including a number of football pies



More about us and our football pie pedigree:

Sam and Rob being interviewed by BBC Sport's Azi Farni
Watch the video on the BBC Sport website
Regulars to our pie blog will know we're the world's leading pie review blog - featuring over 600 pie reviews with multiple football pie media appearances! Two years ago we joined BBC Sport's Azi Farni at Morecambe FC, who make some of the best pies rated on Pierate (let alone football grounds) to discuss what makes the perfect football pie! Watch us featuring in the BBC Price of Football video here.

Check out our PIEremiership article and you'll find that Morecambe FC's Globe Arena is certainly the place to be for top football pies! Top of our football pie league and winners of the British Pie Awards twice, Head chef Graham Aimson at Morecambe FC makes his pies in the kitchen on site by hand, rather than just buying them in! Top work Graham and the team!

Want to find out what the Pierateers really make of the state of the (pie) game in English Football? Check out our analysis in our Pies of Football 2016 article to find out what makes a great football pie!


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Football Pie: Oldest Football League Pie? "

Friday, 1 September 2017

Football Pie Review: A Vale-iant effort?

Rating the steak football pie at Port Vale FC by Wrights


Wrights Steak Pie Review
Cross section of my Wrights Steak Pie
After a slightly fraught end to my journey to Stoke I finally paid for my ticket by card and got through the turnstiles, having realised I only had enough cash to either buy my ticket OR buy a pie – but not both! Schoolboy error!

In any case, the match at Vale Park – which was on a surprisingly sunny Saturday afternoon, unlike your typical “cold, wet Tuesday night in Stoke” that has become a bit of a cliché – was about to kick off when I arrived, hence there being absolutely no-one in the queue in front of me and free access to the food bar! After a slightly awkward conversation with a steward about why I was taking a photo of the food menu – “Are you lost?” “No… just taking a photo for a food blog I write…” – I ordered my Wrights Steak Pie and made my way to my seat behind the goal.

Wrights Steak Pie Review
Matchday is Pie Day! Agreed!
Simply served in a silver foil tray, I could immediately tell why the lady at the bar gave me a few napkins to hold the pie in, as it was steaming hot! Clearly the hot locker had been doing its job, which gave me a few extra minutes to sit down, take a few photos and cheer the lads out before the whistle blew and I was ready to take my first bite!

The pie was pretty golden in colour and while not looking particularly large it was just £2.50, one of the cheaper football pies I’ve bought. I soon found out why…

Did you see that we recently contributed to the Coral Pie Premier League article to find out fan's views on Premier League pies? We dissect it in our "We bet you'll want to know the top football pies!" article.

Also see their short one minute video below for a summary of their results, including a shock response to the nation's favourite half time snack!





Wrights Steak Pie Review
Taking the pie out of the foil to take my first bite, the large overhang of lid pastry was immediately apparent. I took a first bite and all I got was quite dry, biscuity pastry. My second was hardly any better, and in fact it wasn’t until about bite four that I got anything resembling a meaty chunk and some proper gravy. The pastry overhang, in comparison to what was quite a small pie, was in my eyes far too large (if indeed needed at all), so I had to keep biting through in order to get to the meaty chunks in the middle!

Finally some flavour! In fairness, the meat and gravy was actually quite nice for a “just steak” pie. I turned the pie upside down and could see how small the base of the pie was in comparison to the lid. The base was significantly smaller and explained the experience of dry overhang pastry I’d suffered from in the first few bites. The base pastry was significantly softer and actually quite pleasant, so I focused on eating that with the meat and gravy. However that wouldn’t cut the mustard when it came to rating the pie, and one of the chunks of meat was also particularly chewy, which didn’t help either (though overall the meat and gravy was the redeeming feature!)

Wrights Steak Pie Review
Soooo much pastry overhang on the two sides!!
In the end I struggled to finish the pie due to the excessive dry pastry edge and felt short changed at even £2.50 for a football pie. While the pie didn’t collapse in the way that my Wrights pie at Wolverhampton Wanderers had (reviewed in the article I wrote for Buzzfeed), it seemed to have gone the other way and been overly solid, especially the lid. Hopefully Wrights can find a happy medium next time!

Wrights Steak Pie
Score: 3.32/7
[Colour 4, Capacity 3, Consistency 2, Condition 3, Chewiness 3.25, Cheapness 3.5, Content 4.5]



We've rated over 600 pies, including a number of football pies

As for the match itself, Wycombe Wanderers dominated the vast majority of the match, cruising to a 3-0 lead within the first half hour. At that point I was seriously thinking I’d see Wycombe score more goals than this pie would score on the 7 Cs! But with just 5 minutes to go and the points seemingly in the bag, Wycombe coughed up two quite simple goals and had to hang on for a 3-2 win in the end!



More about us and our football pie pedigree:

Sam and Rob being interviewed by BBC Sport's Azi Farni
Watch the video on the BBC Sport website
Regulars to our pie blog will know we're the world's leading pie review blog - featuring over 600 pie reviews with multiple football pie media appearances! Two years ago we joined BBC Sport's Azi Farni at Morecambe FC, who make some of the best pies rated on Pierate (let alone football grounds) to discuss what makes the perfect football pie! Watch us featuring in the BBC Price of Football video here.

Check out our PIEremiership article and you'll find that Morecambe FC's Globe Arena is certainly the place to be for top football pies! Top of our football pie league and winners of the British Pie Awards twice, Head chef Graham Aimson at Morecambe FC makes his pies in the kitchen on site by hand, rather than just buying them in! Top work Graham and the team!

RAS

Want to find out what the Pierateers really make of the state of the (pie) game in English Football? Check out our analysis in our Pies of Football 2016 article to find out what makes a great football pie!


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Football Pie Review: A Vale-iant effort?"

Friday, 25 August 2017

Good Food, Shame About the Pie



In my attempts to find the best pie in my local area around Gloucester I had to try The Queen's Head on the edge of the city. Very highly regarded, it is best to book in advance for dinner as it can get booked up. What is so good about the Queen's Head is that they don't try and be pretencious, they just do traditional British classics very well. They also do generous portions for the price, in particular, their signature Longford Lamb is difficult to polish off. However, they don't actually normally have pie on the menu which had always seemed a crying shame to me. So I was delighted when I went for a weekday lunch and found that Steak & Kidney pie was on the lunch menu. I had no choice but to sample their pastry creation.


But maybe there is a reason The Queen's Head don't serve pie on their brilliant dinner menu. It simply wasn't very good and it seems they have no idea what is needed to make a good pie. They won't be challenging the best pies in Gloucestershire that is for sure. The first basic error they made was smoothering the whole thing in a generic gravy. A common complaint from us on Pierate, gravy really needs to be on the side. It didn't really complement the pie and also made it all very soggy. The second basic error was to go for a slice of pie rather than an individual pie. Whilst this does meet our pie definition (and is much better than a casserole with a pastry lid) it just isn't what I am looking for in the Ultimate Pie, it just isn't as satisfying.

The pie was well filled with meat chunks but had quite a high proportion of kidney. I have never in my life come across anyone who prefers kidney to steak so this ratio could have been better if it was more bias towards the steak. The meat was quite tasty if a bit chewy in places. The pastry also tasted nice but was thick and had a bit of a weird texture, perhaps due to the gravy bath it was sat in. I found the pastry sticking to the roof of my mouth.

Overall, sadly more negatives than positives and this pie really didn't live up to expectations. There are much better pies in the local area.

Steak &Kidney (Queen's Head [Gloucester]) 
3.67/7

SJL

continue reading "Good Food, Shame About the Pie"

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Landmark 30,000 views of the Pierate Pie Rankings

For those who don't know, it's coming up to 8 years since the Pierate Ship first set sail on a mission to rate all the pies we could find. And sure, we've had some pies and lows over the years, but each and every time we've rated a pie it's been added to our official pie rankings page. And now, with 626 pies rated and ranked, our Pierate Pie Rankings page has just reached a landmark 30,000 page views! Thank you pie fans!!!

Our top 10 most viewed pages (doesn't include pie review articles)


MyPie London Steak and ale pie review
#1 - MyPie London Steak and ale pie
Over that time we've had a number of pies be our number 1, the most notable being Paul's Pies Steak and Guinness pie, which was our number one for over three and a half years. But when Paul hung up the oven gloves and stopped trading, in October 2016 we crowned our new number 1 pie! Since that date, for the last 10 months, our new number 1 pie has been MyPie's Steak and Ale pie! Check out the amazing review we gave it!

And further congratulations are due to Chris Brumby who, since we started tasting his pies a few years ago following his 'Roll-off' 2014 win (best sausage roll), has produced further numerous efforts of ex-pie-tese that have been Pierate Highly Recommended, and has dominated our top 10 pie list! Just take a look at the current top 10 below:

RankPie ProducerPie FlavourScoreByInfo
1
MYPIE LondonSteak and Ale
6.61
R/S
2
MYPIE LondonVenison, Chilli and Cheese
6.57
SJL
3
King's Farm [HP22 6BH]All Steak
6.5
SJL
3
Piebury Corner [N7 8DL]Venison and Red Wine [Thierry Henry]
6.5
RAS
3
Piebury Corner [N7 8DL]Lamb and Veg with a hint of mint [Ian Wright]
6.5
RAS
3
JB Christie [ML6 6BU]Minced Beef Scotch
6.5
SJL
7
MYPIE LondonMince, Bacon and Cheese
6.46
SJL
7
The Real Pie CompanyPork, Bacon and Parsley
6.46
RAS
9
Jekyll and Hyde Pub [B4 6BJ]Steak
6.45
RAS
10
The Pie KitchenChicken, Chantenay Carrot and Bacon
6.43
SJL
10
The Brampton Pie CompanySteak & Ale
6.43
SJL
Pierate Pie Rankings as of 28th July 2017


But of course this top 10 is just the tip of the iceberg, with 616 other pies listed from best to worst on our Pierate Pie Rankings page! Check it out to find out where all the other pies we've rated rank in the list! And if you prefer to see the top pies in a variety of categories - such as best chicken or beef pie - see our Pies: Categorised page!

However if you see a top pie missing in the rankings list, why not leave us a comment below or use our Suggest-A-Pie page to let us know where we still need to rate? Alternatively you can drop us a suggestion on our @pierateers twitter page!

Thanks to all those who have viewed our pie rankings page thus far and here's to the next 30,000 views of our ever growing Pierate Pie Rankings Page!

The Pierateers with our number 1 pie maker - Chris!
(L to R - Chris, SJL, TJP. RAS)
RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Landmark 30,000 views of the Pierate Pie Rankings"

Thursday, 10 August 2017

We bet you'll want to know the top football pies!

Take the nation's favourite pastry product. (That's a pie - obvs.) Add the world's most played and watched sport. And sprinkle in some hungry spectators demanding half-time grub! Of course I'm talking about half time pies at the football! But not all match day pastry hits the back of the net. Some are Championship winning material, where as others are destined for relegation as soon as you bite into them. That's why bookmakers Coral have been investigating what you - the football pie eating public - have to say on the topic!

Pie at the football!

Having analysed the data from their Pie Survey launched a few months back - which we blogged on in our article "We bet you'll want to feedback on football pies!" - the results are out and we've got the pies and lows to discuss! So, where do football fans think they can find piefection when it comes to their golden pastry snack?! Find out below!


Check out the full Coral Pie Premier League article to find out all the details on their survey of Premiership Pies, which we dissect below!

Also see their short one minute video below for a summary of their results, including a shock response to the nation's favourite half time snack!





Regulars to our pie blog won't be surprised to hear Coral teamed up with the world's leading pie review blog - featuring over 600 pie reviews with multiple football pie media appearances! A few months ago we were asked to give our opinion on the state of Premier League pies at present, as while the annual BBC Price of Football Survey indicates the price of pies, that really is only part of the story when it comes to pie rating.

We of course contributed our opinion to the survey results they collated regarding the Premier League's top pies and you won't be surprised to hear we have a few opinions on the results too! So once you've read the Coral results article, take a look at our view on the results below!

We've rated over 600 pies, including a number of football pies

So, firstly the winner of the Coral football fan's survey was... West Brom! Now, with a piefect score of 5/5 we do question the result of this really, as in searching for pies up and down the country we've never quite found pie-fection, especially not in a football ground! Typical football pies are a bit overpriced and often rather mass-produced efforts, sitting in hot lockers for far too long! However we are pleased that this is seemingly starting to change with producers like Piglets Pantry (catering for Brighton and Tottenham, amongst others) and Man City's Football Fan Fayre raising the standards significantly.

What I do wonder is whether the football fans rating West Brom as 5/5 were eating the same Pukka Pies as I did when I went to the ground about a year and a half ago? Because while it was a decent Pukka Pie, it certainly wasn't anything to write home about and not worth a full 5/5! One wonders if the people who gave such a high score were actually people in the West Brom hospitality boxes, as what our pie sources tell us is that there they actually serve award winning Piglets Pantry pies, unlike on the main concourse, which certainly would be more worthy of a 5/5 score! Alas we will sadly never know, but that could explain things.

Fabulous Fan Fayre Chicken and Ham Pie
Man City's Chicken Pie with FA Cup Trophy!
Sadly we've not yet rated the pies at Watford, Stoke and Burnley - this can be our "goal" for the season! - but we can certainly highly recommend Man City pies! In fact our top Premier League pie - and number two pie in our Football Pie League - is from Man City and was a fabulous combo of Beef Bourguignon and Chicken and Ham pies at the Etihad Stadium. They highlight that it is often better to pay a bit extra for a top quality pie, rather than less for a very mediocre product.

Sadly it didn't surprise me that the capital's supporters tend to favour a beef burger over a half time pie, however I was pleased to see the Northerners sticking up for their local pastry treat! Certainly the backing for a Steak and Ale pie came as no surprise to us either, with our number one football pie of that flavour. However what was surprising was a lack of mention of the Chicken Balti, which has become quite a fan favourite at many football grounds we've been to!

And to wrap it all off, we're pleased that football fans are by and large a wise crowd when it comes to knowing a pasty is NOT a pie! I'm sure many of you have heard us ramble on about the topic enough - though for anyone wanting an education you can check out our analysis of the shock pasty win in the 2016 British Pie Awards here.

So all in all, I think this survey highlights there are still some top football pies out their for us to sink our teeth into! Sadly not all pies rate as highly as West Brom, but there's only one way for us to really know! We'll be tucking into more football pies up and down the land this coming season! Game on!!!



More about us and our football pie pedigree:

Sam and Rob being interviewed by BBC Sport's Azi Farni
Watch the video on the BBC Sport website
Two years ago we joined BBC Sport's Azi Farni at Morecambe FC, who make some of the best pies rated on Pierate (let alone football grounds) to discuss what makes the perfect football pie! Watch us featuring in the BBC Price of Football video here.

It was outside of the scope of the Coral survey, which focused on the Premier League, but Morecambe FC's Globe Arena is certainly the place to be for top football pies! Top of our football pie league and winners of the British Pie Awards twice, Head chef Graham Aimson at Morecambe FC makes his pies in the kitchen on site by hand, rather than just buying them in! Top work Graham and the team!

RAS

Want to find out what the Pierateers really make of the state of the (pie) game in English Football? Check out our analysis in our Pies of Football 2016 article to find out what makes a great football pie!


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "We bet you'll want to know the top football pies! "

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Dublin Pieman Review

Pieman - Dublin Pie Review

I admit it, I am obsessed about pies. If I visit a new place one of my first thoughts will be to find out if there are any highly regarded pies. It was no different when I went on a stag do in Dublin over Easter. A quick internet search revealed the Pieman to be worth trying. However, it was such a fun filled weekend I was worried I might not get an opportunity. Fortunately The Pieman is located in the Temple Bar area which happens to be where a large amount of the pubs are. My luck was in when we went to The Temple Bar pub just around the corner. So while everyone was getting merry in a rammed pub, I thought no one would notice if I slipped away briefly, the perfect crime. Or so I thought. After I came back from my brief pie visit I realised everyone had gone! It took me some time to find them but served me right really for being rude enough to duck out the festivities! I eventually found them half way across the city, made all the harder by lack of internet on my phone because Dublin is apparently 'abroad'.


But was the pie worth it? I went for the Chili Beef & Chorizo which was recommended by the staff. It was a decent effort but I regretted not having gone for a classic Steak & Guinness which would have given me a real taste of Ireland and also might have had a potential to score higher. Whilst it was nice to tick off another country where we have reviewed a pie (we must be over a dozen or so countries by now) I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to have this one again. See the score break down below.


Colour – 4.0 out of 7 – Straight away looking at this pie I realised I had made a bit of an error. It was swimming in gravy. It looked like the colour had been nice but the soggy appearance took the sheen off it somewhat.
Condition – 3.5 out of 7 – A solid condition, no flaws to speak of. However, the gravy it was sat in was watery and I thought made it look unappealing.
Cheapness – 3.0 out of 7 – I know that this is a pricey tourist area and that the post-referendum exchange rate is not good at the moment but I thought €6.50 was a lot of money for a pie on its own (roughly it was equivalent to £5.50). It was a sit in establishment but a cafe rather than a restaurant.
Capacity - 5.2 out of 7 - As you might expect for a premium pie, it was quite a good size and it was also well filled.
Chewiness - 4.5 out of 7 - Minced beef was used which didn't provide as much to get your teeth into. However, there were also chunks of chorizo which were a bit more satisfying. The pieces of carrot seemed a bit limp to me. Despite the gravy, there was quite a nice biscuity crunch to some of the less damp pastry, particularly the thick crimp at the top.
Content - 4.5 out of 7 - The mixture of beef, beans, carrot, onion and chorizo gave the filling a nice variety but it was still satisfyingly full of meat. The flavour was quite spicy and also quite salty. It was a shame the gravy didn't go with the taste of the pie filling but I have tried to ignore this in my score.
Consistency - 4.0 out of 7 - The pie held together well and I think the filling, although slightly more unusual, went well with the pastry.

Chili Beef & Chorizo (Pieman [Dublin])
4.10/7

SJL
continue reading "Dublin Pieman Review"

Saturday, 29 July 2017

UK Piefest 2017 - Live!

UK Piefest Flyer
Pierate and UK Piefest flyers

Four months after our last trip to Melton Mowbray for the British Pie Awards 2017 Pierateer Rob is heading back to the heart of pork pie country - Melton Mowbray! This time though he's not about to join around 100 judges to rate well over 800 pies from across Britain and beyond. Instead he's one of the guest speakers at UK Piefest, doing a talk on "How to Rate a Pie".


Anyone who knows us well will already know we rate our pies on the 7 Cs of pie rating - our method of reviewing that we have used to rate over 625 pies on Pierate. In fact, we think we've easily reviewed more pies than anyone else, meaning there are very few pie experts with more ex-pie-rience than us when it comes to judging the pie-fect pie! So we look forward to sharing more about the 7 Cs and how we rate pies at the Pie Festival.

You can read about everything you need to know prior to UK Piefest in our dedicated article, and check back here during the day for live blog posts below and on Twitter as we look to share the pielights of UK Piefest 2017 - Live!

Melton Mowbray UK Piefest
Melton Mowbray will host UK Piefest

This isn't the first time we've been to Melton Mowbray! In fact, we've been numerous times to judge and help at the British Pie Awards. Find out more in our BPA articles here:


Media in 2017  |  Judges in 2016  |  Judges in 2015  |  Judges in 2014  |  Helpers in 2013



8.00 It's an early start for Pierateer Rob but he is now on his way to Melton Mowbray for UK Piefest 2017! Having done this journey a number of times now, we know the signal on the trains is a bit intermittent at best, so we'll keep you posted when we can but normal service will resume when we arrive in Melton Mowbray around 10:30am!

Pierateer Rob is due to do his talk on "How To Rate A Pie" in the Pie Theatre at 11:30am.

8.50 Did you know Pierateer Rob was on BBC Radio yesterday talking pie?! He was interviewed by Martin on BBC Leicester about how to rate a pie, his favourite flavours and his view on the classic Melton Mowbray pork pie! Catch up on it by going to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p057ql6j and the show on 28/7/17 from 42 to 49 minutes in!

9.50 So Twitter is starting to buzz with excitement as there's only a few more minutes til the gates open at UK Piefest! Just a reminder you can now only buy tickets on the gate (not online) but it's still only £4! #Bargin

10.15 Just leaving Leicester train station - next stop Melton Mowbray!!!

10.35 So I've arrived in Melton Mowbray (my first time coming for anything other than the British Pie Awards!) Now to not be distracted by pie shops and head to the Cattle Market!!

10.55 Organiser Matthew has kindly given me a tour of UK Piefest and of course focused on the pie stalls! (Other foods are available...)


11.20 Already spotted Brockleby's pies and Great North Pie Co pie stands at UK Piefest! And Neil from Great North Pie Co (a British Pie Awards Supreme Champion winner) is lending me a pie to talk about in my talk! Cheers Neil!

The "Pie Theatre" Rob is speaking in!

11.30 Time for my talk on How to Rate a Pie!

12.00 Well that was fun! Always nice to see the stewards having to put out extra seats due to all the people who want to listen! Thanks to those in a crowd who participated and for listening in. My biggest live pie talk to date with about 80-100 people in the audience!

12.25 Currently listening in to Stephen Hallam from Dickinson and Morris pie shop talking about how to hand raise a Melton Mowbray pork pie!

12.30 Stephen has now got 3 amateur bakers up on stage to give hand raising a pie a go! The next generation of pork pie bakers!!

13.00 Next up in the Pie Theatre is 2013 Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn! Looking forward to hearing her top pie tips! Meanwhile there's still lots of people piling in!

13.15 Frances Quinn is sharing how to make blueberry cloud-shaped pies in the Pie Theatre right now, including anecdotes from the Bake Off tent!

Frances Quinn making a pie

13:45 Frances Quinn has been chatting to people at the end of her demo. I asked her about the Picnic pie she made in the 2013 final, which she said she's never repeated since the final! Never too late to try Frances!

14.10 We've been hearing a bit more about the Bake Off tent, including how the crew always ended up taking bits home, how hot it was in the tent and how they had to submit all their plans right through to the final when they applied.

14.30 With half an hour til heading to get my train home I've been chatting to a few pie company owners, including Neil from Great North Pie Co and Ian from Rutland Pies. Looking forward to sampling them when I get home!!

15.00 Sadly time to bid farewell to Melton Mowbray but have enjoyed my day out here! If you have not got plans for tomorrow I do recommend you head down. Most of it is inside or under cover and there's great pies and pie talks on offer! Over and out!


RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "UK Piefest 2017 - Live!"

Friday, 28 July 2017

Re-rating the Mr Kipling fruit pie box

Mr Kipling Apple, Apple and Blackcurrant and Cherry Pies


Whether it be a British Pie Week “eat as many pies as you can Pieathon”, a roadtrip or a casual Pierateer get together, there always seems to be a reason to pick up a box of 6 handheld Mr Kipling pies to help us on our way. They have become synonymous with Pierate gatherings – the consistent little pie hole filler that allows us to have pie for breakfast, lunch, pudding or supper (and it has been known dinner too, when Pierateer Rob ate just apple pies for the day in 2013!)

And one of the leading pie manufacturers in the small handheld pie market are the legendary cake and pie makers Mr Kipling. They claim on their boxes to be the nation’s favourite apple pies and to be honest, for years now we have relied on the consistent goodness to keep us filled with pie on many a roadtrip and outing or simply as an easy breakfast or dessert pie option.

But it has come to our attention that these reviews are quite old now, being over 7 years since they were pie rated, so they are in need of a review. With so many other pies having been eaten since these initial reviews (some of the first on the blog) are they still that good? Add to the mix that we’ve never actually reviewed the Cherry pie yet and we thought that better change!

Mr Kipling Fruit Pie Review
Mr Kipling Fruit Pies (l-r: Apple and Blackcurrant, Cherry, Apple)
The question the box poses to us when pie rating is whether the Mr Kipling’s range really is exceedingly good pie? I can assure you – they are!

After all, there’s a reason why they are called the nation’s favourite apple pies (their branding and claim to fame, not mine). And there’s got to be a reason we keep going back to them time and time again! Packed with crisp apple-y goodness, the Mr Kipling Apple Pie ticks all the boxes and ensures it is the premier portable snack sized fruit pie. The apple and blackcurrant pies have a nice sweet mix of apple flavouring balanced with small pieces of blackcurrant (though the seeds can get in your teeth at times!) and the cherry pie is also nice and sweet, though again no fruit pieces to get your teeth into.

Sadly none of these pies have a particularly strong natural fruit content with pieces of fruit in your pie, relying more on a fruity jam like consistency. The capacity of these pies is also quite low – though if you eat one you’d probably agree you don’t want much more sweet filling if you’re going to finish said pie! But then this has been the case in nearly all of the small, portable fruit pies you get from supermarkets and similar companies. However if you want pies with actual pieces of fruit in, it’s best to go for pies from bakeries or farmers markets, which tend to be sold in larger sizes to cram the fruit in!

In summary, whether on a roadtrip, at a cake and pie sale, having just played sport, or at a friend’s leaving meal... the possibilities for cracking out a top tasting Mr Kipling Pie are almost endless! In terms of the small fruit pie market they are one of the best out there, consistently available across many supermarkets and corner shops up and down the country. And there has certainly been no lack of consumption of these pies in the past 10 years or so (easily pre-dating the creation of the Pierate Blog!) I would make a relatively safe guess that between the Pierateers there have been well over 200 Mr Kipling Apple Pies eaten alone (often all 6 in a pack eaten in one group sitting), which make these surely the most eaten pies in Pierate history!

Mr Kipling Apple Pie
Score: 5.82/7
[Colour 6/7; Consistency 6/7; Cheapness 6/7; Chewiness 5.75/7; Condition 6/7; Content 5.75/7; Capacity 5.25/7]

Mr Kipling Apple and Blackcurrant Pie
Score: 5.61/7
[Colour 6/7; Consistency 6/7; Cheapness 6/7; Chewiness 5/7; Condition 6/7; Content 5/7; Capacity 5.25/7]

Mr Kipling Cherry Pie
Score: 5.61/7
[Colour 6/7; Consistency 6/7; Cheapness 6/7; Chewiness 5/7; Condition 6/7; Content 5/7; Capacity 5.25/7]


RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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continue reading "Re-rating the Mr Kipling fruit pie box"

Monday, 17 July 2017

Will Brockleby’s rock my world?!

Brockleby’s Wild Deer and Longhorn Steak with Stilton and Ale Pie Reviews


Brockleby's Pie Reviews
Brockleby's Pie Reviews
Three years is a long time in politics – and is equally a long time in pie reviewing! The range of pies sold can vary hugely in that time and some pie businesses even come and go in that time frame. But when a pie company you have tried and rated highly turn up selling their pies pretty much in your back yard - at your local community festival - it’s a bit of a no-brainer to give some more of their pies a go (as well as enjoy an old favourite!)

So with a large Wild Beaver pie already in the bag to share with friends – and before I go any further, no beavers were harmed in the making of that pie! See our previous review for why it gets its provocative title! – it seemed foolish to pass up the op-pie-tunity to rate a few more of their pies. At £4.50 each or 3 for £12, I was sold! The two pies I’m therefore reviewing today are the Wild Deer and Longhorn Steak with Stilton and Ale pies in their decent repertoire.

Graham on the Brockleby's Pie Stall at the Selly Oak Festival

Did you know?! Brockleby’s will be one of the pie makers selling their wares at the second annual UK Piefest in Melton Mowbray on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July 2017. Find out more about it and the talk that Pierateer Rob is going to be giving there in our “Everything you need to know about UK Piefest” article! 
UK Piefest Flyer
UK Piefest flyer

Brockleby's Wild Deer Pie
Of note for both pies were that the pastry was a very nice consistency, particularly the lids of both pies – firm enough to hold in the content but not too thick to detract from the taste. They were also both packed to capacity with large meaty chunks and had a decent amount of gravy without it flowing out all over the place! I’d personally suggest slightly smaller chunks of meat which can be more covered in gravy and be a little tenderer in places, as there were a few large chewier pieces of meat that weren’t quite as succulent. However in all the meat was very nice and well filled, so I couldn’t find much to fault them.

In regards to the wild deer pie, it was certainly my preference out of the two. The meat on the whole was very nice, the gravy very rich and flavoursome and it really complimented the shortcrust pastry. It was therefore a deer pie very well done, and at £4.50 the price wasn’t too dear either! (Even better at £4 when buying 3 pies for £12!)

The steak, stilton and ale was a little more disappointing, simply due to the lack of a significant stilton flavour to the pie. I and a few friends who tried a mouthful too did not sense much of a stilton hit at all, so while by all means the steak was quite nice, as a steak and stilton pie it didn’t reach the same high levels as the wild deer pie and steak and beaver ale pie I’d had before. The steak was however nice in the main and the gravy was nice despite the lack of cheese.

Brockleby's Steak with Stilton and Ale Pie

With strong recommendations towards their Salmon pie and Moroccan Lamb pies, we’ve certainly got other chances to rate a few more of their pies – and hopefully I might pick up a sample or two at UK Piefest at the end of July! I’d certainly recommend you check out their stall if you go, as these pies are Pierate Recommended!

Brockleby’s Wild Deer Pie
Score: 5.86/7
[Colour 5.75, Capacity 6.25, Consistency 6, Condition 5.5, Chewiness 5.5, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6.5]


Brockleby’s Longhorn Steak with Stilton and Ale Pie
Score: 5.32/7
[Colour 5.75, Capacity 6, Consistency 5, Condition 5.5, Chewiness 5.5, Cheapness 5, Content 4.5]


RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Will Brockleby’s rock my world?!"

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Everything you need to know about UK Piefest

UK Piefest Flyer
Pierate and UK Piefest flyers
What is UK Piefest?

Set up by the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association – who also run the British Pie Awards we attended back in March 2017 – in the self-proclaimed “Capital of Pies” Melton Mowbray, this is one big celebration of pie love! You can taste award winning pies from British Pie Awards winners – and more importantly bag some to take home! – as well as attending talks and demonstrations on how to make the perfect pie from experts like 2013 Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn! There will even be a Questions and Answers session with some of the expert pie makers there, as well as cheese, beer, cakes, chocolate, cider and entertainment!

Oh, and we’ll be there too, giving a talk on “How to Rate a Pie!”


When is UK Piefest?

Melton Mowbray UK Piefest
Melton Mowbray will host UK Piefest
UK Piefest is in its second year and is held in the summer, this year on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July from 10am-4pm (so not long to wait!)

Where is UK Piefest being held?

Well when you think pork pies, you think Melton Mowbray! So it makes absolute sense that the town is the host of UK Piefest! With a number of local producers selling their wares at the event, you need to follow the smell of freshly cooked pies and get down to Melton Mowbray Cattle Market, Scalford Road, Melton Mowbray, LE13 1JY

UK Piefest Flyer
Frances' Rainbow Picnic Pie - Screenshot from BBC
Who will be there?

Well apart from all the wonderful pie sellers – many of whom are past British Pie Awards winners – the star baker and demo pie maker is none other than Great British Bake Off 2013 winner Frances Quinn, who you may recall did a stunning Rainbow Picnic Pie in the final!

However why we’re quite so excited about UK Piefest is that we have been invited as guest speakers this year, to share our wisdom and ex-pie-rience on “How to Rate a Pie!” Yep, if you don’t know your 7 Cs of pie rating or haven’t heard enough pie eating anecdotes to last a lifetime, join us at 11:30am on Saturday 29th July! (Sadly we can’t make it on the Sunday too.) As well as explaining the 7 Cs of pie rating – what to look for in a top pie – there will be some pie anecdotes including how we ended up being on hit BBC One show “Rip Off Britain”.

Pierateer Rob, who appeared on BBC One's "Rip Off Britain" will be speaking at UK Piefest

What else can I do at UK Piefest?

Well, the pies the limit! At the very least for your £4 entry fee (or £3 if you buy online in advance) you’ll get tasting samples of some of the best pies known to man, the op-pie-tunity to buy some to take home and more pie based tips, info and trivia than you can fill in a fully encased pie crust!

When did it all start?

This will be the second UK Piefest, with the first last year being such a success story that they couldn’t resist hosting again! In fact, this year it’s being promoted as “The UK’s Greatest Pie Festival”! You can find out more about the history of pies and the pie festival on their website www.ukpiefest.co.uk

How can I find out more about UK Piefest?

Well the best place to look is their website www.ukpiefest.co.uk or give their twitter a follow on @ukpiefest but of course we will be there on Saturday 29th July and give you the low down on both this blog and our twitter @pierateers – so we hope you’ll feel you can join in the ex-pie-rience even if you can’t make it this year! But even better would be to get down to Melton Mowbray for this great celebration of all things pie! We certainly can’t wait to get our hands on even more top pies while we’re there!!



If you have any questions you want answered by Pierateer Rob at UK Piefest, why not leave a comment or drop us a question @pierateers? We’d love to hear from you and answer your questions if we can! Also do let us know if you’re coming too, as we’d love to meet you there!

RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Everything you need to know about UK Piefest"

Friday, 30 June 2017

TV's Radford Family keep pie-ducing the goods!

Radford’s Pie Company Steak and Stilton and Chicken Pie Reviews


Having previously tried and highly rated their pies over 18 months ago, a trip up to Morecambe recently seemed like the pie-fect opportunity to rate some more of the pies from Radford’s Pie Company, based just outside Morecambe on the Heysham Road. We were up in the area for the Morecambe v Wycombe football match and contemplating a wander over to the stadium from the train station once we’d picked up some of their pies, but were very kindly offered a lift across by Noel Radford, potentially the busiest dad in the country!

Radford's Pie Reviews
Radford's Pie Reviews
For those who don’t know, the Radford family featured on Channel 4’s 15, 16, 17, 18 and “19 kids and counting” and are – as you might have guessed – the largest family in the UK! Oh, and further congratulations are in order - they recently announced on Facebook they are expecting child number 20! With so many mouths to feed, it’s a good job the family run a pie company out of the local bakery they own!

With over 15 years of pie baking in the bank and plenty of demand for their home delivery service of those pies, it’s great to see a family run business doing well and expanding their delivery options and we wish them continued success in this! However we were glad to get our hands on the pies in person and to have a chat with owner Noel about the life of pie! He’d kindly brought an (already reviewed) hot meat and potato pie with him – which Sam and I shared – and a few cold pies to take home and rate. Here goes:

All the pies were once again made with shortcrust pastry, with a crisp lid and pastry sides that held the content in well. This was particularly evident when seeing how well filled the pies were, as the pies are crammed to capacity with meat! They are £3.05 for a 280g, which is pretty reasonable (though if you get the right deal online, you can get them a bit cheaper if you buy a box load or even get a 3 month pie subscription!) They come in the classic foil case with crimped top edges, familiar to a lot of (particularly Northern) pies.

As you can see from the photos below, they cut well and didn’t collapse like a lot of pies can do. The cross-section really highlights the packed content and the golden lids to the pies. And as mentioned in our previous review, the local ingredients, from butchers and vegetable sellers near to the bakery, also adds to the appeal of these pies.

Did you know?! Our first review of Radford's Pie Company 18 months ago is our second most viewed post and most viewed pie review - with over 5,700 views!!

Here are the individual flavours:

Radford's Pie Reviews
Steak and Stilton (L) and Chicken and Gammon (R)
Steak and Stilton Pie

Large chunky pieces of steak and a nice cheesy flavour meant this pie delivered! The meat was very nice and packed out the pie content, with a very meaty 45% beef steak. The gravy was quite a nice thickness, making it quite moist to contrast with the quite crisp outer pastry and the stilton cheese was flavoursome without being over powering. Overall, my favourite of the Radford’s range that I’ve tried so far! Pierate Recommended.

Score: 5.89/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 5.25, Condition 5.75, Chewiness 5.5, Cheapness 5.75, Content 6.5]


Free Range Chicken and Gammon Pie

With this pie consisting of 38% chicken breast and 10% ham, this pie certainly wasn’t lacking in meat and eclipses the meat content in the chicken pie we rated last time! It was a very enjoyable pie, with my only suggestion that the pieces of ham and chicken were quite chunky and thus (specifically the ham) not quite as succulent as it could have been if perhaps in slightly more small pieces. However that said you could really taste the ham – unlike in some chicken and ham/gammon pies where just a token bit of ham is included – plus the sauce was good, adding a nice blend to the flavour. As can be seen from the photo above, the capacity is top notch and good content means this pie scores very well. Pierate Recommended!

Score: 5.82/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 5.25, Condition 5.75, Chewiness 5.25, Cheapness 5.75, Content 6.25]


Radford's Chicken and Mushroom Pie Review
Radford's Chicken and Mushroom Pie Review

Free Range Chicken and Mushroom Pie

The chicken and mushroom pie contained 38% chicken breast, which packed out the pie quite well but wasn’t quite as meaty as the chicken and gammon pie I’d eaten the previous day. However it was a nice flavour in a creamy sauce, and the mushroom added a bit more texture to the straight chicken pie I had last time. While not quite as high scoring as the chicken and gammon, still a very good pie.

Score: 5.68/7
[Colour 5.75, Capacity 6, Consistency 5.25, Condition 5.75, Chewiness 5.25, Cheapness 5.75, Content 6]




All in all, some very good pies from Radford’s and it’s a luxury to find a fully family run business like this that uses ingredients from local producers in the area. It’s great that they do online delivery of such top pies and I’d certainly suggest you order a batch as they are worthy of Pierate Recommended status!

RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "TV's Radford Family keep pie-ducing the goods!"

Monday, 22 May 2017

Nice Pie open a new Melton Mowbray Shop

Nice Pie (Melton Mowbray) Pie Reviews and new shop!


Pierate Logo Pie Review
The incredible "Pierate Logo" pie made by Nice Pie!
Whether you want to take a walk on the wild side or stick to something more typical in your pie, it seems with Nice Pie you're in for a nice pie treat!

We've been delighted to sample and rate so many of their pies in the last few years - the reviews of which can all be seen here - that we thought they deserved a Nice Pie page on Pierate Pie Reviews! Amazingly nearly every pie is Pierate Recommended (rated above 5/7) with a growing number of Pierate Highly Recommended pies (rated above 6/7) - an amazing feat considering the weird and wonderful content of some of the pie fillings such as kangaroo, wild squirrel and crocodile (the latter being the highest rated pie from Nice Pie so far!)

Below is the Nice Pie top 5, but they sell so many great pies that the top 5 doesn't even include all the Pierate Highly Recommended pies they sell, let alone mention the Pierate Recommended ones!!!

Check out the full list of Nice Pies and find out a bit more about the company on our new Nice Pie Page!

RankPie ProducerPie FlavourScoreBy
1
Nice PieCrocodile, Leek and Potato (Pierate Highly Recommended)
6.39
SJL
2
Nice PieRing of Fire [Spicy Beef] (Pierate Highly Recommended)
6.21
SJL
3
Nice PieWild Boar Pork (Pierate Highly Recommended)
6.20
TJP
4
Nice PieSlow Cooked Lamb and Mint (Pierate Highly Recommended)
6.18
RAS
5
Nice PieRed Stag (Pierate Highly Recommended)
6.16
RAS

Nice Pie Shop in Melton Mowbray
Nice Pie Shop in Melton Mowbray
We're also delighted to hear that the pies have been selling so well that they have just opened up a new shop in the centre of Melton Mowbray itself (in addition to their current shop, which is part of the farm outside Old Dalby, north of Melton Mowbray). It's found at 55 Kings Street, Melton Mowbray. We look forward to visiting it when we're next in town!

RAS

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Nice Pie open a new Melton Mowbray Shop"