Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Football Pie Story: "I wouldn't eat that on TV!"

So unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last 24 hours, you might have heard of a pie-ticular incident that happened in the Sutton United v Arsenal FA Cup tie. No, I'm not talking about Sutton's dream run from non-league obscurity to Round 5 of the FA Cup, or Theo Walcott's 100th goal for the Gunners. Of course I'm referring to the pastry-based object that the reserve keeper Wayne Shaw ate DURING the match, now subject of a pie-tential betting infringement.

What an actual football pie looks like - this one at Yeovil Town
But you know what makes it worse? He ate a pasty! IT WASN'T EVEN A PIE!!! No wonder he's now ruing his decision! A pasty?! I wouldn't eat that on TV! I wouldn't eat that at all!!!


That's right - while the subject of most of the debate has focused on Mr Shaw admitting he knew he was the subject of a bet to eat a pie during the match - leading to an FA investigation and Mr Shaw offering his resignation - what we at Pierate are most outraged at is the fact that everyone keeps calling the pasty he ate a pie!


A pasty is not a pie!!!

How many times do we have to say it?! As if the furore surrounding a pasty winning the British Pie Awards 2016 was not enough, now it seems the mainstream media don't know the difference between a pie and a pasty! Not helped by the BBC commentator calling the pastry based product a pie during the coverage of the game on BBC One on Monday night, it seems the papers and other news outlets have jumped on the "pie" wagon.

As stated in our pie dictionary, we define a true pie as "filling fully encased in pastry with clearly defined base, sides and lid." Even putting the fully encased in pastry v top crust issue to one side for a moment, a pasty quite simply does not conform to this or any correct definition of a pie, as it is just one piece of pastry folded over the filling. #NoPie

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

Even Morrisons supermarket seemed to get caught up in all the excitement by supposedly offering Wayne Shaw a one year deal to be one of their pie tasters - though following the later sacking and potential legal proceedings coming Wayne's way that may sink without a trace!

Whatever the future may hold for Mr Shaw, we hope it won't put him off his pies. Maybe that offer from Morrisons will be even more lucrative now he's a free agent?!



Sam and Rob being interviewed by BBC Sport's Azi Farni
Watch the video on the BBC Sport website
You don't need us to tell you we know a thing or two about football pies! If you've even glanced at our pie blog you're bound to have seen mention of our football pie video with BBC Sport (at the home of our top rated football pie, Morecambe FC) or our football pie article with Buzzfeed or our Pieremiership table, detailing all the football pies we've eaten in-ground! We've even been football pie experts on BBC One hit show "Rip Off Britain"! We know our pies (and they're not pasties!)


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 "Football Pie Story: "I wouldn't eat that on TV!""

Monday, 20 February 2017

Com-pie-tition: YOU could judge at the British Pie Awards!

British Pie Awards 2015 Judges
Judges at the British Pie Awards, including Pierateer Sam

One of the highlights of British Pie Week 2017 will be the return of the British Pie Awards and we'll again be there on Wednesday 8th March 2017 to provide a live feed of the awards. However this is the first year since 2013 where we won't have a Pierateer judging, which has left a vacant spot to judge that could be filled... by YOU!!!


That's right! You could be joining a host of pie raters, food journalists and more to help judge hundreds of pies and determine who is considered to be the Supreme Champion of them all! Held in the heart of Pork Pie country, pie makers, pie enthusiasts and - most importantly - the pies themselves head to Melton Mowbray on 8th March and - if you win the com-pie-tition - you will be there joining the predicted 800 pies and around 100 judges to help rate all the pies!

Bridal Pies Review British Pie Awards 2015
The amazing Speciality Class "Bridal Pies"
at British Pie Awards 2015
The key things are that you are free on Wednesday 8th March and are able to travel to Melton Mowbray (Leicestershire) for the Awards, which mean you can arrive for 10:30am and stay til 3pm. (It may finish slightly earlier though, depending on how many pies are entered.)

You'll help judge around 15-20 pies, eating samples of them and providing a score and feedback for each one, alongside a fellow judge, as all pies are judged by two people.

Following the pie judging itself, we'd love to do a short interview with you about how you found it and feature that in our British Pie Awards 2017 article, if you wish to contribute. And we'll happily buy you a pint in one of the local pubs while we do so as a thank you for getting involved!

So if you are able to travel to Melton Mowbray on Wednesday 8th March and want to judge, to enter the competition just email us on pierateship@yahoo.co.uk with your name and an (up to) 50 word reply to the question "Why would you like to judge at the British Pie Awards 2017?" The deadline to enter is 12 noon on Sunday 26th February, at which point we'll pick our winner from a hat from all the entries!

Don't forget that - whether you win the com-pie-tition or not (and following on from our "British Pie Awards 2016 - Live!" article last year and "British Pie Awards 2015 - Live!" the year before) - on Wednesday 8th March we'll be there for a pie-filled day of photos, interviews and behind the scenes info! Do check back then!!!

This isn't the first time we've attended the British Pie Awards! Oh no! Find out more in our other articles here:
Judges in 2016  |  Judges in 2015  |  Judges in 2014  |  Helpers in 2013



Pierate Rip Off Britain
Pierateer Rob on Rip Off Britain
Last year was another exciting year for Pierate at the British Pie Awards, with over 2,000 of you viewing our live blogging from the pie event of the year, our post-event review and preview articles.

This year it will just be Pierateer Rob in attendance, who you may recognise from TV shows "The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice" and "Rip Off Britain: Food" but we look forward to seeing who joins us at the Awards as the pie competition winner!

RAS

The Pierateers are on a mission to find the best pie they can and you can see a list of their pies rated so far in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find pies of a similar flavour on the Pies: Categorised page.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Com-pie-tition: YOU could judge at the British Pie Awards!"

Friday, 17 February 2017

British Pie Week - Birmingham set for a Pierate Pie Night!

The countdown to British Pie Week continues with our most exciting announcement yet! Pierate are going to rummage and pillage the pies at the Jekyll n Hyde pub in Birmingham as we host a Pie Night takeover in British Pie Week!


They have a few gins in their Gin Parlour!
Being held from 5:30-7:30pm on Monday 6th March, the night will be a chance for pie fans across the Midlands and friends of the Pierateers to catch up on what's been doing down on the Pierate Ship, and most importantly to eat and rate some pie! It's going to be a great way to kick off British Pie Week 2017 and comes just days before we go to the British Pie Awards to provide our live feed of all the pie action!

British Pie Week Pierate
British Pie Week 2017 is from 6th to 12th March!
For those who don't know, the Jekyll and Hyde pub has provided the highest rated pie in Birmingham so far, when we enjoyed a Steak Pie there back in 2013 and a number of Pierate Recommended pies since! You can read all about it in our "Best Pies in Birmingham" article.

And you may also recognise the upstairs Gin Parlour because that is actually the backdrop for when Pierateer Rob filmed with hit BBC show "Rip Off Britain" in February 2015!

So here's the details of the pie night and how you can sign up to come:

Kick off 5:30pm
The upstairs Gin Parlour will open at 5:30pm (though you can pick up a drink in the bar downstairs if you arrive a bit early!)

Rob was filmed in the Jekyll n Hyde by BBC TV!
Pick your pie!
Manager Matt has put on a special offer for our Pierate Pie Night, to compliment their pie specials board and regular pies on offer. For one Monday night only, you can order 2 pies and a bottle of house wine for just £21.95! (This will become their regular Pie Night offer soon!)

Who rate all the Pies?!
While people arrive and settle in, from about 6pm we'll give you a bit of info about how to rate a pie on the 7 Cs of pie rating, as well as a brief update on what we've been up to recently!

All eyes on the Pies!
We'll keep the spiel short so that you can tuck into your pies from about 6:15 onwards, while any late comers get their order in! The Pierateers will be around to chat to and answer your pie questions as best we can!

Stay as long as you like!
We realise it's a school night, so go when you need to, but you're welcome to stay as long as you like! (Well, until just after last orders at the bar!) We'll be hanging around and there'll be a few chances to pick up a limited edition Pierate mug for just a fiver should you so wish!

This pie night is open to friends plus readers of our pie blog and entry is free - you just pay the pub for your food and drinks - but to attend you need to register by sending an email to us at pierateship@yahoo.co.uk with the names of those who are coming (as places are limited).

We hope to see some of you there!



In the meantime, you can find out more about The Pierateers or about what we've been up to in previous British Pie Weeks on the world's leading pie review blog! Plus we'll soon be posting our our British Pie Week #PiePledge article - with our full plans for British Pie Week - but for now why not watch our short video clip to find out how you can get involved in British Pie Week too?




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 "British Pie Week - Birmingham set for a Pierate Pie Night!"

Pierateers join the call for new Wigan football pies!

You don't need us to tell you we know a thing or two about football pies! If you've even glanced at our pie blog you're bound to have seen mention of our football pie video with BBC Sport (at the home of our top rated football pie, Morecambe FC) or our football pie article with Buzzfeed or our Pieremiership table, detailing all the football pies we've eaten in-ground! We've even been football pie experts on BBC One hit show "Rip Off Britain"!


So it will come as little surprise that we were intrigued to find out about a pie-tition that's circulating online calling for the DW Stadium, home of Wigan FC and Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club, to stock local, Wigan based pies! The e-petition, which started a few days ago, has already seen dozens of people sign up to protest that - despite noting "there is nothing wrong with Holland's Pies", the current supplier - the stadium built on pies (though we don't think literally!) should stock local Wigan pies - namely from Galloways.

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

Now it has to be said that this does leave us in a slight quandary, in that we've rated Holland's Pies (during our visit to The Emirates for an Arsenal game) and a Galloways Pie (on the High Street of Wigan) and these are our findings:

Holland’s Big Peppered Steak Pie
Score: 5.29/7
[Individual Ratings: Colour 6/7; Consistency 4/7; Cheapness 5/7; Chewiness 5/7; Condition 6/7; Content 5.5/7; Capacity 5.5/7]

v

Galloways Meat and Potato Pie
Score: 4.36/7
[Individual Ratings: Colour 3.5/7, Capacity 4/7, Consistency 3.5/7, Condition 3.5/7, Chewiness 5/7, Cheapness 5/7, Content 6/7]


1-0 to the Holland's Pies, you could say!

However at Pierate we like to try and see the bigger picture. And if there is a local supplier, one which doesn't have the big spending power of one of its larger pie rivals, we want to factor this in. If it's a case of local v wholesale, that's important too. Ultimately it's a tricky one to call - does the more expensive pie that rates better trump the cheaper local supplier? We'll ultimately leave that decision up to the caterers at the DW Stadium, but lend the petition makers our support.


"I'm signing because I believe in locally sourced pies!" - Pierateer Rob



Sam and Rob being interviewed by BBC Sport's Azi Farni
Watch the video on the BBC Sport website
But before we go any further, after slicing through the crisp top pastry of this e-petition we came to find out that it was in fact friend of the blog Mr Martin Tarbuck - of "The Life of Pies" fame - who is behind the "Pie Eaters Protest Group" who set up the petition! Some would argue that man would do anything to get a book plug, but genuinely he has eaten hundreds of pies himself, so if he's recommending Wigan FC go back to their pie-eating routes and source locally, the man has got to be heard!

So, while we'll happily back the man from Wigan who's had a "journey of a lunchtime", we're also here to do our own football pie campaigning - to say no to #PieHighPrices and keep the price of pies low but the quality of pies high when it comes to the Pies of Football!

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 "Pierateers join the call for new Wigan football pies!"

Friday, 10 February 2017

Countdown to the British Pie Awards 2017

British Pie Awards 2015 Judges
Judges at the British Pie Awards, including Pierateer Sam

Now into its second year being held in the month of March rather than April - and in British Pie Week no less - the British Pie Awards are firmly etched in our pie calendar. Held in the heart of Pork Pie country, pie makers, pie enthusiasts and - most importantly - the pies themselves head to Melton Mowbray every year for the judging of up to 1,000 pies in just one day and to crown their supreme champion. Sadly this year marks the first year away from the beautiful St Mary’s Church, located in the heart of Melton Mowbray, while the church building undergoes renovation. However do not fear! An alternative location has been found nearby and we look forward to attending, with the judging taking place on Wednesday 8th March and the Award's Lunch taking place on Friday 10th March.


British Pie Awards 2014 - Church
This year due to renovations the British Pie
Awards will be held away from St Mary's Church!
This year will be an unusual one for us as for the first time since 2013 we won't be lending a hand to judge the over 800 pies sent in from across Britain and beyond. With Pierateers Rob, Sam and Tim all having judged numerous times before - and lets face it, with almost 600 pies rated on our pie blog we've had no shortage of pie judging outside the Awards - we have decided to give someone else a go and instead focus on providing insightful media analysis of the day with yet another "British Pie Awards - Live!" blog.

So following on from our "British Pie Awards 2016 - Live!" article last year and "British Pie Awards 2015 - Live!" the year before, on Wednesday 8th March we'll be joining around 100 judges and over 800 pies for a pie-filled day of photos, interviews and behind the scenes info!

This year's list of judges is set to include Food and Drink TV producer Andy Clarke, Channel 4's Felicity Spector and pie judging regular Xanthe Clay from the Daily Telegraph. In addition to this are friend of the blog Nik Speller, author Martin Tarbuck - who you may recall has written pie review book "Life of Pies" - and fellow football pie pundit Jonny Smith, who like us has featured in The Sun newspaper regarding football pies.

And while the British Pie Awards use a significantly different set of criteria to us, rather than the 7 Cs of pie rating that we have used to rate almost 600 pies on Pierate, there are very few pie experts they could call on with more ex-pie-rience than us when it comes to judging the pie-fect pie!


This isn't the first time we've attended the British Pie Awards! Oh no! Find out more in our other articles here:
Judges in 2016  |  Judges in 2015  |  Judges in 2014  |  Helpers in 2013



Pierate Rip Off Britain
Pierateer Rob on Rip Off Britain
Last year was another exciting year for Pierate at the British Pie Awards, with over 2,000 of you viewing our live blogging from the pie event of the year, our post-event review and preview articles.

This year it will just be Pierateer Rob in attendance, who you may recognise from TV shows "The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice" and "Rip Off Britain: Food".

So what have we got to look forward to at the British Pie Awards 2017?


Well... following the success of our Countdown to British Pie Week, here's our Countdown timer to the British Pie Awards 2017, happening on Wednesday 8th March at 11am!


Of course if you are a pie producer, you need to remember you only have until Wednesday 22nd February (extended from 17th) to make your application! This year the organisers have made it even easier to enter your pies with an online form available, so don't miss out on this fantastic way to promote your pies! (Who knows... it might lead to a review on our world leading pie review website, like our review of 2015 Supreme Champion Great North Pie Co!)


Regional Specials to be celebrated in 2017


Bridal Pies Review British Pie Awards 2015
The amazing Speciality Class "Bridal Pies"
at British Pie Awards 2015
We're looking forward to once again seeing what pie producers come up with in the Speciality Class, following an amazing selection of entries in the 2015 Speciality Class of Bridal Pies and some royally good pies in the "Pies Fit for the Queen" Speciality Class last year.

This year's Speciality Class is the Regional Pie, which organisers have deemed “a celebration of the magnificent traditional pies associated with different regions across Britain”. Think Shropshire Fidget Pie, Cornwall’s Stargazy Pie, Devon Squab Pie or, of course, the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. This category is - perhaps after last year rather controversially - also open to pasties, as the British Pie Awards define a pie as "filling fully encased in pastry." You don't need to tell us that opens them up to offers of slices, beef wellingtons, steak and kidney puddings or even apple turnovers - we've been there, done that, got the t-shirt - but alas this is what the British Pie and Pasty Awards have deemed their definition to be and we respect that, even if we don't agree with it.


Will a pie once again reign supreme?


I'm sure it can't have escaped your attention if you heard anything about the British Pie Awards 2016 that a pasty won the supreme champion title. And if you saw anything on our blog or twitter feed you'll have spotted we were anything but quiet about our disapproval of a pasty even being allowed to enter - let alone win - the pie competition. One of the knock-on affects of this was that for the first time since 2013 we have not reviewed the BPA Supreme Champion, as we wouldn't touch a pasty with a barge pole!

Fast forward almost a year and it's fair to say we're still trying to get over it, but if anything it has made us even more passionate to share the love of the top rated pies that are produced and judged this year. Here's hoping pies can rightly make all the headlines at the British PIE Awards 2017!


And if you want a flavour of the British Pie Awards check out our interview with Andy Bates from 2015, who you will recognise from the Food Network TV Channel. Andy was compere of the British Pie Awards Lunch 2015, which involved announcing the class winners and handing out the trophies on results day. He's been involved with the Awards numerous times.



All that remains to be said is you won't be surprised to hear we will once again be covering the event and providing regular tweet updates from Melton Mowbray as we once again get involved in the greatest pie show on Earth, so check back on Wednesday 8th March for more pies than you can possibly imagine!

RAS

The Pierateers are on a mission to find the best pie they can and you can see a list of their pies rated so far in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find pies of a similar flavour on the Pies: Categorised page.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!

continue reading "Countdown to the British Pie Awards 2017"

Monday, 6 February 2017

British Pie Week 2017 Pierate Countdown

The countdown to British Pie Week has begun!


British Pie Week 2017 - which runs from Monday 6th March to Sunday 12th March - is now just 4 weeks away and we're busy at Pierate HQ making our final pre-pie-rations for the big event! And exciting news is that this year the British Pie Awards will once again be happening in British Pie Week too!

British Pie Week Pierate
British Pie Week 2017 is from 6th to 12th March!
Some of you may have spotted recently that 23rd January is America's National Pie Day - where Americans spend a whole day celebrating the pastry beauties.

But in Britain this is simply not enough! We can't compress all our pie-excitement into one day! Oh no! We need a whole week to celebrate and enjoy the wonder of pie, which is why we are proud backers and - some would argue - the strongest advocates of British Pie Week! Yes, it's a week dedicated to pie!


Some of you may well have come across British Pie Week before, which has in fact been around since 2007 as the ingenious marketing spin off of pastry company "Jus-Rol" - and they managed to bag the lucrative web domain www.britishpieweek.co.uk to encourage pie makers up and down the land to get involved. However in an obscure turn of events, it appears they have ditched this lucrative web domain this year to re-direct straight to the generic Jus-Rol website and no real mention of pies or pie week! With the @BritPieWeek twitter account having not tweeted since March 2016 it appears Jus-Rol may have had their pie and eaten it, meaning we may be defaulted to be the premier resource for pie advice this British Pie Week!!!

And while others may have used British Pie Week to just promote some pastry, as good as it is, we at Pierate are dedicated to promoting THE PIE!

That's why on Pierate you won't just find an encouragement for you to make a pie this British Pie Week - though we certainly do encourage you do! We don't just suggest a reci-pie or two - though we plan to do that as well! We don't even just encourage you to go out and eat a pie (or two) during British Pie Week. We go above and beyond!

British Pie Week Pierate Pie
The Pierate Logo Pie made for us in British Pie Week 2014!
Find out more about this Nice Pie here.
We aim to be the pie experts you turn to for all your pie rating and eating needs during British Pie Week and beyond! With almost 600 pies rated and reviewed on our unique 7 Cs pie rating system, we commend pies to you, tell you which ones to avoid, and give you the low down on what we think makes the perfect pie!

PIE-LIGHTS OF PAST BRITISH PIE WEEKS

During British Pie Week 2014 we Pierateers consumed a quite incredible 55 pies and you can see the breakdown right here! There were so many highlights that we had to do a whole day-by-day account of it, including a Python pie, a day of just eating apple pie and Pierateer SJL eating 21 pies - one for every meal of British Pie Week.

In fact, Pierateer SJL didn't just eat a pie for every meal but he proved that you can eat pie and lose weight!!! Yes, we can hardly believe it either!

In 2015 we raised the bar even higher by consuming a whopping 71 pies between 2 Pierateers! This included a Pieathon (seeing how long we could just eat pies for) and Rob eating pie for 67% of his diet that week!


Also on 8th March we'll once again be involved in the British Pie Awards, where we have helped judge the pies for many years. So whatever pie (or pies!) you enjoy in British Pie Week, we hope it's a good one that rates well on the 7 Cs of pie rating! If you need any ins-pie-ration, you can of course see the hundreds of pies we've rated on our pie blog via our Pie Rankings or our Pies Categorised!

Why not watch our short video clip to find out how you can get involved in British Pie Week too! For more ins-pie-ration see our #PiePledge article!






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 "British Pie Week 2017 Pierate Countdown"

Monday, 30 January 2017

Football Pie: Tottenham Hotpies

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club/Piglets Pantry - Steak & Ale Pie Review

It is still difficult to find the words to talk about Wycombe's 4-3 loss at White Hart Lane. Really proud that our fan owned team were so close to causing an upset. The atmosphere was great amongst the Wycombe fans who were determined to enjoy the occasion. The Tottenham fans even applauded us at the end which was a nice moment. The match will live long in my memory.... but then so will the pies.


My brief research indicated the pies would be mass produced and probably not all that good. However, entering the concourse of the imaginatively named Upper South Stand, I got a sense that the pies might actually be a bit special. Pies seemed to be the main attraction at the food kiosks with an attractive 'N17 Pie Club' branding which was even printed on the pies themselves. They looked a bit more gourmet than pies at your typical football ground and had a slightly handcrafted appearance. These were certainly not Pukka pies... They also looked a bit bigger than average. My Dad and I both opted for the classic Steak & Ale which was useful as it allowed me to get a second opinion on what turned out to be a very good pie.

What I had missed in my research was the big summer signing at Tottenham, the gourmet pie company known as Piglet's Pantry! I knew these boutique pies from the South Coast started at Brighton and could also be bought at MK Dons because Pierateer Rob had previously reviewed them very highly (putting them 3rd in our Football Pie League). But I hadn't realised that Piglet's Pantry had started to supply a burgeoning number of football grounds including Reading, Swansea, Leicester and most excitingly, Tottenham. This was disguised by the fact that Piglet's Pantry didn't use their logo at all at Tottenham, so I only realised later.


The Piglet's Pantry pie was nearly perfect for a football match. The thick pastry held it together nicely so that it could actually be picked up and eaten by hand. It had been cooked really well compared to a lot of football pies. The pastry was satisfyingly solid. Often football pies can have soft pastry, either because they are not cooked for long enough, or the dreaded convection microwave shortcut is used. If anything the pastry was a little too thick and almost a bit chewy. But the addition of herbs to the pastry crust made it taste great so this didn't really bother me. I could have eaten the pastry by itself which is always a good sign.

The pie was well filled with plenty of meat and a thick gravy. The thick gravy was very much appreciated as it prevented the pie from becoming too much of a mess. The filling was a delight due to a great balance of flavours from both the meat and the ale. The ale gave a pleasant, hoppy and sour taste without being over powering. The flavour wasn't wildly different to that you would expect from a mass produced steak & ale pie but it did enough to stand out.


The meat in the pie could have been a bit softer, it was bordering on overly chewy (although it was nice to have something to get my teeth into). There were also some soggy fat pieces which I didn't enjoy so much. But overall the pie was very satisfying, it felt like I had got more for my money that I normally do with a football pie and I am delighted to see these good quality pies becoming more common at football grounds. What impresses me with Piglet's Pantry is that they are still maintaining high standards despite increasing production, which must be a challenge. They are also keeping things interesting by providing bespoke pies to different football clubs which prevents the boring homogenisation experienced by the growth of companies like Pukka.

However, it is worth noting that I had forked out a #PieHighPrice of £4 for this pie which has affected the score. Yes, it was a premium product but these premium pies can be purchased for less at other grounds and £4 is a lot for one pie. Having said that, I would rather pay £4 for this pie than £3.50 for a dehydrated Pukka pie! Good luck to Piglet's Pantry as they continue to raise standards!

Find out where this pie ranks in our Football Pie League

It was great to be able to go to a game at White Hart Lane before Tottenham move out at the end of this season for it to be rebuilt. One corner of the ground had already been knocked down and work on part of the new stadium is already well underway. I hope Tottenham continue to use Piglet's Pantry in the new White Hart Lane although I am not sure if they will have much control while they temporarily relocate to Wembley.

As pie standards at football grounds continue to improve, it is an exciting time for us. We will continue to tour different grounds and let you know where the best can be found!

Steak & Ale (Tottenham Hotspur/Piglet's Pantry)
5.58/7

SJL
continue reading "Football Pie: Tottenham Hotpies"

Friday, 13 January 2017

Billy's Bakehouse - Aussie Pies from The Netherlands!

Billy's Bakehouse - Pie Reviews

You might think that after 7 years of eating and reviewing pies it has become a bit repetitive. Surely there is only so much that can happen when reviewing various pastry packages? But, like the fillings themselves, the whole experience continues to lead to the unexpected. One of these more random experiences was when an Australian from the Netherlands gave me 21 pies in Birmingham on my way to Northampton. Now let me explain...


Darren comes from a small coastal town in Australia but has been living in the Netherlands for over 20 years. Unfortunately the Dutch are not into pies and Darren missed the pies he used to get in Australia. Like us, he found many of the frozen pies he could import from the UK were not up to scratch. He Dad was a butcher and his Mum a pie lady so with this background he thought he would try and make his own. When other people tried his pies, they quickly caught on. He soon started a business making fresh pies for pubs and doing festivals during the times of year when his building work was quieter. Given that demand was varied, fresh pies would spoil before being used so Darren started making frozen pies with the emphasis on making them quick to cook on demand. The brand Billy's Bakehouse was born, marketed as producing authentic Australian pies. He also decided to make an affordable, everyday pie rather than a premium gourmet pie. The pies are small so that they can be eaten with one hand and to open up the market to younger pie fans and women who typically would want a smaller pie.


It struck me that Darren has really thought about his market, more so than most pie makers I come across. From my experience, it does feel he has identified a bit of a gap in the market. Sales are good for Darren, particularly at music festivals, but there is one problem. The Dutch have no idea about pies! A meat pie in particular is not a concept they are familiar with, so to make headway with Dutch supermarkets he has his work cut out. Hence Darren has an ambitious plan to break into the UK market somehow, be that via a franchise or importing pies. This brought him over to chat to some companies and he also decided to contact the Pierateers to get our opinion!

We met for a coffee at Birmingham New Street station. Darren said he would be easy to spot as he would be the one with the esky. Hmm.... only problem is I didn't know what that was. Turns out it is an Aussie name for a coolbox. I brought my own cool bag to take some pies with me as I was on my way to visit friends in Northampton. I didn't expect that Darren would be giving me the whole coolbox filled with 21 pies! The coolbox was a slightly random thing to turn up at someone's house with, fortunately my friend had a big chest freezer! (This event only added to my reputation as being completely obsessed with pies.)

Darren claimed to have come up with a unique way of making the frozen pastry work. He said that coming at it from a non-culinary background had allowed him to think outside the box. He didn't let me in on the secret but said it was a bit unusual. Hopefully nothing too weird though!

Billys Bakehouse pie

Darren gave me detailed instructions for how to cook the pies. They must be cooked in the foil and on a baking tray. He also specified the relatively high temperature of 200°C. It felt like it was a bit of a science experiment rather than baking a pie. I was glad he gave me 21 pies so I could make sure I got some right! It also allowed me to share some with Pierateer Rob. (I meant to give him meat pies and chicken pies but turns out they were all meat, oops.) Whilst I tried to follow the instructions, perhaps there was some variability to the oven because some cooked better than others. Some had perhaps been slightly defrosted in their travels which meant they weren't quite at their best.

When they did cook right though, the pastry was very good, especially given that it was frozen. It was slightly flaky but with a bit of crunch. There was a nice buttery taste to the pastry. As Pierateer Rob observed, it was nice that the sides and base cooked well too, there were no soggy bottoms here! It is actually quite unusual to achieve this for a frozen pie. This meant the pies held together well making them ideal to eat by hand. I can see they would work well as a festival pie.

The pies retail for €2.79 for a box of 2 in supermarkets, putting them just above £1 each at post-referendum rates. This is competitive with other companies such as Birdseye which dominate the frozen brands in this country. At festivals the offers vary but they tend to be around €3.20 each. This is cheap compared to pies at event we go to (like the football where prices tend to be #PieHighPrices).

But onto the fillings! I was given four different flavours, meat, spicy meat, chicken and veggie.

Meat

5.35/7
SJL/RAS

The meat was minced beef which is the traditional Aussie style. Darren said this is the pie he would always try first to see if a pie maker is worth their crust. Whilst we do tend to prefer bigger meat chunks on the Pierate Ship this has allowed Darren to make these pies both good quality and affordable. Whilst it was minced meat, it was still in relatively big pieces. This indicated the quality of the meat was better than most minced meat pies where the meat is ground so fine there is nothing at all to chew. The flavour was fairly simple, meaty with little seasoning, but not too much. The seasoning was different (in a good way) to the average meat pie in the UK, but my palette is not refined enough to determine what the differences were.

Spicy Meat

5.35/7
SJL

The same type of meat as the standard meat pie but this one packed more of a punch. To me, it tasted like someone had injected a meat pie with chip shop curry sauce and then added a bit more pepper and chili to make sure it was hot enough. Again, it didn't do anything fancy, it was simple but effective. I couldn't choose between this and the meat pie as my favourite, it depends on how you feel on the day.

Chicken & Mushroom

4.85
SJL

The flavour of this pie was so much nicer than your average chicken and mushroom pie in this price range. It was a world away from the horrible grey gloop that you often find. There was plenty of leek which added of flavour with a good amount of salt. The mushroom added nicely to the texture and variety of the pie without over powering the flavours. It seemed like a different variety of mushroom to what we typically eat in the UK. The chicken was in quiet small pieces but just about big enough to get your teeth into. Unfortunately, in the pies I had the sauce was a bit too thin for me which, was surprising when the others had quite a thick sauce. Hence, it lost marks against Consistency. The leek was also a little Chewy which detracted from the texture. A shame when it did some aspects very well.

Potato & Sweet Potato

4.50
SJL

Given the choice of filling, it is not too surprising that this was quite a soft pie. It had a consistency like a cheese & onion pie or a butter pie. There was again, a welcome flavour from the leek, so this pie avoided being bland. There was, of course, not much to chew, this type of pie slips down too easily to be something I would choose regularly, but it was tasty enough to eat again. Perhaps as a 'side' to one of the meat pies, it would be a bit like pie and mash then!


So to summarise, the Aussie pies from the Netherlands turned out to be pretty good! The Meat and Spicy Meat both receive Pierate Recommended status. Given the business trip to UK, perhaps we will one day see Billy's Bakehouse pies on these shores, there is certainly an appetite for this kind of pie in the UK, but probably more com-pie-tition in the market place too. It strikes me that these would be
perfect pies to eat at football matches. They cook quickly, they are easy to hold in your hand and for the most part the hold together very well. For some reason in England, most football pies tend to be stodgy and gloopy affairs that make a mess everywhere. Here's hoping that a club signs this talented foreigner up! We wish Darren and Billy's Bakehouse good luck in the future.

SJL
continue reading "Billy's Bakehouse - Aussie Pies from The Netherlands!"

Saturday, 31 December 2016

New York Pie Review: Apple Pie from Pies n Thighs

Start spreading the news… I’m reviewing New York pies today…

Following on from the apple and blueberry pie reviews of the last few days from my e-pie-c adventure to the land of the free and home of the sweet pie, the U-S-of-A, here’s the third and final part of my whistle-stop tour of the American pies I ate. The final pie is the only proper apple pie I had – following the crumb topping of the Billy’s Bakery Pie – and was the best of the lot!


Apple Pie from Pies n Thighs
$4.50 per slice
166 S. 4th Street, Brooklyn, New York City


Pies n Thighs Apple Pie Review
Pies n Thighs Apple Pie Review
The other side of the Williamsburg Bridge from downtown Manhattan, I first spotted Brookyln’s “Pies n Thighs” store on a stroll round the area on the first night we were in New York but we visited slightly later in my trip. Specialising in chicken and pies, it’s a pretty apt name really! They have a decent range of pies available, including a fully encased apple pie for $4.50 a slice (£3.65 in English money). With a quaint little store in a funky part of town, it is a bit out of the way compared to downtown Manhattan but well worth the trip over to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The golden pastry was lovely and buttery, crisp and held together really well. The apple too was the right blend of crunch and mushy sweet filling. Certainly the best pastry I had over in America and better than many sweet pastries I’ve had on these shores, the cost of the pie at $4.50 is also a bit more reasonable for a slice of pie, with the option of adding ice cream for a few dollars more.

The store was quirky and atmosphere was good, with a good selection of pies and I’d certainly recommend visiting it. Pierate Highly Recommended!

Apple Pie from Pies n Thighs
Score: 6.04/7
[Colour 6.5/7; Consistency 6/7; Cheapness 5/7; Chewiness 5.75/7; Condition 6.25/7; Content 6.5/7; Capacity 6.25/7]
RAS




Pies n Thighs Pie Menu
Pies n Thighs Pie Menu


Lower Manhattan - Surely there's some pie in there somewhere?!

Summer and Fall of 2016 was American Pie Season at Pierate! Just like London buses you wait a long time for a Pierateer to head stateside and then we go over twice within a couple of months! In August work took Pierateer Sam over the Pond and you can take a look at our Chicago Pie Tour to see where Sam went.



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 "New York Pie Review: Apple Pie from Pies n Thighs"

Friday, 30 December 2016

New York Pie Review: Wild Blueberry Pie from Petee’s Pie Company

Start spreading the news… I’m reviewing New York pies today…

Following on from yesterday’s apple pie review from my e-pie-c adventure to the land of the free and home of the sweet pie, the U-S-of-A, here’s part two of my whistle-stop tour of the American pies I ate. Sure I was visiting The Big Apple, but I needed some variety in my pie-t (pie diet) so today’s American pie is…


Wild Blueberry Pie from Petee’s Pie Company
$5.50 per slice
61 Delancey Street, Manhattan, New York City



Petee's Wild Blueberry Pie Review
Petee's Wild Blueberry Pie Review
After diving off the subway and speedily walking along the busy major road that is Delancey Street, I was glad to pull out of the rain and into their quaint little pie shop and see the staff hard at work making delicious looking pies! It’s not the biggest shop – with a few high stools to sit at if required but most customers picking up a pie/slice and leaving – but I appreciated most of the space was needed for pie production. As said in my article yesterday, the Americans have their own interpretation of pie, which often lacks pastry and full encasement. However there were a few options meeting my criteria in Petee’s Pie Shop and I decided to go for something different and choose a wild blueberry pie.

The pie was $5.50 (that’s £4.50 in English money) and again you got a decent slice for your dollar. It seemed pretty much the going rate for a slice of pie from a pie shop round these parts – though I did manage to get a slice for $4.50 at a shop in Brooklyn (more about that later in the week!) Again the price wasn’t terrible for a slice of pie considering the central New York location and it equating to a posh slice of cake in a London deli, but compared to a lot of pies it’s still quite pricey and unlike yesterday’s review they didn’t really have a proper seating area to charge for either.

Petee's Wild Blueberry Pie Review
Instead Petee’s Pie Company focused on the pie. In fact, it was pretty much pie, pie or pie here! Both regular and gluten free, they bake pies for your pleasure! Sure, if you study the menu you will find a few cheesecakes and other goods, along with a selection of beverages, but this is first and foremost a pie shop, not a general bakery. So for this, I commend Petee’s Pie Shop to you and their crazy late opening hours (Midnight or 1am every night of the week)!

In fact you don’t get a recommendation like “The absolute best pie in New York” (via NYMag – New York Magazine) without clearly selling great pies. But perhaps that was on the American definition and appetite for pie that got those remarks, as while the wild blueberry pie was very nice, it didn’t blow me away like the NYMag recommendation had hinted at.

Sure, the fruit was fresh and I thought the pastry held together quite well, but the pastry was a bit dry in places and quite crumbly. While this by no means made it a poor pie – on the contrary it still rates quite highly! - based on pastry alone, this one was third place out of the three pies I had in New York. Still, it's one of the top scoring blueberry pies I've had and I’d like to go back some day and try a few more of their pies, as it was still very nice and I’d enjoy trying their range, but with such a high calibre available it just misses out on a Pierate Recommended score.

Wild Blueberry Pie from Petee’s Pie Company
Score: 4.89/7
[Colour 5.5/7; Consistency 5.5/7; Cheapness 2/7; Chewiness 5/7; Condition 5/7; Content 5.5/7; Capacity 5.75/7]
RAS



Lower Manhattan - Surely there's some pie in there somewhere?!

Summer and Fall of 2016 was American Pie Season at Pierate! Just like London buses you wait a long time for a Pierateer to head stateside and then we go over twice within a couple of months! In August work took Pierateer Sam over the Pond and you can take a look at our Chicago Pie Tour to see where Sam went.



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 "New York Pie Review: Wild Blueberry Pie from Petee’s Pie Company"

Thursday, 29 December 2016

New York Pie Review: Apple Pie from Billy’s Bakery

Start spreading the news… I’m reviewing New York pies today…

Admittedly I haven’t made much of a song and dance of it for a while – it has been a good few months since my e-pie-c adventure to the land of the free and home of the sweet pie, the U-S-of-A! But with holiday season comes an op-pie-tunity to catch up on a few reviews I should have written up from my notes a long while ago! So in the next few days, I’ll give you a whistle-stop tour of the American pies I ate. And being The Big Apple, it would be rude not to start with an apple pie…


Apple Crumb Pie from Billy’s Bakery
$5.50 per slice
Three outlets across Manhattan, New York City
(I visited 9th Avenue as it stays open late)


Billy's Bakery Apple Pie Review
Billy's Bakery Apple Pie Review
It was late at night when we picked up this slice of pie – post checking out some comedy at the aptly named “New York Comedy Club”. With a little sweet hole to fill, I searched the pie selection for pastry encased pies on their counter. Unfortunately there was only the one option when it came to fully encased pastry – and even that was slightly debatable due to the “crumb” topping. But hey, we’re in America! They drive on the right, they call rubbish “trash” and the American pie-deal is certainly something far different to us Brits! (Have you seen a pumpkin “pie”?!)

Still, I wasn’t going to turn down a good looking pastry pie – and one is better than none!!!

The Apple Crumb Pie was $5.50 (that’s £4.50 in English money) and a decent slice for that. It seemed pretty much the going rate for a slice of pie from a pie shop round these parts – though I did manage to get a slice for $4.50 at a shop in Brooklyn (more about that later in the week!) Not too bad for a slice of pie, considering the central New York location and it equating to a posh slice of cake in a London deli, but compared to a lot of pies it’s still quite pricey!

Still, it’s hard to argue when you hear an opening line on their website like this: “It all began in 2003 with two friends from business school who shared a sweet tooth and a dream of baking.” Tucking into their pie, I can see why they got involved in a business that sells and makes quality pies! The fresh ingredients and rich buttery taste make for a wonderful pie.

Billy's Bakery Apple Pie Review
The Apple Crumb Pie was amongst a range of more typical American dessert pies.

The chunky, crisp apple pies are held together by a tasty, buttery bottom crust and then a crumbly, oaty topping is layered on top. It reminds me of a number of “crumble pies” I’ve had before in the UK, which combine a pastry base with a crumble like lid. Sure, if I’m being strict it’s not quite a proper pie by our high standards, as it is more a layer than a lid, but it was at least fully encased. It was also darn tasty!

While the topping did slightly crumble off in transit back to our hotel (as it was almost closing time in the shop by the time we’d got there) it was captured in the lovely pie box I was given to transport it in. And the crisp pastry base held together perfectly and gave a delicious crunch to the pie. All in all, the condition was decent apart from the crumbling, while the colour was quite golden and the capacity was strong, with plenty of apple chunks. A bit chewy at times but a good slice of pie!

Co-founders Marc and Wayne have done a great job in providing that 1940s “grandma’s kitchen” feel to the store and it appears New Yorkers have fallen in love with their wares too, with three stores across Manhattan. With a Pierate Recommended pie, I can see why. Great work Team Billy!

Apple Crumb Pie from Billy’s Bakery
Score: 5.18/7
[Colour 6/7; Consistency 5.75/7; Cheapness 2.5/7; Chewiness 5/7; Condition 5/7; Content 6/7; Capacity 6/7]
RAS



Lower Manhattan - Surely there's some pie in there somewhere?!

Summer and Fall of 2016 was American Pie Season at Pierate! Just like London buses you wait a long time for a Pierateer to head stateside and then we go over twice within a couple of months! In August work took Pierateer Sam over the Pond and you can take a look at our Chicago Pie Tour to see where Sam went.



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 "New York Pie Review: Apple Pie from Billy’s Bakery"

Friday, 23 December 2016

Football Pie: Petering Out at Newport County

Newport County Football Club/Peter's Pie Reviews

Welsh pie maker Peter's are a bit like an old friend of Pierate. Common at fish and chip shops and also served at our home town football club we have eaten quite a few in our time. We also reviewed quite a few of their pies although it is notable we haven't reviewed any for a while. It is also notable that I haven't see many at football grounds recently, which is apparent by the lack of Peter's pies in our PIEremiership Football Pie League.

A trip to Peter's heartland in Wales help rectify this as Pierateers Rob and Sam headed over to the Newport County vs. Wycombe Wanderers match. Upon entering the away end of Rodney Parade we were a bit worried to see that the catering options were dominated by burger and chips. However, when we asked they went and fetched some hot pies from another outlet. Phew!


Newport Football Pie Review
Newport Football Pie Review
Rob went for a Chicken Pie and Sam opted for the Steak at the steep price of £3.50 which had me frustrated again at the #PieHighPrices. This price was surprising given that Newport have told the BBC Price of football survey that their pies cost £2.60. We wondered if away fans were being fleeced with a higher price than home fans (as we found at Cambridge).


Newport Football Pie Review Steak
Peter's Steak Pie at Newport County
Whilst it was nice to reunited with Peter's pies again, after having reviewed nearly 600 pies we have tried a lot of very good pies. It is perhaps the case now that we have higher expectations than when we started on this pastry journey. Hence I did find my pie a bit disappointing. To be fair, this may not have been the fault of Peter's. It wasn't cooked very well. Often the case with football pies cooked in a rush, it had soft and stodgy pastry which didn't hold together well at all, I am not sure why so many football ground sell pies like this. My Steak pie fell apart completely although Pierateer Rob seemed to get on a little better with his.


Find out where this pie ranks in our Football Pie League


Peter's Chicken Pie Review
Peter's Chicken Pie
The filling for my steak pie wasn't bad. It had quite a lot of meaty chunks in a fairly standard, but tasty, onion flavoured gravy. The meat wasn't too chewy but it wasn't as soft as I remembered from Peter's pies. It also wasn't as flavoursome. Overall, if it wasn't for having no other pie option in the ground, I wouldn't be choosing to get this pie again.

The chicken pie eaten by Pierateer Rob had similar flaws to it. Again the pastry was far from ideal, collapsing under the soft and stodgy pastry. The chicken filling was quite nice, with the creamy sauce blending well with the chicken chunks. However it took a number of bites to even reach the chicken filling, with a rather large air gap and not overly strong capacity. And while the pie lid was quite crisp and tasty, the rest of the pastry was nothing to write home about and disintegrated far too easily. For a football pie, the filling flavour was reasonable (which doesn't say much for some of the lower rated pies in our PIEremiership table!) but he wouldn't choose to eat it again.

Peter's Steak Pie
3.75
[Colour 4/7; Consistency 3/7; Cheapness 3/7; Chewiness 3/7; Condition 4/7; Content 4/7; Capacity 3.75/7]
SJL


Peter's Chicken Pie
Score: 3.79/7
[Colour 4/7; Consistency 4/7; Cheapness 3/7; Chewiness 4.5/7; Condition 3/7; Content 4.5/7; Capacity 3.5/7]
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.

Make sure you and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Football Pie: Petering Out at Newport County"