Friday 31 October 2014

Should you be going to get a Bowen?

Bowen Butter, Steak and Meat and Potato pie reviews

Attending the book launch of Martin Tarbuck’s book “Life of Pies” it was of course inevitable that there had to be free pies available. These were provided by “Bowen – Award winning pies and puddings”, based in nearby Adlington. Of course the only thing I was interested in was the pies (despite their being a few cheese and onion slices for the veggies out there) and I was not to be disappointed! Around 120 pies were set out on the table – primarily their Butter Pies, Meat and Potato Pies and Steak Pies.

Did you know? The Bowen Meat and Potato Pie was selected as the pie of choice for the World Pie Eating Championships in Wigan!

See the Bowen website for more details!

Bowen Pie Review
Bowen Pies on show!
The first pie I had was my first ever butter pie. While quite common in the North, this vegetarian friendly pie (as long as butter, not lard, has been used in production) could perhaps be more aptly be named a potato pie, for that is its main content. The potato inside was cooked, providing small lumps of potato that have been significantly cooked long enough to melt in the mouth but not be quite the consistency of mash potato. The butter inside the pie makes the potato smoother and more appealing but, while a nice enough pie, the content is not particularly exciting or memorable.

The pastry did compliment the filling, even if there was perhaps a bit too big a difference between the softness of the potato filling and the crispness of the pastry casing for my pallet. However I can’t say I’d go out of my way to try another butter pie – with no offence to Bowen Pies or any other butter pie producers.

I can understand why Butter pies exist. Not everyone can afford the expense of a meat filled pie or necessarily even wants meat in their pie, however being sold at £1.30 compared to just £1.60-£1.80 for the producer’s steak pies, I just can’t really think of any good reason why I’d choose a butter pie out of the two.

Bowen Butter Pie Review
Bowen Butter Pie Review

Bowen Steak Pie Review
Bowen Steak Pie Review
Again with the steak pie, the pastry was pretty good – crisp without being dry, apart from a little round the crimped edges – and the pie was filled with good quality meat. The steak was tender and the gravy was lovely and flavoursome. It was a little too runny, which did make this pie a little challenging to eat without getting gravy down you, but overall the filling was really enjoyable. At £1.60-£1.80 (depending on the retailer) this is a bargain!

It was great to hear from Sales Director Paul Bowen how the company had turned to focusing on their pies following increasing pie sales in the butchers and, while sadly the butchers has struggled to compete against the large supermarkets in the area, it’s certainly been for the benefit of their pie production. The quality of the steak in those pies was a real plus point and why it rated so highly!

Bowen Meat and Potato Pie Review
Bowen Meat and Potato Pie Review
The final pie of the night was a meat and potato pie – famous in the north and containing minced beef and potato. The potato was similar to the butter pie mentioned earlier – not quite a mash consistency but well-cooked and not at all chewy. There wasn’t much gravy in this one, which did leave it lacking a little in moisture in my mind, but the filling was still very nice. It was hard to live up to such a strong steak pie but it did rate well and I’d certainly enjoy having another if I was offered one!

Overall, this was a great shout by Martin at his “Life of Pies” book launch. A very tasty and affordable pie selection from Bowens, which rated highly with Martin too in his book. I can certainly see why they decided to focus on pies from the ones I got to rate! A highly recommended and recommended pie, plus a nice tasting butter pie too. Let’s hope I’m going to get another Bowen soon!

Bowen Butter Pie
Score: 4.57/7
[Colour 5, Capacity 5, Consistency 4.5, Condition 5, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 4, Content 3.5, Total: 4.57/7]

Bowen Steak Pie
Score: 6.14/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.5, Consistency 5.75, Condition 6, Chewiness 6, Cheapness 6.75, Content 6, Total: 6.14/7]

Bowen Meat and Potato Pie
Score: 5.21/7
[Colour 5.5, Capacity 5, Consistency 4.5, Condition 5, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6, Total: 5.21/7]


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