Saturday 28 February 2015

Pork Pie Off 2015 - and a Waitrose pork pie review

Last British Pie Week, I attended the Pork Pie Off at the Princess Victoria pub, where judges Tom Parker Bowles (Mail on Sunday), Christine Hayes (editor of Olive Magazine), and Joe Warwick (Metro) - along with the great British public - ate and rated 10 different pork pies. It was a wonderful event - a lot of fun, a lot of great pies, and all for a great cause (and also helped me complete my challenge to eat nothing but pork pies for an entire day. Read more about it here)

While we unfortunately can't make it along to the event again this year, we urge you all to head over to the Princess Victoria on March 2nd 2015 for some high quality pork pies and to raise money for Action Against Hunger! Selfridges' restaurants director Hannah Bass, Andy Bates (of Food Network and Eat My Pies fame) and chefs Rowley Leigh and Henry Harris and food writer Joe Warwick (from the Metro) will be in attendance - and there will be some amazing pies!

Waitrose Moreish Ploughman's Pork Pie Review

Speaking of pork pies, I tried out these Waitrose 'moreish Ploughman's pork pies'. These treats consisted of hot water crust pastry encasing a seasoned uncured British pork, cheese and pickle filling.

waitrose pork pie

waitrose pork pie

The pies are a nice golden brown colour - however a few imperfections on the lid will lower the score for condition. In terms of capacity, the pastry is a little too thick and therefore the high crust:filling ratio reduces the capacity of this pie. Weirdly, the pie also seems to lack any jelly. For content, the meat looks and tastes of good quality. The cheesy pickle filling is actually very tasty, and very convenient if you don't have any of your own pickle and cheese nearby (fortunately I did have my own though). These pies were reasonably expensive - at about 70p per pie, these pies are too small to offer great value for money. The 'Ploughman's' is a nice twist on the regular pork pie filling.

Waitrose Moreish Ploughman's Pork Pie
Overall score: 5.50 / 7
continue reading "Pork Pie Off 2015 - and a Waitrose pork pie review"

Friday 27 February 2015

British Pie Week 2015 - Pierate #PiePledges

You may have seen that we’re once again encouraging pie fans and pie companies to make promises regarding pies for British Pie Week (from 2nd to 8th March 2015). This is in the form of making a #PiePledge or two, possibly committing to eat more pies or try a new pie flavour or do special pie-motions to celebrate pie!

British Pie Week Pie Pledge
But it would certainly be hypocritical of us to ask you to make a #PiePledge without making a few ourselves, so over the coming days we will be revealing the various #PiePledge ideas the Pierateers will be committing to!

It has to be said that it's going to be hard to beat some of the #PiePledge ideas we had last year, but we'll give it a try! Of course, there's no beating the pie-thon (python pie) Pierateer Tim made in terms of a piefect pie pun, and it was an epic feat for Pierateer Sam to make a video of all 21 consecutive pie meals he ate in British Pie Week 2014 whilst losing weight, but we have a few pie-deas to ensure British Pie Week 2015 is pastry crazy!

Possibly the most important thing we found out last British Pie Week: Pies don't make you fat!

We encourage you to read about and watch the videos of how Pierateer Sam ate 21 consecutive pie meals during British Pie Week 2014 and LOST weight! Seriously!

So what of 2015? Here are our Pierateer #PiePledge commitments:

The headline grabbers are these:

Pierateer Rob will be doing a 50-50 Pie Challenge, in which he aims for pie to be at least 50% of his diet during British Pie Week 2015! While still unsure quite how he's going to consume that much pastry in a week, he's up for the challenge and will record his pies and non-pies in our daily posts! This is not going to be healthy!!!

Pierateers Rob and Sam both aim to compete in a Pieathon - where they will both aim to see how many hours (and hopefully days!) they can survive on just eating pie until the craving for a non-pie option becomes too strong! Starting at Midnight on Monday 2nd, they will only eat pie until one of them cracks under the pie-ressure! You can see timers of how long we lasted in our Pieathon post.

We're pleased to announce that we will be supplied with pies for some of these challenges by Nice Pie, Pieminister and Toppings Pies. We look forward to reviewing these and taking us past 500 pie reviews in our Pie Rankings table very soon!

In addition, the Pierateeers commit to the following:

The #PiePledge by Pierateer TJP will be attempted outside of Britain! Will he be able to take the spirit of British Pie Week abroad as he travels to Greece?

The Ship's Cook has made a #PiePledge to "push the boat out" (so to speak) by attempting a new reci-pie in British Pie Week. We'll find out what in British Pie Week!

The Pierateers #PiePledge to do a day-by-day account of every pie they eat in British Pie Week! Check back daily on to see what crazy pie antics we’ve been up to during the week!

Pierateer Rob has gone the extra mile by committed to take 3 days off work to help aid this regular pie review posting!

Plus as he's eating so many pies anyway, Pierateer Rob will #PiePledge to eat at least one pie all seven days of British Pie Week! Check back daily on to see what pies we've consumed each day!

Don't forget though that you can get involved too! Check out our #PiePledge video above or check out our #PiePledge article. And follow the #PiePledge hashtag on Twitter for how we're doing!

Into the history books…

The #PiePledge was introduced by the Pierateers for British Pie Week 2013 and has since seen the Pierateers completing the following promises:

- Pierateers RAS and SJL commited to eating a pie every day of British Pie Week 2013 and achieved this! Pierateer TJP ate a pie every working day of the week. See all the pies we are in our day-by-day Pie-ary of British Pie Week 2013

- In British Pie Week 2014 they went much, much further with so many Pie Pledges it needs its own Pierateers #PiePledge 2014 article!
continue reading "British Pie Week 2015 - Pierate #PiePledges"

Friday 20 February 2015

British Pie Week - #PiePledge 2015

I’m sure you won’t need any reminding that it is British Pie Week from 2nd to 8th March this year – in fact you can see our countdown clock telling you exactly how long you have to wait in our Countdown to British Pie Week article – but you may be thinking “What can I do for British Pie Week?!”

After all, you may have read our British Pie Week article and know that in British Pie Week 2013 we ate 50 pies between the three of us and in British Pie Week 2014 we went even further and ate 55 pies - including making and trying a Python pie! Not everyone is quite that pie-crazy!!!

But what can YOU do for British Pie Week? Well we’d love you to get involved in whatever way you can and here’s how:

Introducing the #PiePledge

British Pie Week Pie Pledge

In British Pie Week 2013 we introduced the #PiePledge as a way for pie eaters or pie makers to make pledges either before or during British Pie Week about what they are going to commit to do regarding pie. Then in 2014 we got others involved in making a #PiePledge too! And with British Pie Week coming up soon, what better thing than make your #PiePledge ready for British Pie Week?

Find out what the Pierateers commit to do during British Pie Week by reading the Pierateers Pie Pledge article and following the #PiePledge hashtag on Twitter this year!

Here’s some examples for individuals:

- #PiePledge to eat a pie every day of British Pie Week (not for the feint hearted but the Pierateers pledge to do this as standard)
- #PiePledge to “shop local” and buy a pie from an independent local supplier/butchers rather than the Supermarkets for British Pie Week
- #PiePledge to complete Pie-thagoras Theorem on one day of British Pie Week – where you eat pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner! (See our article on Pie-thagoras Theorem for more details!)
- #PiePledge to make a homemade pie – completely from scratch – this British Pie Week
- #PiePledge to eat a flavour of pie you’ve never tried before – like Zebra, Kangaroo or Squirrel

And here’s some examples for pie companies:

- #PiePledge to release a new pie flavour for British Pie Week
- #PiePledge to increase the number of pie-motions in British Pie Week to boost pie sales even further!
- #PiePledge to tweet about pies even more than usual in British Pie Week (though that's surely a given!)

We hope we’ve provided some ins-pie-ration for your #PiePledge. You can tweet your #PiePledge to @pierateers or leave a comment below - but more than anything, enjoy your pies in British Pie Week!

We'll be checking twitter for some of your #PiePledge suggestions and picking some top suggestions to add to this article in the coming few weeks!

The Aldwark Arms are planning a new special pie on their menu every day of British Pie Week:

The Dorset Pie Company have created a new pie for British Pie Week:

And so have Chunk of Devon!

The Lansdowne have a special pie menu for 5th March:

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 - #PiePledge 2015"

Tuesday 17 February 2015

All Wright Chicken Balti Pies at Cambridge

Cambridge United/Wrights - Chicken Balti Football Pie Review

It is always good to see a club return to the football league, particularly if it gives a fresh option for a football pie review to add to our Football Pie League (AKA Pieremiership). Pierateer RAS and myself went to see Cambridge United take on Wycombe Wanderers at the Abbey Stadium. It was an old stadium with a bit of character, but not a lot, especially in the slightly newer away end that we were in. Still, it was much more interesting than a lot of the boring modern stadiums I have been too.

Cambridge United Football Pie

The Pierateers straight away made a bee line for the food counter and quickly realised that the pie choices were disappointingly limited; there was only one type available. You might think that if only one pie was available it would naturally be Steak & Kidney or Beef & Onion, but no! Cambridge had only a Chicken Balti pie! Okay, it is quite a classic in a football sense but this just seemed odd to us. I could see Pierateer RAS struggling to come to terms with this situation. Why? Well he doesn't actually like Chicken Balti so no football pie for him. Shame, but there was no reason for me to not get tucked in! The only problem was they wanted me to part with £3.50 for it. I was so shocked I almost ordered a pasty by mistake, I think it is the most expensive football pie I have ever had!

The lady serving told me it was a Pukka Pie, but having seen a fair few Pukka's in our time, including the Chicken Balti, we were very sceptical. Therefore we decided to investigate after the game. Despite being away fans we just started to wander around the stadium. I was shocked and quite angry to see that the pies were selling for £3 in the home end. Talk about fleecing the away supporters! We found a girl who had been working in a food kiosk. She didn't know who the pies were made by, neither did the next couple of people, but eventually the trail led us to Paul, who was the Catering & Functions Manager at Abbey Stadium. He was most helpful, giving us the facts about their pies. When we questioned him about the reason that only Chicken Balti pies were available he said that is the only flavour the fans want! Turns out the home fans prefer steak slices to steak pies. I think this is the first time I have ever thought to myself 'blooming Southerners', despite being a Southerner myself!

Football Pie Review

Have you seen our views on the perfect football pie? We were filmed by BBC Sport and gave our views in our article "The Pies of Football" - also featuring the video on the BBC Sport website!

So who are Wrights? Having looked them up it seems they are pretty big players in the pie world of Stoke-on-Trent, with loads of bakeries there. It was nice to find a different company which we hadn't tried before. I seem to remember that Tom Dickinson hated them in 92 Pies but I thought they were pretty good. The key was that the pie was cooked properly, despite the ropey oven that Paul claimed Cambridge have. It is often the case that a good football pie turns bad by being dried to a crisp.

For us it was also good to see another win for promotion hopefuls Wycombe. However, their success this season means that they have sold a couple of players and this perhaps showed with a less than vintage performance. But a win is a win and a decent pie with a win... well that's win win.

Wrights Chicken Balti Football Pie

Condition – 3.8 out of 7 – Pie explosion! The filling had lifted the lid. This did indicate it was well filled but it wasn't so pretty. The cumin seeds on top indicated curry and were a nice touch.

Colour – 4.5 out of 7 – Brown rather than golden but not burnt which is the main thing.

Cheapness – 3.2 out of 7 – The prices were just written on a chalk board, perhaps someone made a mistake with the £3.50 price for away fans. However, I can only score on what I was charged and it needs to be a gourmet pie for that price.

Capacity – 5.5 out of 7 – Quite a large capacity because this was a tall pie. A small airgap considering the size, overall a well filled pie although quite a bit of it was sauce. It is also worth noting it was fairly big, around 250g I would say.

Chewiness – 4.7 out of 7 – The pastry lid was nice and crumbly but the base was a bit soggy. The filling slipped down well, it wasn't at all chewy.

Content – 4.1 out of 7 – The content was okay, the meat was decent enough but the flavour was a bit bland for me. It tasted really similar to the Phat Pasty Chicken Balti. I prefer the spicy filling of the Pukka version.

Consistency – 5.0 out of 7 – This pie worked well as a football pie, it held together nicely and the sauce was thick. The filling went well with the pastry.

Chicken Balti (Cambridge United FC/Wrights)


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 "All Wright Chicken Balti Pies at Cambridge"

Monday 16 February 2015

Life of Pies - Book Review

Review of Life of Pies by Martin Tarbuck

After releasing his book 'Life of Pies' it was inevitable that Martin Tarbuck would become a bit of a legend amongst the pie community. He has dedicated a large amount of his free time to travelling around Britain to review pies in the hope of finding where the best are available. The book covers a period of two years of pie eating and he estimates he ate over 400.

The book reviews 314 of the most interesting ones. Martin has used a narrative to pull all 314 pie reviews together into a travelogue type affair. He did this after advice from his agent (he had originally planned a 'Good Pies Guide' reference type book). I would say this idea does work, as you don't have to read it all, you can just delve into it as you wish because he has an index of pies in each region. However, I thought that given our shared passion for pies that I really should read the whole book cover to cover. It is available to buy now on Amazon.

Life of Pies Review
Life of Pies - as close as it comes to literature pie-fection!

I can straight away say that this is an awesome reference and I thoroughly recommend it for anyone who is passionate about pies. I am sure I will use it in my future pie reviewing. Likewise I am pleased to see Martin used our recommendation of Paul's Pies (see page 276 of the book)!

It is remarkable how similar Martin is to us, in that he travels around reviewing pies. Like us he does things in a fairly light-hearted way whilst still taking the pie quest pretty seriously. Unlike us, Martin is from Wigan and it is clear this has influenced his idea of the ultimate pie, which is different to our idea of the ultimate pie. What seems to float his boat is a Meat and Potato pie which can be brought hot straight from the shop. This has influenced his scoring criteria which scores how nice the 'Place' is that the pie was brought from. He does, like us, also stray into mass produced pies from the supermarket and inevitably it is difficult to compare this to the craft version in a bakery. But what is quite amazing is Martin has done hundreds of pie reviews despite doing it all on his own!

It reminded me of 92 pies by Tom Dickinson which we also reviewed. It is difficult to string together repetitive events into one narrative and also to keep the events interesting. We know only too well it is difficult to not make a pie review boring after having written so many! From this perspective he does incredibly well and comes across as affable and self-depreciating. His sense of humour is always there which verges on bizarre. Sometimes I had no idea what he was on about but this was more than balanced out by the times where he genuinely made me laugh out loud. Comments like 'the gravy was so rich it has its own off-shore bank account' were brilliant.

My further observations about this book are as follows;

  1. Be prepared for a relaxed attitude to what gets a review, he admits that they aren't pies, but pasties score pretty well. He even says that he is 'starting to miss pasties' at one point after eating only pies for a while (how could he...). Other local pastry delicacies also feature.
  2. I was pleased to learn all sorts of new pie terminology, such as growler, plate pie and stand pie.
  3. Apparently pork pies can be eaten hot, particularly in Yorkshire (I am now trying to get to grips with this idea, with little success).
  4. You will come to realise that Martin really hates to pay for parking (but also hates retail parks).
  5. The book makes it seem that you can't get a good hot pie in a bakery down South. Whilst I don't think this is completely true I did feel a bit of jealously as to the amount of great pie bakeries and butchers that Martin could find on his door step! There is a certainly a cultural difference in this regard.
  6. I really need to make more trips up North, especially to Barrow-in-Furness.
  7. I often ended up really wanting to eat a pie whilst reading this book!

Martin Tarbuck Pie Book Review
Martin Tarbuck - Pie Legend
You may remember that Pierateer RAS went to the book launch event and met the great man himself. Here are his thoughts on the book:

Even after the hundreds of pie reviews we've done over the past five years, it's quite incredible to see such a range of pies (and yes, a few other pastry products that sneaked in there!) being reviewed by one guy! It's a great credit to Martin that he has spent so much time, effort and money on producing a book that we would be proud of! The range of pies is quite amazing and, while some of the anecdotes and stories in the travel-log style do slightly go off on a tangent, the pies really do hold this book together.

The list of recommendations will make any true pie fan's life a whole lot easier, and I for one will enjoy turning back to this book as a pie reference again and again. It's true what Pierateer SJL says that the style of the book is quite a unique but very entertaining look at the life of a pie eating road tripper - something perhaps only we Pierateers can really truly relate to on this scale - and there does appear to be a bit of a northern, Meat and Potato pie bias to the book, however Martin's effort put into this book will reward those who purchase it time and time again over the years. Martin - you're a pie rating legend!

So how did Pierateer SJL rate the book?

Condition - 6.0 out of 7 - The cover has a picture of the UK made of pies, shear genius.
Colour - 5.0 out of 7 - The book has two sections of colour pictures to supplement the black and white pictures included throughout. It is enough to make you drool!
Cheapness - 5.8 out of 7 -  Available for just £9.99 on Amazon, if you think of all the money you may waste on mediocre pies without the book then it starts to seem like a steal...
Capacity - 5.5 out of 7 - 314 pie reviews packed into one book.
Chewiness - 5.5 out of 7 - Plenty of pie statistics to chew on.
Content - 5.5 out of 7 - Interesting throughout, perhaps felt a bit long at times but then there were 314 pies to cover.
Consistency - 6.0 out of 7 - A consistent writing style and it worked well, certainly deserving of 'Pierate Recommended' status! Did I mention that it is for sale on Amazon???

Life of Pies (Martin Tarbuck)


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 "Life of Pies - Book Review"

Friday 13 February 2015

Nice Pie Reviews - Steak and Stilton and Cockrel

Nice Pie Steak and Stilton and Cockrel Pie Reviews

Pierate Logo Pie Review
The incredible "Pierate Logo" pie made by Nice Pie!
With all the exotic pies we’ve rated from Nice Pie - and you'll spot below that we've pie rated a fair few! - you’d be forgiven for thinking that they only do pies full of meat you’d never expect to be sold in a pie! And as delicious and highly rated as the kangaroowild squirrel and crocodile pies were (the latter being the highest rated pie from Nice Pie so far!), they also cater for the more “typical” British pie eater too! So whether you want to take a walk on the wild side or stick to something more typical in your 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 year or so - the reviews of which can all be seen here - but now you can see them all in our Nice Pie Leaderboard! Amazingly nearly every pie is Pierate Recommended (rated above 5/7) with some Pierate Highly Recommended - an amazing feat considering the weird and wonderful content of some of the pie fillings!

RankPie ProducerPie FlavourScoreBy
Nice PieCrocodile, Leek and Potato (Pierate Highly Recommended)
Nice PieWild Boar Pork (Pierate Highly Recommended)
Nice PieSmoked Salmon and Broccoli (Pierate Highly Recommended)
Nice PieBison and Beer
Nice PieWild Squirrel in Red Wine Gravy
Nice PieKangaroo
Nice PieSteak in a Rich Red Wine Gravy
Nice PieChicken, Smoked Bacon and Mushrooms in a Delightful Creamy Sauce
Nice PieCamel
Nice PieSteak and Stilton
Nice PieCockrel
Nice PieZebra
Nice PiePartridge and Pear

The Nice Pies we've highly rated include our highest rated fish pie - Smoked Salmon and Broccoli - and unsurprisingly our highest rated exotic pie - the Crocodile, Leek and Potato pie!

But they've not just been very highly rated with us! Their success has been rewarded with numerous awards from the Great Taste Awards to the British Pie Awards, where at the British Pie Awards 2014 we were delighted to hear that they had won the Champion Small Producer Award! You can see their amazing pie made for the WWI commemorations class in our British Pie Awards 2014 article. The full list of their awards can be found on their new website.

One of the things that has made Nice Pie stand out to us is that they are always willing to try something new - as seen by their expanding traditional and exotic pie range, their constant striving for pie-fection and recently their accreditation as an Authentic Melton Mowbray Pie producer.

And it's a sign of how far they've come in the last year that they had a recent visit from none other than celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty - some photos of which can be seen on the Nice Pie website! This was for the TV series Jamie and Jimmy's Friday Night Feast - which was on Channel 4 on Friday 13th February - and you can see a clip of it on the Channel 4 website here.

Nice Pie Cockrel Pie Review
Nice Pie Cockrel Pie Review
While they focused on the Wild Squirrel pie on Friday Night Feast, which we went nuts for when we rated it back in January 2014, we recently tried a few more Nice Pies. The first was a British classic – the steak and stilton pie, followed by a more unusual cockrel pie (the first we’ve eaten on the Pierate Ship!)

Both pies were filled very well with strong marks for capacity and therefore even more impressive that you could pick up and hold a slice of the pie without it crumbling under the weight of the meaty content! The pastry was nice and golden in colour, with a tasty shortcrust pastry which was only a little crumbly in places. Each pie was £6.50, which is very reasonable for a large pie that could be shared between 2 or more people.

Nice Pie Steak and Stilton Pie Review
Nice Pie Steak and Stilton Pie Review
The Steak and Stilton Pie was one of the many Nice Pies to get a Gold award at the British Pie Awards 2014. A common theme in the Nice Pie range, it was again packed to capacity with lots of moist, tender pieces of steak. You could tell the meat was well cooked and while there could have been a bit more gravy in the pie, the meat itself was moist and not at all chewy. While a bit of additional gravy would have made the pie as a whole that little bit better in my opinion, against the slightly drier pastry, you could not fault the quality and taste of the meat. The stilton wasn’t overpowering, as can be the case in some cheese-filled pies, but complemented the steak nicely. While I slightly preferred the Steak in a Rich Red Wine Gravy to this I would certainly have another Steak and Stilton too.

Nice Pie Cockrel Pie Review
Nice Pie Cockrel Pie Review
The Cockrel Pie was again noted for its very good pastry:filling ratio. I’d never had cockrel meat before, and while I was a bit reserved before eating it, I was certainly surprised at how much I enjoyed the flavour. To me it tasted like the darker meat you would eat as part of a roast chicken meal, which has a bit more flavour to it even if it is not perhaps perceived as the best part of the chicken, with most pies favouring the breast meat. The creamy sauce was nice and the overall balance of the pie flavour was good. I’d certainly not turn my nose up at another cockrel pie, even if I’d say I'd prefer a chicken pie.

Once again Nice Pie have produced the goods, with two more Pierate Recommended pies – and while it’s hard to resist the amazing range of exotic pies Nice Pie do, you would certainly be missing out if you didn’t tuck into a more traditional pie flavour from their range when given the chance!

Nice Pie Steak and Stilton Pie
Score: 5.61/7
[Colour 5.75/7; Consistency 5.5/7; Cheapness 5.5/7; Chewiness 5/7; Condition 5.5/7; Content 5.75/7; Capacity 6.25/7; Total: 5.61/7]

Nice Pie Cockrel Pie
Score: 5.46/7
[Colour 5.75/7; Consistency 5.5/7; Cheapness 5/7; Chewiness 5/7; Condition 5.25/7; Content 5.5/7; Capacity 6.25/7; Total: 5.46/7]


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 Reviews - Steak and Stilton and Cockrel"

Wednesday 11 February 2015

British Pie Week 2015 Pierate Countdown

The countdown to British Pie Week has begun!

British Pie Week 2015 - which runs from Monday 2nd March to Sunday 8th March - is now under 3 weeks away and we're busy at Pierate HQ making our final pre-pie-rations for the big event!

British Pie Week Pierate
British Pie Week 2015 is from 2nd to 8th March!
Some of you may have seen our recent Pieday Friday on Friday 23rd January featured 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 have managed to bag the lucrative web domain to encourage pie makers up and down the land to get involved. We're also pleased to see they seem to be taking British Pie Week a bit more seriously this year by creating a dedicated @BritPieWeek twitter account! And we certainly can't deny we have benefited from the ease of picking up some quality Jus-Rol pastry from the supermarket to make some homemade pies in the past!

But what we at Pierate aim to do is go beyond just promoting some pastry, as good as it is, and promote 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 last British Pie Week!
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 500 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!

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!


During British Pie Week last year 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!

Of course you know where to come for all the latest pie news this year, but why not reminisce about the 55 pies we ate for British Pie Week 2014?!

British Pie Week 2014 Diary:

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 2015 Pierate Countdown"

Friday 6 February 2015

Pieday Friday - 6th February 2015 - Rugby Pies & TV appearances

It's Friday! It's Pieday!

Tackling the Top Pies this 6 Nations!

As England and Wales get ready to kick off the 6 Nations Rugby 2015, it's not just the players on the pitch getting a rating. Oh no! We couldn't let these two European heavyweights battle it out without some reference to their pie line ups! So here it is: our first 6 Nations Pie-Off!

The 6 Nations Pie-Off idea is simple – a straight head-to-head between the top rated pies from England and Wales.

Pierate Team England Pie ReviewOne of the most recognisable songs sung at Wales rugby matches features the rousing refrain “Feed Me ‘Til I Want No More”. But would pie be on their menu? Sure, when you think of Welsh food it inevitably leads to thoughts of Welsh lamb, cheese and leeks. But there's certainly no reason why all those things couldn't be wrapped in pastry and sold as a good old Welsh pie! And we certainly haven't been disappointed with some of the pies we've had from Wales, with a number of them making the top 100 of our pie rankings. But how do they fare against the English?

England, of course, need no pie introductions! After all, we made the pie famous. Think England and you think pie! One of the nation’s top dishes, pies are of course also synonymous when it comes to sports like rugby or football. Who can resist the half time pie?!

We’ve rated over 480 pies so far, and the vast majority of them have been from England. And while there are sadly a few there that have let the side down, there are some pies with world class talent too, including our number one rated pie – Pauls’ Pies Steak and Guinness Pie.

So onto the pie-off and here are the results of the top 3 pies from each country (click on the pies for the full review):

RankEnglish PieScorevsScoreWelsh Pie
Paul's Pies Steak and Guinness
Cadwalader's Ice Cream Cafe Steak Pie
King's Farm All Steak
Rhug Estate Steak and Stilton Pie
Paul's Pies Chicken and Mushroom
Rhug Estate Steak and Onion Pie

So England take a clean sweep, with all three of their pies scoring significantly higher than the Welsh top efforts on our Seven Cs - though two of the Welsh pies were also "Pierate Highly Recommended". Whether that is the case on the rugby field, we will soon see...

If you enjoyed this pie-off then we think you'll love looking back over our World Cup 2014 Pie Blog, which featured regular pie updates and banter throughout the Football World Cup last year!

Pierateers are pie advisers to the BBC once again

While the full details cannot yet be unveiled, last week Pierateer RAS was once again filmed by the BBC for an upcoming TV programme focused on - you guessed it - pies! The Jekyll and Hyde pub in Birmingham was the setting for the filming, which itself has sold the highest rated pie in Birmingham and was recently rated with another Pierate Recommended pie.

You’ll be able to see Pierateer RAS on TV in March 2015. Of course we’ll let you know more when it airs! Until then, you can still see us on the BBC Sport website talking football pies!

A Great British Award for Bake Off!

Of course it's never too late to congratulate the Great British Bake Off for their recent win at the National Television Awards. The show has moved from BBC2 to BBC1 as a result of its successful viewing figures, no doubt enhanced by having a whole "Pie Week" episode. And not forgetting that 2014 also saw the start of the "Extra Slice" spin off show, which featured no less than Pierateer RAS and the Ship's Cook themselves, as we made our TV debut!

It was an honour to have legendary chef Michel Roux Jnr rate our Crocodile Pie and - despite the comments not making the edit on the show - there were some very encouraging remarks about the Crocodile Pie pastry! Unsurprisingly that made it into our Top 6 Pie-lights of the year! The special British Bake Off Pie-Off we did - rating a Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood pie recipe - has also been hugely successful with almost 1,000 views! The people of Britain really do love baking pies!

If you have a story you think would be good to feature in next week's Pieday Friday, send us an email at or contact us on Twitter @pierateers 
continue reading "Pieday Friday - 6th February 2015 - Rugby Pies & TV appearances"

Thursday 5 February 2015

Jekyll or Hyde? We decide!

“Jekyll and Hyde” Cock and Bull Pie Review at The Jekyll and Hyde Pub, Birmingham City Centre

Jekyll and Hyde Pie Review
Jekyll and Hyde Pie Review
It seems apt that just a stone’s throw away from the Bullring and central shopping areas, the Jekyll and Hyde Pub offers a quality cock and bull pie at a very reasonable price, and the quality of pies was something we were already aware of as our review of their steak pie in May 2013 proved. It rated at an amazing 6.45/7!

So when Pierateers RAS and SJL met in Birmingham at the end of last year it was an obvious choice to go back and try another pie there! While it was a shame there was only one pie on the menu, it meant both Pierateers could give their opinion on the pie they tried. And being the house pie (named the “Jekyll and Hyde pie” on their menu) we were hoping for a good one!

The Jekyll and Hyde pub in Birmingham was the setting for some recent filming Pierateer RAS did with the BBC, which you’ll be able to view in March 2015. Of course we’ll let you know more when it airs! Until then, you can still see us on the BBC Sport website talking football pies!

The pie on the menu was a “cock and bull pie finished with shallots, mushrooms and port, served with seasonal vegetables and champ potato”. It was once again a very decent sized pie for a £8.50 meal in the centre of Birmingham and good quality for that price. However it took us a bit by surprise that it was served in a ceramic dish!

You can image our thoughts as it was brought to the table we were sitting at, seeing that ceramic dish and some puff pastry peaking over the rim. Had they changed their winning formula? Was the fully encased Jekyll changing into a top crust Hyde?!

Jekyll and Hyde Pie Review
Jekyll and Hyde Pie Review
Fortunately we needn’t have worried! It was indeed a fully encased pie – just served, for some reason, in a ceramic dish! Perhaps this was to conserve the heat or something, but there was no need for them to Hyde this pie away! Pierateer RAS immediately took his pie out of the pie dish and it was indeed a decent, free-standing pie.

Jekyll and Hyde Pie Review
Jekyll and Hyde Pie Cross-section
The pie itself came out well presented, with a golden and crisp pastry lid. The sides and base were a bit paler, most probably as a result of the pie dish, but not undercooked and were still tasty and held the content in well. You could certainly still pick up a piece of the pie with your hands – always a good sign!

The pie lid was particularly flaky and light pastry, very much enjoyed, and well complemented by the tender pieces of meat within the pie and a mix of vegetables, including the shallots. The meat was nicely spread throughout the pie and while the meat pieces were quite large and thus a little chewy in places, it was generally very good. I’d perhaps recommend slightly smaller pieces of meat next time to make it a bit tenderer and mix the flavours more, but all together this was another very good pie.

While it didn’t quite reach the peaks of the Steak pie eaten last year, it is clear that pies are something the Jekyll and Hyde pub do well! It’s another top scoring pie on the 7 Cs of pie rating for Birmingham which earns Pierate Recommended status!

Jekyll and Hyde Pub “Jekyll and Hyde” Cock and Bull Pie
Score: 5.9/7
[Colour 5.8, Capacity 6.25, Consistency 5.75, Condition 5.7, Chewiness 5.8, Cheapness 6, Content 6, Total: 5.9/7]

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 "Jekyll or Hyde? We decide!"