Saturday, 3 October 2015

Devon Knows How They Make Them So Chunky

Chunk of Devon - Posh Fish, Steak & Ale and Steak & Stilton Pie Reviews

I have come across Chunk of Devon pies a few times now so I thought it was about time that I shared my thoughts on their pies. As the name suggests these pies are made in Devon, they are quite common in chips shops and bakeries in Devon which is good to see, it makes a change from the domination of Pukka pies in other parts of the country. They can also be brought in other places in the South West as well as on First Great Western trains.

Chunk do also make quite a lot of pasties which is probably of no surprise given that Devon is more well know for the alternative pastry product.  It is no coincidence then that these pies are quite pasty-like. In fact they are the closest thing in to a pasty in pie form that I have ever found. If you are a follower of Pierate you will know that we in no way consider a pasty to be a pie, it needs sides and a lid to be a pie. Therefore you might be shocked to hear me say that a pie tasting like a pasty is not necessarily a bad thing. I have nothing against pasties per se, it is mainly that annoying dry crimped edge that I dislike. But the strong, crunchy shortcrust pastry can actually be quite satisfying. Do away with the crimp, add a lid and you've got the makings of a decent pie!

I have tried a Steak & Stilton, Posh Fish and Steak & Ale. All of them had the same pasty-like pastry which tasted nice. It was perhaps a little too thick in places and therefore a bit doughy. They were oval in shape and a little rough around the edges, but only so much as to make them pleasingly handmade in appearance. The pastry was a glossy brown which you would expect from the Cornish pasty type pastry if in some cases a little paler than I would have liked. The pies were quite tall which gave them a decent capacity but they weren't always well filled. The scores are below ranked in order of preference.

Posh Fish - Cod, Salmon, Prawn & Haddock
Chunk of Devon Pie

Chunk of Devon PieI grabbed one of these hot in the Esplanade Fish Bar in Lynmouth for £3.70. This pie does stand out as one of the few proper fish pies I have had (many fish pies are not fully encased in pastry, but we have found a few, see the list here). There was a pleasant, mild, fish flavour with both white and pink fish visible in the pie. The peas and sweetcorn went well with the fish and added some variety. It was nice to find a pie which does something so different. On the downside, it wasn't very well filled and the filling was padded out rather a lot with potato so overall I don't think there was a lot of fish. It said it had prawns but there weren't any visibly discernible prawns in the pie. A pie which is tasty enough to get again if I fancied a change from a steak pie.

Posh Fish - Cod, Salmon, Prawn, & Haddock (Chunk of Devon/Lynmouth's Esplanade Fish Bar [EX35 6EQ])

Steak & Ale
Chunk of Devon Pie
Chunk of Devon PieI purchased this pie for £4.50 on a First Great Western train. It was a shame that I chose to purchase this one on the train because I paid a premium on the price which has reduced the score. It was Chunky by name and chunky by nature with quite a lot of decent steak chunks. These were tender and tasty. There was quite a strong ale taste which I liked, it made it taste a bit different. However, my Mum didn't like it. It was good to see some pieces of carrot to add a bit of variety but these had been cooked too long and were soggy. Other than that the taste and texture were good.

Steak & Ale (Chunk of Devon/First Great Western Trains)

Steak & Stilton

Chunk of Devon Pie
Chunk of Devon PieThe cheapest of the lot, just £3.30 from Dunster Deli in the picturesque town of Dunster in Somerset. The Deli was nice, I picked up some lovely bottles of real ale. Unfortunately this pie wasn't really heated up very well which might have affected my enjoyment. I was also caught off guard by the large quantity of mushroom which took up the pie, I think this should have been sold as 'Mushroom, Steak & Stilton' pie. I have nothing against mushroom but the texture can be a bit unappealing when you are expecting steak! The mushroom seemed quite firm and chewy. It didn't seem to work too well with the taste of the stilton. My personal preference wouldn't be to mix them together, but others may not feel the same. There was a mild stilton taste, it was welcome that it wasn't very strong because it can become a bit overpowering for me. There wasn't any visible bit of cheese, indicating it was well mixed in. There was a little meat but I would certainly go for the steak and ale next time to replace the mushroom with more steak!

Steak & Stilton (Chunk of Devon/Dunster Deli [TA24 6SF])


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