Tuesday 25 October 2016

Who Rate All the Pies?

The answer to the question is of course us! At nearly 600 pie reviews we are leaders in the pastry consumption field. I am going to take the opportunity for a bit of light hearted 'dissing' of the com-pie-tition in the way rappers might diss each other. I know this might seem a bit harsh given that Pierate is a family friendly site but sometimes a Pierateer has got to do what a Pierateer has got to do.

I was a bit bemused to today to be sent a link to this article from that ever enlightening newspaper, The Sun. It is about a fellow who who runs a blog called The Pie Pundit who apparently 'rate all the pies'. He has been reviewing football pies since 2011 and has got to the grand total of 'around 50' of the 92 football league grounds. I will clarify that I do enjoy looking at his website as it is nicely laid out with pictures of different football pies. However, this article really got my goat because I cannot understand how this possibly made it as so called 'news'. Even by a normal person's standards (as in, someone who isn't a pie obsessed manic like us), is it really that impressive to eat 50 pies in 5 years? That is less than 1 pie a month! Tom Dickinson has already done all the football league grounds in ONE season in '92 pies' for crying out loud! In the article, Jonny Smith (if that is his real name, it sounds suspiciously generic) says it is 'his life long goal to find the best'. I am glad it is his life long goal as it's going to take him a long time at this rate.

What gets me the most is that he hasn't gone out of his way to find the best pies because he hasn't even been to Morecambe! Multi-winners at the British Pie Awards, they are regarded by many (including ourselves) as having the best football pies. Head chef Graham has made many media appearances, including featuring in this BBC Sport video with ourselves. Not visiting Morecambe is like saying I have found the best Pizza in Europe.... oh but I haven't been to Italy.

The table topping Morecambe Pie line up
He has also visited some non-league grounds so to his credit he has been to more than 50 grounds. However, something that frustrates me is that there is no rankings list of the places he has been, how are you supposed to know which ones he says are any good? The Sun article claims that he rates Bristol City as the best. Made by Chunk of Devon, we have previously reviewed their pies quite favourably, but they are certainly not table toppers. Being mass produced, they are a long way from the 'local butcher' pies that he claims he is looking for. Something else that gets me (I will stop my rant at some point, I promise) is that he doesn't seem to have any clue that many pies at football grounds are made by the same big companies (e.g. Wright's, Pukka), treating them as completely different propositions and occasionally giving them completely different scores. Take his reviews of Millwall, Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Sunderland. If you compare to photos in our football pie league, these are clearly all Wright's Chicken Balti but yet he doesn't even acknowledge the fact that they all look exactly the same! He then gives scores ranging from 2 to 9.5! With lack of consistency like that, the Pie Pundit isn't going to be pushing for promotion any time soon....

Lastly, something that will always prevent me from taking the Pie Pundit too seriously is that his number 3 is a Cottage Pie from Fulham, a product which is not even slightly related to our favourite pastry product. The fact that it completely lacks pastry isn't even mentioned in his brief article!

I said lastly but I have just remember another thing that has got me wound up! He recently reviewed a burger.... yes, that's right, a burger. Plus he only wrote two sentences in his review at our beloved Wycombe Wanderers.... how can two sentences count as a review? Okay... I really will stop now.

P.S. Great work Jonny, we love it really. I am just bitter because you have reviewed more football pies than we have in our Football Pie League (the other half doesn't let me go to the football very often...).

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Saturday 22 October 2016

What happens at a Pierate Piefest?

Earlier this year, Pierate celebrated the summer in style by throwing a massive Pierate Piefest! As expected, there was plenty of pie and banter - but an unexpected guest at the party was the Ship's Cook triple-layered Neapolitan pie cake. There were definitely some tense moments cutting into the pie, but as you can see it turned out superbly in the end!


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Thursday 20 October 2016

Taking a bite in the Big Apple (Pie)

As Pierateer Sam mentioned a few months back on Pierate, we've had a craving for an American pie for a while now but despite many kind offers from American Pie Makers, there's never been a realistic op-pie-tunity to go Stateside and try their pie (and despite all the crazy pie flavours I've eaten, even I would be wary of a pie being mailed across the Atlantic Ocean for 8 hours!!!)

Lower Manhattan - Surely there's some pie in there somewhere?!
Is that a golden pie up there?!
However we are pleased to announce that Summer and Fall of 2016 is 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 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. And Pierateer Rob is now currently in the Big Apple - New York City - and looking for pie suggestions, so if you have any suggestions for New York or other areas of the North East Coast then let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

While still early on in my trip, I've spotted a couple of pie places to check out and I was encouraged to read that when immigrants to the United States stopped off at Ellis Island in the early 1900s they were given a pie as part of their "lunch box" given to them on arrival!

As I explore this week I'll keep my eyes out for some American pies!

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Wednesday 19 October 2016

Some Pies I've Not So Recently Been Eating

It's not that I've been neglecting the blog. Oh no. And it's not that I've fallen out of love with pies. It's just that I've needed a bit of pie downtime, if you will. A time to recuperate, a time to be myself, a time to think

You know, the shock of what happened in March really set me back. It made me ask deeper questions about why us Pierateers put in so much hard graft when a PASTY can just stroll right on in there and be the supreme champion of us all. 

But that shouldn't be what this blog post is about. Congratulations and fair play to the winner. I don't want to detract from their victory, and it's up to the Melton Mowbray-based national pie competition setter to generate their own rules. I should look at the positives. What this set back has given me is time to think.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. And during my quite inexcusably long hiatus (or should I say 'pie-atus'), my heart has grown fonder. Each day away from Pierate, I realise how much I miss the buzz of posting about a top pie I've just eaten, or the tears and genuine emotion of eating a soggy-lidded casserole of shame. I have recuperated, I've grown stronger, and now I more passionate about pies than ever. 

I'm ready to celebrate pies, pastry, and all of the associated industry awards - controversial or otherwise. It never fails to surprise me how many more pies there are out there to eat, and how many more blog posts there are to write. 540,000 page views? Bring on 1,000,000!

Now onto some pies that I have been eating but haven't reviewed (and probably won't do because it's been too long since I ate them and therefore wouldn't be fair).

Actually, this first pie is one I ate fairly recently but Pierate reviewed back in March of this year. It's a Pieminister Saag Pie-neer. It was certainly pleasant and I'd probably agree with ARL's rating of 5.9/7. Pieminister are always a safe pair of hands with a pie.

Next up is a pork pie I never reviewed, from a time when I visited Waitrose and bought as many different pork pies as I could. It's an oak smoked pork pie - certainly an interesting taste, and one that I remember enjoying very much. It's a shame I never got round to reviewing it but if I see it in Waitrose again then I'll pick up another pack.

Aha, here's another vegetarian pie that I just really needed to review but never did. Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced the cross-sectional photo, so the outside is all you'll see of this ASDA Chosen By You Vegetarian Creamy Potato, Cheese and Onion delight. Enjoy!

Oh yes, the ASDA Bistro pies. They never fail to disappoint. They had a strong start on the blog, with the Ultimate Steak Pie not only scoring highly but also being one of the first pies we ever reviewed. Since then, standards in the ASDA bistro kitchen have evidently slipped, and now all we are left with are these half-baked, half-filled ideas. This ASDA Bistro pork, bramley apple and cider offering doesn't turn that around.

Well, there we have it, some pies I have not so recently been eating. I'm really looking forward to posting more actual reviews on Pierate.

Bye for now!


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Monday 17 October 2016

MyPie are my number 1!

In some senses it seems only yesterday that we set sail on this e-pie-c adventure to rate as many pies as we could get out gravy covered hands on - and yet next month marks our 7th birthday! In that time we've had a few number 1s but top spot has been held on to firmly by Paul Skyes of Paul's Pies from January 2013. Until now...

Yes, hold the front page! Pierate has a new number 1 pie, as existing cham-pie-on Paul has decided to close down his personal business and work elsewhere. Sad as it is to confirm bad news, which Paul honourably informed us of over the phone a few months back, we fully respect his decision to move job and spend more time with his young family. Our stomachs, however, may not cope so well with the news!!! We wish Paul well.

Tim and Sam with our new number 1... but which pie is it?!
This did however leave us with an unusual situation, as for the first time we were having to remove pies from, rather than add them to, the pie rankings! It also left us wanting to re-test our top pies just to check their ratings - especially as the original King's Farm review was done in 2010 and we needed to see if it was worthy of the crown of best pie on Pierate!

Sam kindly took on the task of re-rating King's Farm steak pie recently (while cheekily adding a new review of their chicken pie!) and compared it with the countless steak and ale pies we have had from Chris at MyPie in the last year and we can confirm there was only one winner...

Our new number 1 pie is MyPie's Steak and Ale pie!!! Check out the amazing review we gave it!

No longer just best chicken pie in London - Chris will need to update his signs!!!

The latest addition to the "MyPie" fleet of pie trucks!
Photo courtesy of Chris @MYPIE_LDN
Congratulations to Chris Brumby who, since we started tasting his pies a few years ago following his 'Roll-off' 2014 win (best sausage roll), has produced numerous efforts of ex-pie-tese that have been Pierate Highly Recommended, and has dominated our top 10 pie list!

We're excited to hear of the new plans Chris has - including a number of new vehicles in his pie fleet to help serve even more pies at the various events he attends!

Meanwhile we'll keep our eyes on the pies to see if anyone can dethrone MyPie from the top of the pie rankings!


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

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

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