Friday 13 April 2018

Voakes Free From Pie Reviews

Voakes Free From Pork Pie Reviews

We came across the company Voakes during last year's #LeedsPieTour. Whilst not actually from Leeds itself, Voakes produced a proper Yorkshire pork pie and they narrowly beat the local boys Wilson's in producing the top pork pie of the #LeedsPieTour. Having already enjoyed the gluten version of the pie, we were excited by the prospect of getting our hands on the Voakes Gluten Free range for our coeliac reviewer, Pierateer ALE. They have a great choice of pies available for delivery from the Voakes Free From website with most of them also being dairy free (with some egg free vegan options). We were delighted to be sent a whole box of pies, including pies which were best eaten hot but with their reputation for pork pies we asled Pierateer ALE to review these first. All were eaten cold but of course, if you are from more Northern climes you might need to warm them up a tad.

See below the reviews from Pierateer ALE, interestingly the free from pork pie scored almost exactly the same as the gluten version we reviewed last year.

Pork Pie (Voakes)
5.57 out of 7 (Pierate Recommended)

voakes free from pork pie

Condition - 5 out of 7 - I was really impressed with how good all of these pies looked. Given that Gluten Free pastry can be so crumbly these pies did well to survive travel in the post. This pork pie was a little bit broken but none of the others were. Despite being free from gluten and dairy, this pie looked pleasingly 'normal'. In fact it had a classic pie shape with a satisfying crimp around the edge and a vent hole. From the outside you might not realise it was a pork pie as it looked like regular pastry rather than the hot water crust pastry you often get with a pork pie.
Colour - 6 out of 7 - For a gluten free pie I thought this looked really appealing. There was some glaze to the pastry although the colour was paler than many other pies.

Cheapness - 6 out of 7 - This was the smallest 'individual' sized pie priced at £2.10 each. When you consider the premium that you often have to pay for free from products, this is excellent value. You can pay more than this for an up market regular pork pie!
Capacity - 6 out of 7 - Most of the pie was filled with meat, there wasn't a lot of jelly but this suited me. There was hardly any air gap.
Chewiness - 6 out of 7 - Compared to your average pork pie this had a great texture. Rather than being in one lump of ham, the filling had more granularity and bite. It tasted like pieces of gammon rather than ham. There were some small pieces which were perhaps a bit too chewy but you do expect a bit of fat with a pork pie. Sometime a pork pie can feel dense but this one didn't. I felt I could slightly tell that from the texture of the pastry that it was free from because it was a bit more crumbly but it was pretty amazing considering it had no gluten OR dairy.

Content - 5 out of 7 - The flavours were subtle and what you would expect from a pork pie. But it was seasoned enough to keep it interesting and it was nice that it wasn't too salty like some pork pies with less good quality meat can be. 
Consistency - 5 out of 7 - Whilst it was an excellent pork pie, it was somewhat overshadowed by the other excellent versions which had more variety to the filling!

Pork & Black Pudding (Voakes)
6.07 out of 7 (Pierate Highly Recommended)

voakes free from black pudding pie

Condition - 5 out of 7 - This pie was similar in appearance to the pork pie and so scores equally highly.
Colour - 6 out of 7
Cheapness - 6 out of 7 - This pie was the bigger 'large' size which retails at £5.80. It was enough for two people to share with lunch and again represented excellent value for a free from pie of this quality. It is worth noting that this was a pie that Pierateer SJL could eat in one go so it depends on your appetite!
Capacity - 6 out of 7 - Another pie crammed with filling.
Chewiness - 6.5 out of 7 - This pie was anything but chewy, as you would expect, the black pudding was soft and made the whole thing wonderfully moist. It slipped down really well.
Content - 6.5 out of 7 - Wow, the tangy flavour from the black pudding really made this pie stand out. It is not the kind of thing you can normally get hold of as a free from product so this was a nice treat. The mixed up nature of the pieces of pork and black pudding kept the pie interesting from beginning to end. The flavours seem to have seeped into the pastry too, giving this pie an extra edge.
Consistency - 6.5 out of 7 - I would say that the pastry and filling of this pie were friends, happy to be in each other's company which made for a brilliant final product.

Pork & Chili (Voakes)
6.01 out of 7 (Pierate Highly Recommended)

voakes free from chili pork

Condition - 4.7 out of 7 - Whilst it again looks good enough to get my tastebuds going, it loses out slightly on condition compared to the other two because of the jelly boiling out on top.
Colour - 6 out of 7
Cheapness - 6 out of 7 - Another up-market large pie for £5.80.
Capacity - 6 out of 7 - Again this pie was well filled, perhaps too well filled because the jelly boiled out!
Chewiness - 6.5 out of 7 - The texture was like the pork pie but perhaps a bit more moist due to the chili.
Content - 6.5 out of 7 - The chili added plenty of flavour and made the normal pork version look a bit boring. There was a sweetness to the chili and it wasn't very spicy but full of flavour. For me it wasn't quite as good as the black pudding version but I would choose this over the pork any day.
Consistency - 6.4 out of 7 - The flavours of this pie worked really well. The chili flavour permeated through the whole pie so it didn't have to rely on an intense pork and salt flavour like many pork pies do.

Overall these were excellent gluten free pies, in fact I would go as far as to say these were the best gluten free pies I have ever had! I would agree with their adverts that these pies are all of the flavour, none of the gluten. It is so nice that these pies are available and it doesn't feel like you have to compromise, they are better than the majority of the gluten equivalents. I would recommend them to anyone with allergies, you could even get the large ones to share and the great thing is people would never know they are free from!


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