Sunday 2 May 2010

Chilterns Festival of Food 2010

Being the professionals we are a couple of pierate delegates were dispatched to the recent Chilterns Festival of Food to see what pies were available among the culinary treats. Considering the variety of food available pies were well represented and a couple of them soon caught the eyes of our ravenous reviewers. Each pie was a large 'family' size and cost a bit under a fiver so not the cheapest4.

The Complete Pig - Aberdeen Angus and Ale Pie

This one really looked fantastic, a lovely golden colour6 pastry with a nice handmade condition6 to it. Both the steak and ale are produced on the farm in Oxfordshire giving it a low food miles count but we all know the proof of the pie is in the eating. Unfortunately this is where it fell down. The height of the pie was low in relation to it's width meaning it missed out on the ideal pastry to filling ratio and had a disappointing capacity4. This wasn't helped by the overly eggy taste of the pastry which was slightly chewy4. Delving into the content2 the actual ingredients were of high quality and it was good to see some vegetables, often the forgotten food group in pies. However the consistency1 wasn't ideal primarily due to a lack of gravy. This resulted in it being a bit of a chore to eat and having a fairly bland taste.

To this reviewer it seems that a lack of pie expertise is holding back The Complete Pig in their pie making. Being a small company based on one farm I get the feeling these pies are a bit of an experiment or side venture. In fact if you look at the website there is a picture of a guy holding a bottle of ale who looks remarkably like the the man we purchased the pie from. I wouldn't be surprised if he makes the pies himself as well. I've no doubt that these pies will improve with experience and I'd love to try one again at a later date. Have a look out for them at a farmers' market near you and keep us updated.


Lime Tree Pantry - Raspberry and Apple

Looking at the Lime Tree's website it seems that while they make other products pies are their number one priority. There are some videos on there to really make your mouth water. This family business from Nottinghamshire seem to have hit the big time, producing 15,000 pies a week. You can even buy the pies online or the ideal world shopping channel!

Just from the photo, its clear the pie is bursting with content7. They couldn't cram much more into their pies. However the capacity5 could be a little bigger. Lime Tree only use short crust pastry but they are clearly experts with it. It is sweet, light and soft; ideal with this pie. The consistency7 was near perfect, the filling was moist and had a sour tang but only enough to make it flavoursome. There was hardly any chewiness7 so the pie almost melted in the mouth. Presentation wise it was in good condition7 although there was a lack that quintessential golden pie pastry colour5. Overall this pie was fantastic, I can't wait to try some more!



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