The pie is back in fashion. Hearty food is retro chic, and pies are right on trend. Pies have gone gourmet and gastro, so forget fast food and hit the quality pie shops for a healthier option.
We’re into mid-February and the wind chill factor is still measurable as we brave the city high-rise corridors to work. Doesn’t the thought of a crispy golden-topped pastry package filled with steaming goodness get your taste buds stirring and the heart warming? Forget the New Year’s diet resolutions, no one ever sticks to them anyway. Go with your seasonal appetite cycle and stoke up on carbs. Why fight it? We’re still in winter mode in spite of what the high street fashion shops are trying to sell us. Mid-March is the time for spring-cleaning and I’ll have plenty to tell you about the benefits of raw food then. In the meantime, pies are where it’s at, so get your fill before the cold snap ends.
To do this right, you’ll want to know about Pieminister. I discovered these superb, award-winning suppertime staples at a speciality food show - these are the places where you find out what’s in, what’s out, what's coming, and yes, you get to taste local products and regional specialties, too. Pieminister have a trophy cabinet full of awards, honouring pies with names like Matador Pie (how macho is that?), Porky Pie (yes, well...), Thai Chook Pie (love you long time), Heidi Pie (for veggies) - almost onomatopoeic! There’s Chicken of Aragon Pie for all you cavalier types, plus many more to suit a range of personality types. Moo Pie got my vote.
The website appeals to my design aesthetics and is quick and easy to navigate. They have an innovative online shopping system, just click on the desired pie icon and add it to the shopping box - bit like stamp collecting. Takes seconds to do and they deliver to your door. If you fancy an up-close and personal pie perusal, then visit Borough Market, or their new shop at Gabriel’s Wharf. They even have a VIPie club.
Pies are up there with other great British traditions: fish and chips, afternoon tea, and the Queen’s speech. We even have a week dedicated to them; British Pie week is held from the 1st to the 7th March, and the World Pie Eating Contest is worthy of a reality show. Pie sales are on an upward trend thanks to improvement of content quality and celebrity chefs eating them, oh wait...that was humble pie.
There are fluffy tops for the ladies or a sturdier short crust for the lads. Meaty or veggie, sweet or savoury, everyone’s taste is catered for. Filo, flakey or shortcrust, there’s a sealant choice for all. And if you want a lighter option, just call in the tarts.
And finally, for all you Americans out there, two words: Marie Callender. Now they are pies worth dieting for.