Admittedly, Britain doesn’t have a culinary reputation that can rival some of our Mainland European counterparts. We may not boast croissants or claim rights to the crepe, however we still have reason to be proud of our wholesome and hearty food. The type of food that warms the heart and heals the soul, and this is no more embodied than in our pies. Through ups and downs, and one outlawing in 1644 by Oliver Cromwell, Brits have remained loyal to the humble pie. With a thick crust and a tasty filling, there is really little that beats this offering. So at Boost Capital we are overjoyed that there is a whole week in March dedicated to celebrating this proud British creation.
The British Pie Tradition
Starting in 2007 British Pie Week is almost a decade old and has grown annually, even now boasting its own Pie Awards. It is a celebration of all thing encased in pastry and the competition itself draws a rather impressive judging line-up that includes baking professional Hugh Weeks alongside other big names in the food industry.
And there is really no doubt that pies still remain a resolute favourite amongst us Britons, according to a survey carried out by Jus-Rol, three quarters of us have a pie at least once a month. Not only that, but in certain parts of the country over 20% of people eat more than one pie a week. Although we imagine this to be significantly higher over Christmas with mince pie sales at an all-time high last year. Even Heston Blumenthal – whose restaurant the Fat Duck has won countless awards including best Restaurant in the world as well as the famously coveted three Michelin star rating – has launched his own brand of Mince Pies with Waitrose. In fact, since 2010 there has been a welcome upsurge in pie sales mainly due to better quality produce.
And whilst there has been an increase in gluten-free and vegan pies in recent years due to a changing public attitude towards food there seems little doubt that the traditional pie still reigns supreme. And whilst Americans have always favoured a sweet pie, celebrating many of their national holidays with a spiced apple, warm peach, or sugary pumpkin filling, on our side of the Atlantic tradition reigns supreme. And so we have surveyed some of the most respected pie establishments to see what style appeals to the British palate.
Our Pick of the Pies
The Pie Bald Inn relies on the British love for all things pastry and has an extensive menu of pies which draws on inspiration from food around the world. From the Irish Draught which features Guinness and Steak, to the vegetarian options which includes a deliciously decadent Blue Roast consisting of three types of cheese, mustard and creamy mash, there is a pie to suit every taste. And it is not just country pubs who are offering pie. The Windmill Mayfair, a restaurant situated in the heart of London, offers luxurious, award winning pies with sumptuous quality fillings. Classic recipes with beautifully cooked ingredients include: steak and mushroom, game as well as the more innovative spiced chickpea, feta and lentil pie. As an important public service, they also send out pie updates for those serious pie aficionados who join their Pie Club.
And, of course, the Pie and Mash establishments that formed the cornerstone of London are still alive and kicking. According to this Time Out article, there are still plenty of restaurants offering their pundits no frills, no fuss wholesome and delicious pie and mash at an affordable price.
However you take your pie, one thing is clear: the British pie is here to stay. At Boost Capital, we’re proud to support British pubs and restaurants year round with their plans to grow their business. And this week, we’ll be going even further to support British Pie Week in our local, too.