British Pie Week: where to find the best pies

The British pie: a simple food popular with all walks of life

From the 1st-7th March this year Britain is being encouraged to celebrate one of the humblest yet most popular dishes in the national cuisine. Step forward the British pie. A baked dish chiefly consisting of pastry that covers a filling of sweet or savoury ingredients, the pie has been amongst us since the 12th century, and can be found anywhere from the football terraces to the packed lunchboxes of executives.

British Pie Week has been organised by Jus-Rol the pastry company, and the firm came up with a competition earlier in the year to find the best pie in England. And despite travelling the length and breadth of the country, the finalists were mainly to be found in the south-west.

Two from Cornwall, one from Devon and another from Somerset made up four of the five shortlisted, while Cardiff was the lone entry from outside the region that made the final. The competition was eventually won by the Cardiff entrant, with chef Adam Pavey from The Goat Major pub carrying away the award.

The Goat Major, High Street, Cardiff, CF10 1PU. Tel:(029) 20337161

Chef Adam Pavey was said to have “wowed the judges” with his delicious Wye Valley pie, described by the officials as “heaven in a pie”. Pavey combined locally sourced ingredients such as Welsh Tintern Abbey cheese with light Jus-Rol pastry to create his winning pie. Those who are planning a trip to Cardiff will be pleased to know that The Goat Major is easily found in the town centre at the head of the High Street.

The Fisherman’s Arms, 31 Lambhay Street, Plymouth, PL1 2NN. Tel: (01752) 661457

From the list of finalists we turn to Plymouth and the Fisherman’s Arms, where chef Martyn Scott also sourced local ingredients for his highly commended entry. The pub lives up to the name as chef Scott uses the local harbour to find the freshest ingredients for his Smoked Fish and Cider Pie. Each day a new supply is delivered to the popular Plymouth pub, and chef Scott is proud of their links with the fishermen. “We only use local produce to support our community and ensure the best ingredients possible”.

The Lamb Inn, 1 Christchurch Street East, Frome, BA11 1QA. Tel: (01373) 472042

Set amongst the historic architecture of Frome, the Lamb Inn is a small family owned freehouse that happens to produce one of the best arrays of pies. Chef Paul Davies is behind the ‘Classic Pie Collection’ and again emphasises the importance of sourcing local produce. He believes “the balance and depth of flavour in our signature Venison and Stilton pie is the very best of the best.”

The Fountain Inn, Newbridge, TR20 8QH. Tel: (01736) 364075

Newbridge in Cornwall boasts what the owners call “A real Cornish local pub”, and a venue which during the holiday season is teeming with visitors. The Fountain Inn is known for holding “Pie Nights” every Friday, and as such will be celebrating reaching the finals of British Pie Week. Chef Dan Tibbins created the “Blue Cow Pie” as a variation on the traditional favourite that is steak and stilton pie. Described by Tibbins as “a real hit with our customers” the Fountain Inn can be found between Penzance and St Just.

The Heron Inn, Trenhaile Terrace, Malpas, Truro TR1 1SL. Tel: 01872 272773

Situated in the picture-postcard village of Malpas is a pub overlooking the very place where three rivers meet. The Heron Inn is renowned locally for its cuisine and chef Karen Berg went for a unique twist on the pie theme. Her version of the traditional “apple pie and cream” was called Fudgey Apple Pie, and she explains “When you cut into it, the hot liquid creamy fudge oozes out, creating a simple yet irresistible pie!”.

British Pie Week takes place between the 1st-7th March 2010.