Grumpies of Cornwall have hit the food scene in Cornwall with all the impact of a rolling pin on a flour-dusted granite worktop – thwack! and before you know it, the two cantankerous caricatures of Trevor and Mark have stormed twitter, food festivals, local and even national radio. Chris Evans declared the steak and ale pie to be “one of the best artisan pies he has ever tasted.”
But what really makes a good pie? The perfect piece of toast and cup of tea have been nailed in previous bunny posts, but let’s briefly consider the pie (and this from a hopping mammal who was practically breast-fed on Bristol’s very own Pieminster Pies).
What I want from a pie: unctuous tasty filling with an abundance of chunky flesh, a gelatinous bone-derived sauce and a pastry with bite and not apathy. Plus lard. A good pastry needs a bit of no-nonsense lard to offset the butter.
Nothing beats a homemade pie but Grumpies (pronounced grumPIES) have done their darndest to emulate a subtle pastry full of some of the best ingredients Cornwall can offer. Meat from Philip Warren in Launceston and ale from Penpont Brewery are both excellent places to start.
The blue cheese, walnut and mushroom was my absolute favourite and from an offal-avid food writer, this is some achievement. Caressingly creamy yet offering a tangy depth from the blue cheese and texture from the walnuts, it happily converted me into a temporary vegetarian (who hasn’t been watching Hugh’s Veg? Temporary vegetarianism is where it’s at). Second, the pork and cider. I would normally avoid pork in a pie, if it’s poorly reared and badly-cooked, it’ll be tough. But not Grumpies’ pork. Succulent, happy meat, even happier to be coupled with cider.
The complete range features:
Steak and ale, chicken, gammon and leek, pork, apple and cider, homity pie, blue cheese, mushroom and walnut, lamb, mint and potato.
For more information on stockists and the miserable duo who are embracing the onslaught of becoming older and wiser with refreshingly tongue-in-cheek branding, go to www.grumpiesofcornwall.co.uk. They’re serious about good food but thankfully don’t take themselves too seriously. Check out the boys on their very own Christmas road tour of some of Cornwall’s best pie-eating institutions:
Related articles: read the Pieminster boys’ tips on how to make the best pie pastry.