In desperate search of something stoically, typically and wonderfully English to believe in, in the face of the cricketing horror show that was happening before my eyes I yearned for salvation. While the Barmies and Beiges traded ready banter and witticisms, my ears pricked up at the conversation taking place between a Lancashire couple behind me.

“Yeah, it’s great ain’t it? Proper Pork Pie. Home made n’ all. Like what you get back ‘ome.”

Pork pies? Here in New Zealand? Attitudes to one of Britain’s signature dishes had clearly softened since my last visit three years ago when this redoubtable savoury delicacy came in for some of the most terrible kind of abuse they usually reserve for Australians.

My forage around the food stalls of the University Oval brought me to Havoc Meats of Waimate where Kane an enthusing, charismatic gentleman of heavy beard and stocky build much like a prop forward in the modern sense roared me through a demonstration of his noble art. Kane explained to me that all the pies were made by his fair hands, driving the point home about just how fair his hands were.
Imagine Nanette Newman played by Brian Blessed and you’re pretty much there. “Now hands that kill piggies can feel as soft as your face….”

Havoc Meat’s pies and products are made using the meat from Kane’s mum’s farm he told me proudly. Kane explained how Havoc’s pork pies were different to traditional Melton Mowbray ones in terms of look but also in terms of a unique twist on the recipe. Kane found that by using hocks rather than trotters for the jelly it gave the pie a better flavour.
He was absolutely right. The jelly, far from being that listless clear stuff you get in most pies, had a delicious pork stock taste to it. Thick chunks of pulled pork were mixed in with sprigs of sage and parsley and cubes of Havoc ham. The pastry was light on both salt and crust which allowed the succulent pork and the flavours within to cling to the taste buds like the local sand flies to your ankles.

Kane proclaimed he is heading over to England in 2015 for the Rugby World Cup and the World Pork Pie Championship. He seemed confident of New Zealand victories in both.
The Pork Pie Club of Great Britain haven’t returned his emails or calls. Kane thinks they’re running scared. Having tasted one of his genuinely brilliant Kiwi pork pies, I have to strongly agree with him.

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