Pie makers of Australasia, take heed. Think you’ve got the world pie market sewn up? Think on. Dear old Blighty is still in there scrapping for the Northern Hemisphere. Take yesterday’s trip to Olney, Buckinghamshire, an archetypal English Market Town so endearingly charming a return there makes tourists of us all.

En route to collect my trusty chariot from my pal Lupt, the time and day of the week decreed it PieDay Friday. There was nothing else for it. Parking up then strolling across the frozen Market Square to the bakery, my cheery enquiry was met with apron-clad blank looks and shrugged shoulders. As false starts go this was stonkingly inglorious.

Imagine if I’d have gone in there with an Aussie or Kiwi? The shame of it. A bakery. Sold out of, or indeed, more embarrassingly, not selling pies in the first place?

I’d have been laughed all the way to the Department of Immigration & Citizenship.


As it was, I meekly sloped back into the tundra, tail firmly twixt legs, towards the fish and chip shop and a humiliating reintroduction to the staple of fat bastards the length and breadth of the land, The Pukka Pie. Then I spotted, as I trudged along the High Street, the Olney Delicatessen and Tea Rooms. Like a Stuart Broad delivery heading down the leg side with the batsman two foot outside his crease, I reckoned that had to be worth a shout.

The counter was crammed with the savouries of what makes this country great. Local farm cheeses, pates, preserves, olives, pastries, pork pies.
Yes! Pork Pies.
And pies. A big list of pies in all shapes and sizes. Keen to see how the Buckinghamshire version shaped up I ordered the Kiwi Staple and another more distinctly British sounding one.

Steak and Horseradish.

Hello and ahoy-hoy! How head-smackingly, derr-brainily simple? Your Sunday Roast encased in pastry. British ingenuity at its finest. I felt a tear patriotically run down my cheek.
Mind you, it could have been the cold.

The pastry was lighter than the snow flurries of the last day or so and unlike last week’s cumbersome effort, there was the just the right amount of light, golden flaked goodness. The meat was overcooked and less chunky than its recent Oceanic counterparts but the onions and thick gravy made up for this. The creamy horseradish, dolloped regally beneath the lid was superb, tastily offsetting the beef. The exquisiteness of Sunday Lunch two days early. Absolutely marvellous.

To the pie men of Australia and New Zealand, here’s a timely shot across the bows. To make matters worse for you, the Buckinghamshire steak and cheese pie, that corner of the pie world you think you rule was good too. The British are coming. Huzzah!