pie club

...mince pie mayhem

 

Pie Club 2013

It's A Knockout

It's all change for Pie Club this year. We've ramped up the excitement by going for a straight knockout format - so theres 8 first round ties, followed by the quarter finals, semis and then the Grand Final. Check out the very scientific, and perfectly seeded tournament draw.

The sixteen finalists have been selected by applying a comprehensive formula, based on variables including but not limited to: historic performance, number of previous appearances, and likely availability.

Think Pie Club was already too frenzied? Think again. Bring on the pies!

Grand Final - M&S Classic vs Lidl Luxury - 25th Dec 2013
So here we are for a Christmas Day final. Soz if you were hanging on for us before you put the pies out for Father Christmas, but the writing was on the wall all some weeks ago if truth be told. Thanks to Simon Wilson for facilitating a format change to speed things up a bit it didnt really work, but that was hardly his fault, was it?

So, a Pie Club first sees Germans v Jews in the final. With no clues to be gleaned from history, its anyones guess which way this one will go.

Merry Christmas.
Veteran Wunderkind
Veteran Wunderkind
M&S Classic Lidl Luxury
Winner in 2005 and 2006 and runner up as recently as 2011. A legend in pie circles. Relatively inexperienced, finishing eight points off the pie offs on its only previous showing in 2011.
Match Report
First Bites
Weve properly run out of stuff to say about the Classic. Not that thats a bad thing, you understand. Theyre just so bloody consistent. So, once more for them as havent been paying attention for the last umpteen years: cracking pastry short and very much all butter as advertised. Then you get a first hit of that almost cocky teetotal tang. But Lidls first bite has stood it in good stead throughout this years competition. The Germans havent been shy with the butter and the firm, crisp lid is a masterpiece of engineering.

MSC 0, LIDL 1

Second Bites
Lidl piles on the pressure, throwing a warming tipple into the fray and backing it up with a splendidly varied chew that includes walnuts and almonds among some carefully selected vine fruits. MSC doesnt hold back on the variation either, with candied peel and glace cherry both playing starring roles against that well-judged backdrop of spices.

MSC 1, LIDL 1

Final Bites
It doesnt get much closer than this, if truth be told. Lidl has everything you would expect from a Pie Club champion top class pastry, a genuinely luxury interior and the sort of festive glow you dont generally associate with what is essentially a bargain brand. And despite being the designated driver of the pair, Classic remains excellent company the crust is as good as its ever been and the innards are heads, shoulders, knees and toes above its red box brethren. This is so hard we almost need a coin toss to settle it.

To booze or not to booze that is the question.

MSC 1, LIDL 2

So Lidl nick it to surprise all concerned. A brilliant performance from MSC just wasnt quite enough to stop the trophy going back to Germany for the first time in Pie Club history.
And the winner is: Lidl Luxury

[Back to top]

Semi Final - Lidl Luxury vs M&S Ultimate - 23rd Dec 2013
It feels like a strange thing to be writing, but the second semi final sees Lidl Luxury line up against Marks & Spencers Ultimate. Taken at face value, its a contest that screams mismatch. But Lidl are here on merit - with both Morrisons Signature and holders Asda Extra Special left in their unlikely wake, Ultimate will have to show marked improvement having almost suffered the ignominy of a first round defeat by the Co-op.
Unaufhaltsam? Shortarse
Unaufhaltsam? Shortarse
Lidl Luxury M&S Ultimate
I've been trying to think which of his countrymen he most resembles, but I can't think of any Germans that favour pies. We've grumbled enough, haven't we? Not very big or tidy. Artisanal, if you like. Which we don't.
Match Report
First Bites
Given that this is being played out over three bites, its a cautious start for little Ultimate. First contact is pleasing but the after-crunch is a disconcertingly flaky one which undermines the initial foray into the filling. Lidls pastry work, on the other hand, has been the biggest surprise of the tournament so far. Theres a good butter undertone and the contrast between the crisp, well-sugared lid and the soft but short exterior walls is a genuine delight.

LIDL 1, MSU 0

Second Bites
Lidls middle has a bit of everything. Nuts are plentiful, apple chunks and candied peel provide acidity and zest as a counter to background spicework, and brandy and orange work in tandem to underpin the entire do with a tangy, mellow warmth. Not that Ultimate is behind the door when it comes to alcoholic influence, mind. The brandy duo of kirsch and Armagnac ensures the select band of fruity high-rollers are kept well refreshed, while the unusual pairing of almond and cherry lends a distinctly Bakewell undertone.

LIDL 1, MSU 1

Final Bites
Lidl keeps going to the end. The brandy doesnt carry a fancy name but nor it doesnt moonlight as a paintstripper during the off-season. The fruits dont have celebrity status either, but they provide bite and flavour and valuable support for the main players of walnut and cherry. And that pastry has been a revelation. By contrast, and almost literally,Ultimate has nothing left to give. The final morsel is a pie in microcosm - the undeniably high class filling reduced to little more than a smear; the tell-tale layers of controversially flaky pastry laid bare by deconstruction; and the overwhelming sense of disappointment that this what it has come down to.

LIDL 2, MSU 1

Experts will no doubt debate the validity of this outcome for seconds on end, but the writing has been on the wall since Ultimate stumbled through what should have been a gimme of a first round draw. Take nothing away from Lidl, though. They deserve their place at this years top table, and their circuitous route to the final will ensure they fear no pie. M&S Classic awaits.
And the winner is: Lidl Luxury

[Back to top]

Latest Contests  ||  Earlier Contests

| Pie Admin