From time to time people (usually people who don't know us well) ask us how we co-habit, as an Australian and a South African. How do we manage about sport? Doesn't it get fraught? Are there hostile silences and cross words about cricket? It's actually pretty easy - neither of us is particularly nationalistic and neither of us pays much attention to the sort of sports that people get nationalistic about. I knew the Rugby World Cup was coming but, well, it's not Quidditch is it?
So I haven't been getting too excited at the prospect of dozens of burly men running around in tight shorts. I mean obviously it's crossed my mind, but let's not get carried away. It takes a good food gimmick to get me really worked up.
Square Pie have come up with just that gimmick in their Pie World Cup. They've developed a pie for each of the countries competing in the Rugby World Cup, and on the days each team plays, they'll put the pies up against each other in their stores. They'll be tallying the sales and putting them in a league table for a chance to progress to the next round. So tomorrow, to coincide with the tournament opener, England's steak and ale will be up against Fiji's goat curry.
|The Australian Pie|
At the launch of the Pie World Cup I was hoping that they'd have canapie-sized pies so I could try a good range, but sadly they were full-sized. With the best will in the world I can't eat more than two pies, and I was on my way to my dance class and the prospect of two hours of spotting spins on a full stomach inhibited me further. But I had to try the Australian pie - as I said, I'm not hugely nationalistic, but the combination of kangaroo, mushroom and shiraz sounded like a winner. The pastry was nice and flaky: it wouldn't pass the old Australian footy pie test of eating it out of hand, but as long as you have access to a plate and fork it's the perfect texture. The filling was richly meaty - I wouldn't swear to being able to tell the difference between kangaroo, venison and beef in a blind tasting but it definitely tasted good. Maybe a little too sweet from carrots, but that's a minor quibble. I didn't even reach for the ketchup which is my default when faced with a pie.
I only had room for a couple of bites of a second flavour of pie, and which pie to choose was a real dilemma. I would have liked to try the Fiji goat curry, or Georgian chicken, mushroom and sour cream, but I opted for Canadian moose. Now, I was expecting moose to be similar in flavour to kangaroo or venison, but it was much more delicate. More like veal than beef. The Canada pie is very peppery and, dare I say it? much more to my taste than the Australian pie.
The Pie World Cup is only running in store, so I am going to have to print out the fixtures card and plan some trips into Old Spitalfields Market to taste some of the others. I think the pie draw is more evenly matched than the rugby teams - but may the best pie win.