British Pie Week: how do you eat yours?

British Pie Week this year runs from March 7 to 13British Pie Week this year runs from March 7 to 13
British Pie Week this year runs from March 7 to 13

British Pie Week: expert lifts the lid on how to eat your pie

It's the perennial question accompanying many a pub lunch - how do you eat your pie?

Full cases or pastry tops? Gravy, liquor or red sauce? Mash, chips or simply solo?

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The options are, it seems, endless and highly emotive, coloured by fierce debate - with preference apparently depending entirely on where you’re from in the UK.

Even the fillings differ from region to region; the butter pie and the cowheel pie are beloved treats up north, while down south, stargazy pie is a common meal - featuring the heads of sardines poking out of a pastry case.

The way in which a pie is served varies wildly too.

Take the Cockney tradition of plating up a pie with mashed potatoes and liquor, for instance; with the liquor traditionally made using the water kept from the preparation of stewed eels.

There’s even a debate to be had over how to tuck into a pie, with some choosing to simply pick up the pie with their hands, and others opting for using a knife and fork.

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When is British Pie Week?

As we celebrate British Pie Week, which runs from March 7 to 13, pie master and owner of Mad O’Rourke's Pie Factory, Peter Towler, is here to settle things once and for all - setting us straight on "the proper" way to enjoy the much-loved dish.

Son of a baker, Peter has spent his entire life in the food business - and he has dedicated half of it to pies.

Peter says the best way to avoid a burned mouth is in fact to take the top off the pie first and while waiting for the dish to cool, to dip chips in the gravy filling.

“Your pie absolutely doesn't need tomato or brown sauce - that’s disgraceful,” added Peter, 60.

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“There’s plenty of flavour in our pies as they are; you’re eating the wrong kind of pie if you need it with a sauce."

“You’re going to want to serve that delicious pie either with chips or mash, nothing fancy is needed.”

Celebrate British Pie Week with a tasty treatCelebrate British Pie Week with a tasty treat
Celebrate British Pie Week with a tasty treat

When it comes to pastry, Peter says his personal preference is to have his soft.

He has also shed light on the best tipple to enjoy with a piping hot pie too - and insists that the Tipton venue’s gravy-filled delicacies are best paired with a pint.

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“Don’t risk taking the shine off your pie dinner with a cheap lager,”  he said.

“You’re absolutely best to go for a good quality beer, such as a nice bitter or IPA.”

If you want to get your hands on a pack of Mad O’Rourkes pies, wherever you live in the UK, check out the Black Country venue’s Pies By Post; a venture started up by the firm during lockdown, which sees the restaurant send its famous, cheekily-named pies across the country.

Hand-made pies include: the Posh ‘n’ Becks (steak and stilton), the Hen Pecked (chicken and mushroom), the Eeny Meeny Beeny (vegan chilli veg) and Wham Bam Thank You Lamb (minted lamb).