Where to Find the Best Meat Pies in NZ
“The mystical New Zealand of contemporary cinema is replete with hobbits and talking trees. But the real New Zealand is rich with leaf-lard crusts containing the unctuous delights of braised mutton, minced beef, and poached fish,” American Tom Lax writes in a feature for quarterly food journal Lucky Peach.
“It’s a place where a hand-held pie is as likely to show up at breakfast as dinner, stuffed with eggs, bacon, cheese, and tomato,” Lax says.
“Meat pies are as central to the culinary traditions of New Zealand and Australia as pizza is to ours. To be sure, their heritage is tied to Old Blighty – but unlike their British forbearers, antipodean-style pies are palm-sized, hand-held flavour bombs. And they rule.
“But when it comes to providing more recommendations, I will happily submit that I’m more of a common sewer than a connoisseur. Which is why I’ve called on some more discerning folks to herald some standouts.”
Lax is recommended pies at, amongst others, Stella’s Café in Bluff. This by Richard Langston, television director and former editor of New Zealand music zine Garage:
“All [Stella’s] pies are good, and they produce two of the more exotic varieties of pies: the oyster pie and the mutton-bird pie,” Langston says. “The former is superb, while the latter is something of an acquired taste, as its filling is the meat of a seabird which can only be harvested by local Maori. It’s salty, very salty. It would probably go rather well with a dark beer. In fact, this could make a splendid introductory breakfast to New Zealand.”
Langston also suggests Dunedin’s Godfreys Bakery, Patrisha’s Original Pie Shop in Wellington and Osler’s family bakery in Wairoa.
Bruce Russell, a member of Dunedin bands The Dead C and A Handful Of Dust, and Xpressway Records/Tapes founder, is a fan of McGregor’s Bakery & Tearooms in Palmerston, North Otago.
“I’ll confess to a weakness for the peppery and fat-filled delights of the mutton pie from McGregor’s,” Russell admits. “They have a hard crust in which a lump of mutton filling sloshes atop a pool of liquid mutton fat, which you can tip off if you’re a sissy. I wouldn’t have one every day, as I wish to retain cardiac efficiency for a year or two yet.”
Original article by Tom Lax, Lucky Peach, October 14, 2015.