Devizes Pie was a local speciality for hundreds of years, an ancient version of the recipe written in Old English. The Devizes Food and Drink Festival think it is about time Devizes has a new pie and a competition is being run to discover the new pie.
Devizes Pie, a local speciality for hundreds of years, was featured being eaten by Terry Wogan on TV. It also featured in Mrs Dalgairn’s The Practice of Cookery, published in Canada in 1829 and the recipe appeared in The Times in 1956 and the early 1960s.
When the Town Charter (1141) was taken down for cleaning, an ancient version of the recipe, written in Old English, was discovered. The wife of the proprietor of The Bear, hearing about the discovery, had it translated. It was on the menu in various guises at The Bear until about 2000.
Each one unique
It is unlikely that every pie was exactly the same, as it does appear to use up bits and pieces that were available at the time of cooking.
Devizes Pie filling
It always involved an animal head (sometimes pig, sometimes calf) and its brains, and tongue. Then in went bacon, lamb, veal, hard-boiled eggs, spices and seasoning, and it was moistened with gravy and baked in a rock hard flour-and-water crust called Huff Paste that was not designed for eating.
Because of this ‘coffin’ or ‘coffyn’ of pastry, the insides kept edible for a long period of time and was broken open to reveal something like brawn.
It was served cold, sliced.
Time for a new pie!
The Devizes Food and Drink Festival think it is about time Devizes has a new pie, more in keeping with modern tastes.
Or indeed two new pies.
The competition that is being run this year is for two pies, one meat-based, the other vegetarian. Entries must be an original recipe, completely enclosed in pastry – the type is up to the contestant – and served cold.
Sponsored by multi-award-winning West Country Devizes based butchers, Walter Rose & Sons, the winner of each category will receive a £100 voucher to spend on Rose’s exceptional locally sourced meat, fresh fish or choose from their extensive delicatessen products.
The judging will take place on Saturday 25th September, the first day of the 2021 Devizes Food and Drink Festival.
Entrants are to bring their pies to the Corn Exchange for judges:
To enter and for more information, visit The Devizes Pie Competition
Contestants can submit as many pies as they wish, with an entry fee of £3 per pie
The Devizes Food and Drink Festival runs from 25th September to 3rd October 2021.
Ticket sales have been brisk, and some events are now sold out, however, the World Food event on 3rd October is free entry, with tasty samples of national dishes from 15 countries available for just 50p a go. Visit https://www.devizesfoodanddrinkfestival.info/ for more information.