The meat pie needs a Michelin-style rating system, a Southern Cross University academic argues, and I’m all for it. There’s a great deal of pie grief in the trial and error required to find a good pie, although that’s not what has prompted the call of Dr Robert Smith at the Australasian Regional Food Conference. Dr Smith wants a star rating system for pies as part of a North Coast meat pie trail to entice tourists off the Pacific Highway and into the bypassed towns and pie shops. The meat pie, he says, has retained many of its traditional qualities in the pie outlets of the North Coast, and while that may be true I am sure the Hunter Region has pies at least their match.
We need a Hunter Region pie trail, so where will we start? I suggest Terry and Patty’s Pie Shop in Cooks Hill, and next stop would be curry pie with peas and chilli sauce at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels on Newcastle’s harbour foreshore. Where next? And what makes a good pie, and, for that matter, what makes a pie not good? I look for a gravy that’s not too runny, a pastry that flakes at least on the top, a case that holds the contents, and if it’s curry, my fave, a curry pie made for people who like curry pies, not for people who don’t like curry pies.
So, where are the best pies of the Hunter?