THE BRISTOL MINCE PIE OFF

We love mince pies, and we religiously eat them all through December at the distillery. We make it our mission to try mince pies from as many awesome Bristol independents as we can. This year we decided to take it a little more seriously and try to taste them all, it has been a tough job but someone had to do it. Here is a rundown of how things went, along with some of of our favorites. 

 The Pies we tried: The Bristol Loaf, Farro, Pearly King, East Bristol Bakery, Assembly bakery, Harts, Forrest Bakery (from Coffee & Beer), Pinkmans (from 25a Old Market), Marks bread, Bakers & Co, AhhToots, Brockley Stores.

And here is what we thought: We are going to preface this with a note that all of these mince pies were awesome, we are not comparing supermarket pies here, the list is all thriller and no filler (or is that all thrilling with great filling) and you should go and eat all of them! 

The Bristol Loaf - A real solid classic, nice chunky pastry, and quite a chunky size, good filling, presentation made us smile. Good for a mid afternoon treat. 

Farro - Exceptional and interesting pastry as is to be expected, very deep rich filling, quite savory, a strong contender for the cup. One to impress guests with. 

Pearly King - very buttery, great ratio, nice acid balance to the filling, bright and joyous, definitely one of the best classics . A fab mid morning pick me up. 

East Bristol Bakery - Super example of a frangipane pie, nice crunch on the base that is almost shortbread like. Nice bit of salt makes it very moreish. Feels like a strong option for Boxing day. 

Assembly - Nice thick pastry, touch light on the filling, good option with a cuppa. 

Harts - A strong all rounder, pastry is a great texture, crumble top and the filling is nice and chunky, a visually lighter color filling than most fillings. A wonderful option for a breakfast mince pie. 

Forrest Bakery (from Coffee & Beer) - Well presented, touch of frangipane on top (we think), great ratio and a tasty filling. Conveniently delicious with a coffee (and with a beer). 

Pinkmans (from 25a Old Market) - Another Frangipane pie (seems on trend) great balance between pastry, filling, crunchy almonds and frangipane, one of the first we tried and it took and early lead, strong crowd pleaser. 

Marks - light and crisp pastry, classic filling, certainly a pie you can eat several of in a sitting. 

Bakers & Co - Now for something completely different. Caused quite the debate between the team, not about weather or not it is delicious (it is) but weather or not it is a pie. Made from sourdough, it has a crisp top, a tasty chewy filling and an bread like base. Certainly something you should try, and find someone to debate about with. 

AhhToots - Light delicate pastry, super rich filling. Bit of booze in there which is nice, and a good texture with some crunchy nuts. Great option for dessert, feels like it will warm up well and enjoy some cream. Very strong pie game as expected. 

Brockley Stores - The biggest pie in town! Rich filling, available in orange or cider flavor, the team all agreed that the cider one is the way forward.  

Pick of the Pops: 

Steph says: I love almond, so any of the frangipane pies get my vote, Bakers and Co warmed in the oven sat in front of my fire was a happy time. 

Danny says: Here is what I'm taking home for Christmas, Pearly King as my favorite classic, East Bristol as my preferred frangipane, Bakers as an awesome curve ball and Farro as my overall winner. #eatmorepie.

Liam says: All the pies we tried were delicious. For me, a special mince pie is more than just delicious. I don't like overly thick pastry but I do like a mince pie to hold together when you bite, not fracture and ooze everywhere. I also like a decent amount of filling that isn't too sweet, and the pastry to filling ratio is everything. My favorite pie was from Farro. A phenomenal pie that had gravitas without overdoing it. East Bristol Bakery was a very close second. 

Matt says: I didn't meet a mince pie I didn't like. 

And the results: It was very close indeed, and all of the pies were exceptional, but after much back and forth, heated debate and a touch of fisticuffs, here is our top festive 5!

1st: Farro 

2nd: Bakers & Co 

3rd: East Bristol Bakery 

4th: Pearly King 

5th: Bristol Loaf 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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