Warkworth’s Perfect Pies

Warkworth had its 25th edition of the Perfect Pie Competition – and it was, well, sweet fun.

The doors swing open for the Perfect Pies Fest on a warm and sunny November day

Every year the lines get longer earlier, as Perfect Pie festers contend for a)the best seats in the house and b)the best pie samples at $5 per mouth[you get one full pie slice or 2 one half slices or 3 sample pie slivers].  And as a sweet tooth and pie fancier, ye Editor would be in line too except for the need to take some pictures of the  ongoing Perfect Pie day.

Much has already occurred before the 1:30PM doors opening. Over100 pies have been delivered to Warkworth Town Hall Art Centre. The staff have arranged the seating, brought in the trophies and ribbons for the 14 pie categories [ Apple, Other Fruits, Meringue Topped, Maple Syrup, Filled, Pumpkin, Savoury, Senior 65 and over, Junior 12years and under, Men’s Open, Pecan, Warkworth Club, Youth 13-18 Open, and Pie of Local Ingredients]. A staff of servers  set up the pies on the side tables in place ready for the Pie Tasters….. ohhh and let in the 3 distinguished Perfect Pie judges [and will let them out the secret back door before Doors Open for their sanity and safety].

Pies ready for feasting
So when the doors open, some determined pie fanciers streams in. And in a few minutes  the Art Centre is alive with waggling tongues and gnashing teeth.

Pie Feasting and Chattering

There is about a 40-50 minute interval of pie feasting and social chatting before the Perfect Pie Revelation will get underway. This is the perfect opportunity to meet with friends, find out about the upcoming Bazaar, admire a new winter coat and revel in the minuet that is social preening all to the accompaniment of fine country music  melodies.

This year there are more video cameras than ever before. And the rafters are filled to overflow. As people return to the coffee and tea pots for a second brew, Master of Cermonies, Judy Norlock, deftly commences proceedings. City Council members speak, dedications are made and then Judy starts the awards ceremony.

The Best in Category Pies

And THE Perfect Pie  is …

THE PerfectPie by BarbYatsula, a Savoury Pie
The Savoury Pie by Barbara Yatsula 

This is not the first time that a Savoury pie has won top honours at the Perfect Pie Fest .But it is notable that Barbara is a double pie category winner. It is not uncommon for  the Perfect Pie winner to  also have won   2 or more  categories or garner some honourable mentions. As one might expect, the Perfect Pie Maker often has several chances at winning the top prize.

The Auction of the Perfect Pies and Pie Sale

The Perfect Pie Competition is done for a different charity every year . Interestingly, the bulk of the charity earnings are not from$5 admissions but rather from the auction of the pies after. Many pies pull down $100 or greater bids. Some think of the auction as the People’s Choice award. The ranking of the pies in the auction often does not match the judges determination. And 2011 was no exception as two pies received higher dollar votes than The Perfect Pie.

However, for pie lovers the sale of the leftover pies at the end is the real opportunity to plum out some tasty pie treats. Now $5 buys one  complete pie!. This year, ye Editor was able to purchase 2 1/2 pieces of a delicious blueberry custard pie, the remaining big slice of  a ravishing plum rhubarb treat, and two maple syrup pies to die for [unfortunately less than half the pie remained in both cases]. Finally ye Editor can tell you the post pie sale is fast and furious – all the cherry, peach and pecan pies were quickly bought up. So the Perfect Pie Fest is a great social event; but for some, it is also a perfect opportunity to lay in a cache of delicious pies for the coming winter.