Last Updated on March 7, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Chunk of Devon pies with Sandford Orchard cider
One of the memories that has got me through this third lockdown is my staycation in Devon which I was fortunate to enjoy during the warm, early days of Autumn. What struck me then was not only the magnificent natural beauty but also the quality of the local produce and the talent of the small producers. I enjoyed myself so much that I am hoping to be able to return later this year once travel in the UK opens up. In the meantime, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review some terrific Devon treats: an assortment of pies from Chunk of Devon and a botanical selection of ciders from Sandford Orchards. The two together make a perfect pairing and, while my garden hardly emulates the rolling hills of Devon, I lost no time in heading into the late February sunshine to savour my lunch.
Chunk of Devon pie company has won multiple awards as befits a company that has been making pies for over 15 years. Sausage rolls and pasties are also available as are vegan options. The pies do not contain additives and the ingredients are sourced as locally as possible, from high welfare farmers and producers. Pies can be served heated or eaten cold and I enjoyed them both ways. I tasted four pies from the British Pie Award Selection Box which is available for £30 and contains two of each filling. I began with a steak and ale pie for lunch along with a jacket potato and a pile of steamed Savoy cabbage. Oh, the joys of working from home! The sun shone, I drank a glass of cider and promptly took the rest of the day off. It was the finest lunch I’d eaten all week. Inside the buttery shortcrust pastry, I found the pie was generously filled with chunks of tender meat and tiny cubes of roasted carrot and caramelised red onion, all wrapped together in a tasty gravy.
Good things are best shared and when the rest of the household finished work for the day, I cut up wedges of pie to serve along with some cherry tomatoes and crunchy baby carrots as a tapas course. My household consists of omnivores, a non-red meat eater and a vegetarian – as do many families these days – so the assortment of pies was super useful. Chicken, leek and bacon went down very well, filled with smoky bacon, chicken and leek all held together in a creamy sauce. The vegetarian was impressed with the butternut and goat’s cheese filling which was rustic and very tasty. Sheep pie is an unusual name and is filled with mutton in a redcurrant gravy along with peas, swede, carrot and mint. It is the pie equivalent of a Sunday roast and I am all for using less popular cuts of meat. This was my personal favourite of all the pies as I particularly liked the minty sauce that bathed the meat and vegetables.
I love a pun, so the brand name Chunk of Devon really appeals to me. And, if you want to hone your pie-making skills, there is a video that will teach you to crimp a pastry. That’s perfectly timed for those who have baked enough lockdown banana bread to last a lifetime.
I enjoyed my pies with a selection of ciders from Sandford Orchards. This Devon based brewery has developed a fabulous range of botanical ciders which will see you through to summer when sipping these creative drinks will make the sunshine feel even brighter.
I popped open the Raspberry cider which has a rich ruby tinged hue and a subtle taste of raspberry. It felt so summery that I added a couple of fresh raspberries to my drink and looked forward to making some summer cocktails with the Sandford Orchard selection. Serving suggestions for the ginger cider includes a hot toddy (where is a head cold when I need one?) but I think I will use mine for a robust chicken casserole along with apples, garlic and onions. The chef’s treat, naturally, will be pouring a glass for myself. They say one should never cook with alcohol one is not happy to drink and I could not agree more. I am looking forward to celebrating my apple trees bursting into blossom with a glass of elderflower cider. For the time being, raising a toast on my lawn is as close as I can get to being in a pub garden.
Until I can get back to Devon, I am satisfied with bringing Devon to me. Luckily, there is plenty on offer online from companies that continue to prove why Devon is a county with greats produce and products.
Chunk of Devon pies can be ordered online and delivered across most of the UK
Sandford Orchards have an online shop that delivers to mainland UK only.
We are looking forward to being able to travel again – do check our roundup of Devon boutique hotels and places to stay for when that day comes!