Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Whether sweet or savoury, pies are a dish that can be enjoyed all year round, but they are particularly perfect as comfort food to be enjoyed in the dark and cold wintery evenings. The pie is a Scottish culinary staple, a masterpiece of gastronomical engineering, and contrary to popular opinion they don’t always have to be stodgy and bland. A truly good pie should be a feast of flavour and texture. Taste Magazine takes a look at some of the most succulent, imaginative and creative pies on offer in Scotland ahead of the World Championship Scotch Pie Awards.
The WeeCOOK Kitchen - Carnoustie
Award-winning pie makers The WeeCOOK Kitchen are based at Barry Downs Holiday Park near Carnoustie in Angus. The family-run company has built a reputation for fresh, flavoursome pies and friendly service. Specialising in dishes inspired by family traditions, local and seasonal produce, their signature dishes include the Beef Steak Bourguignon Pie, which was awarded a Silver Medal at the British Pie Awards 2020 and the Chicken & Bacon Pie, winner of a Great Taste Award 2019. The WeeCOOK Kitchen regularly attend farmer markets in Montrose, Forfar, Dundee, Arbroath and Bowhouse, and operate The WeeCOOK Pie Store in Dundee’s Wellgate shopping centre on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Pie Dolly - Leith
Leith Market legends Pie Dolly have been lovingly crafting artisan pies in the capital since 2016. Their bestseller is undoubtedly their traditional Pork Pie that is always a guaranteed sell-out and is also stocked at various places across the city such as IJ Mellis Cheesemongers. Operating a stall at Leith Market most Saturdays, Pie Dolly rotates a selection of their favourite pies such as the Spiced Lamb & Apricot alongside sausage rolls and quiches. Their seasonal pies are always incredibly popular too and favourites include the Hot Cross Bunny Pie, which uses rabbit from Castle Game Scotland in Linlithgow and their Christmas special of pheasant, chicken,
and smoked bacon with cranberries, juniper and thyme.
Clark’s – Dundee
Clark’s Bakery is a Dundee institution that operates 24 hours. It is probably unlike any other bakery you will have visited offering an extensive selection of pies with a myriad of fillings as well as baguettes, pizzas, doughnuts, cakes, and fresh baked rolls. With a passion and respect for traditional baking, Clark’s have been based in Dundee for over 60 years after founder Ernest Earle Clark started producing freshly baked goods from the
back of his corner shop on Annfield Road in 1950. Clark’s now has nine bakeries and a butchery that supplies all the meat for its pies and slices.
Breer Pie – Aberdeenshire
Brother and sister duo Dale and Jodie Breer launched Breer Pie Co in 2020 offering indulgent gourmet pies filled with hand trimmed and slow-cooked cuts of locally sourced meats, all wrapped in their signature homemade wheat berry crust pastry. Their Highland Steak Mince & Mealie pie uses beef from Aberdeenshire Highland Beef, whilst their traditional Pork Pie showcases free-range rare breed pork shoulder from Louise’s Farm Kitchen. Breer Pie Co’s pies can be found in several shops and delis across Aberdeenshire such as family-run Kepplestone Farm Shop and Charleton Fruit Farm.
Jarvis Pickle - Scottish Borders
Crafted in the Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders and winners of 30 British Pie Awards, it’s fair to say Jarvis Pickles’ pies are pretty good. Their Steak and Kidney Pie was crowned Champion in 2020, whilst their Pork and Blue Cheese; Venison, Port & Redcurrant; and Cullen Skink Pies are all winners of Great Taste Awards over the last four years. Jarvis Pickle pies are stocked in shops, pubs, and restaurants throughout the UK and they also offer a Pies by Post service where a pie donation is made to Scottish homelessness charity Cyrenians for every four pies bought.
Dougie’s Pies – Glasgow
After perfecting his steak pie recipe over 22 years as a chef at The Daily Record in Glasgow, Alan Macdonald received so many compliments about his legendary pies that he finally decided to take the hint and start his own business! Using succulent, locally sourced beef and home-made gravy, Dougie’s Pies are lovingly handcrafted and delivered to doors throughout Glasgow and Lanarkshire. Dougie’s Pies are available in single and family-sized portions.
Lochinver Larder – Sutherland
Lochinver Larder was created by Ian and Debra Stewart in 1986. It started as a deli with takeaway sandwiches before expanding to open a B&B and eventually a restaurant, where diners can enjoy great food and stunning views out across Loch Inver. Famous for their delicious homemade pies and warm hospitality, Lochinver Larder has attracted a loyal following over the last 30 years. The pies have become so popular that they can now be sent anywhere across the UK with Pies by Post. Lochinver Larder’s grounds are also home to Vera, a former 4x4 military truck that has been converted into a pie shack, that serves up a range of Lochinver Larder’s favourite pies such as Haggis, Neeps & Tatties, Pork, Chorizo & Manchego, and Venison & Cranberry.
Taste Magazine had no idea who the entrants were to be at this year’s event of the 22nd World Championship Scotch Pie Awards despite being one of their judges! For each of the entrant’s pie was marked simply by a number. The judges declared their annual judging day a huge success as over 70 butchers and bakers delivered more than 400 pies for judging by 60 experts in their field.
The judges were looking for pie perfection across entries in 11 categories: Scotch Pie, Football Pies & Savouries, Macaroni Pie, Steak Pie, Sausage Roll, Cold Savoury, Hot Savoury, Vegetarian Savoury, Haggis Savoury, Bridie and Apple Pies. The winner will be announced at a prestigious lunch to be held at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld on January 18th, 2022.
"Judging day is always a highlight in my calendar and today did not disappoint. It was our first chance to come together as an industry since March 2020 and so it really did feel special today,” said Alasdair Smith, Chief Executive of Scottish Bakers who runs the competition on behalf of the bakery and butchery trades. Adding, “It always heartens me to see such an amazing display of pies which have been lovingly made from scratch from locally sourced ingredients, freshly made daily by skilled craftspeople. I say this a lot but this really is the only competition of its kind, recognising excellence in the preparation of a perfect Scottish pie, and the winners genuinely receive a business boost for every title they take so it’s no wonder they try so hard to win each year.”
Drum roll please ... here is the shortlist for The World Championship Scotch Pie Awards 2021/22 ...
An amazing array of top butchers and makers have made the shortlist of the 22nd World Championship Scotch Pie Awards following the annual judging day held earlier this month when over 70 butchers and bakers delivered more than 400 of the nation’s best pies for judging by over 50 experts in their field. The list includes:
Asher’s Bakery, Nairn
Aulds Bakeries Limited, Greenock
Belford Butchers, West Lothian
Blair Drummond Smiddy, Stirling
Boghall Butchers, Bathgate
Brownings the Bakers Ltd, Kilmarnock
Christie the Baker, Airdrie
D H Robertson, Arbroath
Dales Traditional Butchers Ltd, Kirkby Lonsdale
David at Brownings, Galston
David Stein Butchers Ltd, Bathgate
Dunnabie Farm Shop, Dumfries
Fisher & Donaldson, Cupar
Goodfellow & Steven, Dundee
Grossett Butchers, Dundee
Hugh Black & Sons Ltd, Bathgate
Irvines Bakery, Beith
James Chapman (Butchers) Ltd, Wishaw
James Pirie & Son, Blairgowrie
MacDonald & Son, Dundee
Macleans Highland Bakery, Forres
Mortons Savouries Ltd, Coatbridge
Murdoch Allan and Son Ltd, Hatton
Murrays Bakers, Perth
Nicoll’s Rosebank Bakery, Dundee
Pars Foods Ltd, Glasgow
Pastel Bakery, Dalkeith
Peter’s Bakery, Kirkintilloch
PIES R Us, Selkirk
Rendalls Online Butchers, Stirling
S M Bayne Co, Lochore, Fife
Simon Howie Foods, Dunning
Stuart’s Bakers and Butchers, Leven
Sugar And Spice, Perthshire
The Bread Guy, Aberdeen
The Candy Bar Bakery, Saltcoats
The Little Bakery, Dumfries
Trossachs Pie & Pastry Company, Stirling
W F Stark, Buckhaven
Wm. Stephen (Bakers) Ltd, Dunfermline
Under the watchful eye of Head Judge Ian Nelson, each entry was carefully assessed for its appearance, consistency and of course taste. The judges selected a series of ‘best in category’ pies including the 2022 World Champion Scotch Pie, although for this ultimate category there is still one final stage to determine the winner – a ‘mystery shop’ - to ensure the Scotch Pie entered into the awards is exactly the same pie that is sold day in and day out to happy customers.
As always, the judges were looking for pie perfection across entrants in 11 categories; Scotch Pie, Football Pies & Savouries, Macaroni Pie, Steak Pie, Sausage Roll, Cold Savoury, Hot Savoury, Vegetarian Savoury, Haggis Savoury, Bridie and Apple Pies and the winner will be announced at a prestigious lunch on 18th January 2022 at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld hosted by Carole Smilie.
"Announcing the shortlist is such a momentous moment as it’s the first inkling our entrants get that their pies have been judged to be the best of a very good field” said Alasdair Smith, Chief Executive of Scottish Bakers who run the competition on behalf of bakery and butchery trades. “We took delivery of over 400 entries this year, so to be on the shortlist is a huge achievement. And for me it’s great to be recognising products which have been lovingly made from scratch from locally sourced ingredients, freshly made daily by skilled craftspeople. Roll on the 18th January!”