Quest for the perfect northern Tassie pie

NO  holiday is complete without a mission. 

 On a recent holiday to Tasmania, I made it my mission to find the best pie in northern Tasmania.

  My selfless quest would involve visiting a pie shop in a different town every day for four days.  

My partner was horrified at the thought of me eating “road kill” pies for the next week, and for animal welfare reasons declined to join me on my quest.

Day one

ABOUT 30 minutes east of Launceston is the Elizabeth Town Café, known locally as ETC.  

I chose this as my first stop on my pie quest for a good reason — its reputation as a maker of great pies is second to none, and we have previously enjoyed some great pies at this legendary Tasmanian eatery.

I have fond memories of gobbling down such delicious treats as gourmet steak and truffle pie, and a typically Tasmanian scallop pie on previous visits.

Sadly, this time there were no gourmet pies in sight.

  I chose a curried lamb pie from the menu, as it was the choice most likely to be made from fresh Tasmanian produce. 

The new lambs frolicking in nearby fields were a sure sign of this.  

The pie was really yummy.

The pastry was deliciously short, the chunks of lamb tender and the curry sauce running through it was sweet and fruity. 

A perfect start to my pie quest.

Day two

AFTER a beautiful bush walk through rain forest to Liffey Falls to work up an appetite, day two of my pie quest found us at Deloraine.  

This is a pretty town set on the banks of the Meander River and is located about half way between Sheffield and Launceston.

Our senses drew us into the Deloraine Deli, with a blackboard menu which listed many delicious treats. 

Among them was venison pie.

I can’t remember ever eating a venison pie before so I was excited to be trying something new. 

It came served with a fresh looking garden salad and home made tomato relish. 

 It really did look a picture.

The pie was nice, the pastry was shortcrust and perfect and the chunky venison pieces inside were very tender.

To me though, it tasted just like beef.

I don’t really know what I was expecting — maybe something that tasted a bit richer? 

Day three

HOW do I find the best pie shop in Tasmania? 

Ask the locals of course.

  When I put my question to Sheffield resident, Barbara, her recommendation was the wagyu beef pie shop in Devonport.

We followed Barbara’s directions to the shop and found the subjects of my quest sitting in the display cabinet — Wagyu beef mince pie, Wagyu chunky beef pie and slow cooked Wagyu beef pie.

  I chose the Wagyu chunky beef pie, and took a seat at the table ready to tuck into my pie.

Wow —  this one was the best so far.

The chunky meat filling would have to be at least two inches high, and the meat chunks were really tender. 

 Best of all was the deliciously rich gravy with a light peppery taste to it.  

This one was going to be really hard to beat.

Day four

RAILTON is a little town only about a 10 minute drive from Sheffield, and there is a woman there who runs a shop called the Town of Topiary Tearoom. 

She has a reputation for excellent rabbit pies as well as wallaby pies, and as I hadn’t tried either, I was keen to give it a go.

We called in there and bought three rabbit pies to take home for lunch. 

 The wallaby pie would have to wait for next time.

Now I hadn’t eaten rabbit for about 30 years so I had completely forgotten what it tasted like. 

 Well, it tastes like chicken, believe it or not.  

The pie wasn’t bad, but unfortunately not a shade on the Wagyu beef pie from the day before.

So, at the end of my pie quest my conclusion is that the best pie in the north of Tasmania can be bought from the Wagyu Beef Pie Shop in Devonport. 

 If you are ever down in the Apple Isle, make sure you call in and try one. 

 You won’t be disappointed.

Natalie Seaman is filling in for our usual food writer, Mandy Rowe.