I’m not exactly a foodie. We don’t generally travel for specific food reasons preferring instead to eat local and find the specialities of the region. I always prefer a local diner or restaurant than chains and have been known to go out of our way if someone has made a strong recommendation in a certain locale. But here lately, it seems I have been judging locations based on their pie.
Now for starters, there truly are worse things to judge a place in that pie. It’s a definite labor of love. Secondly, I have always been a fruit gal. Give me a tart or danish or pie any day instead of cake or chocolate or other such nonsense. Fruit. Any and all kinds – except cherry which goes to an infancy allergy. When you add the seasonal bounties of summer berries and peaches and the fall pears, plums and apples into the equation, pretty easy to narrow down choices.
At the end of September, I found myself with a couple of friends toodling around the Shenandoah valley of Virginia which Is renown for apple orchards. It seemed a natural and our research led us to a blog about the best pies in the Valley. We had three lunches to fill so why not?
The first was a bust. They were so popular they had sold out both the pie of the day and the lunch special before our 1 pm arrival. Lesson learned and put them on the list for next time – early.
At the second locale, we thought we’d be disappointed by the lack of fruit pies on the menu and ordered a peanut butter fudge pie on chocolate graham cracker crust and something called a buttermilk pie. Hmmm. Not being a chocolate or peanut butter gal I will report my companions were dying with love for this three inch high icebox pie that “melts in your mouth like a Reese’s peanut butter cup”. I will take that as a rave review.
I approached the buttermilk pie with caution not generally liking cream pies and still stung by the lack of fruit. It was just great. Also served icebox cold, it was a southern classic akin to the super rich chess pies we’ve previously appreciated and nestled on a flaky traditional pre-baked crust. We all loved the pie and counted the Edinburg Mill Restaurant as an appropriate recommendation on the valley pie list. Check them out at http://www.edinburgmillrestaurant.com/menus.html
Our third pie experience was head and shoulders above the others and not technically in the Valley. The small town of Sperryville used to be best known for the gateway to Shenandoah National Park. I suppose to most it still is. To us it is now the go-to pie visit at just under an hour from home.
There were five of us meeting midway, so we sampled three different fruit pies. Absolutely spectacular. The berry, apple and cherry two-crust pies had been cooked with fresh fruit, minimal sugar and no syrupy pectin or thickeners allowing them fruit to star in flavor and depth. And the crusts were handmade by a master absolutely holding up on the bottom and as flaky as a summer sunburn. At $3.50 a slice the generous slice was a sixth of a pie making it more than a snack and substantial enough to share. If you must.
So if you’re anywhere in the region, get thyself to Sperryville Trading Cafe and Market, https://sperryvilletrading.com/ , for the best pies in the region.
More pie adventures to be shared soon!