Australia celebrates a tasty national icon

By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.com.au

CHUNKY pieces of real meat, thick juicy gravy and the sweetness of tomato sauce. Nothing quite beats sinking your teeth into a good ol' Aussie pie and everyday Gladstone residents put away hundreds of them.

It's part of Australian culture and this week the icon is being celebrated as part of National Pie Week ? September 12 to 18.

The pie is as trendy as ever in Gladstone and local bakeries and pie stores generally agreed the plain pie was the most popular, although this was closely followed by cheese and bacon.

Every bakery and pie shop has its little tips on what makes its pies the best, but as far as Clinton Park Bakery owner Marilyn McMurtrie was concerned "they stay secrets''.

When the bakery started 14 years ago with a 72 year old baker the pies were made from recipes he learnt as a 15-year-old apprentice and today they still make 191 pies a day.

"Back to basics, old style recipes,'' Marilyn said. Going "back to scratch'', Marilyn said, ensured the pies were longer lasting, better quality and had less fat and less preservatives.

Craig's Bakery baker Ron Craig had a similar theory on why they sold about 40 dozen pies a day.

"Australian culture is known for a good meat pie ? there's standards that have got to be met,'' Ron said.

He said it was important not to cut corners and to make sure every pie was high quality.

Maggie Calliope Village Bakery baker Ken Williams said they sold 200 pies a day and they had become so popular, they made up more than 50 per cent of the bakery's business.

Family Crust Bakery shop assistant Debbie Amos said they sold more than 185 pies a day and attributed some sales to the bakery's flavours.

"We have a lot of flavours that are unique to the store,'' Debbie said.

"They like the proper meat. We don't have grissle and people comment on how we use real meat.



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