Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One Slice Short of a Pie at the McCully's 'In Your Face Pie Festival'

On Sunday, I was entered into my first (and trust me, not my last) pie eating contest.

Thursday, I got the call from the paparazzi. The reporter thought I might be naive enough to spill my pie eating plan of attack. When the Toronto Star article came out, all it leaked about my strategy for the McCully's Hill Farm 'In Your Face Pie Festival' pie eating thow-down was that I was coming hungry (which was more or less irrelevant because I'm always hungry). My real strategy was to taunt my opponents online: I dished out some trash talk on Twitter and bigged my pie-eating-self up on a couple of my recent blog posts.

But I don't think Stratford Beacon Herald reporter Mike Beitz follows my blog, or my Tweets, because he kicked some serious pie-eating-blogger butt on Sunday. If you're wondering what the flavour of "humble pie" is for me this week... it's delicious, in-season, perfectly-baked blueberry. Unfortunately, as much as I loved it, Mike Beitz loved it more, and I hereby doff my purple-stained cap to him for his well-earned victory. Check out his humorous write up in Monday's Stratford Beacon Herald.
The 2nd annual McCully's Hill Farm 'In Your Face Pie Festival' was [otherwise] a great success all around. Lots of folks and families came out to enjoy horse drawn wagon rides, a petting barn, a BBQ serving McCully's unbelievably good maple syrup sausage-on-a-bun, kids playdough pie making,  tonnes of pie of course, and knee slappin' barnyard music courtesy of Bob Burchill and  friend.

The pie eating contest began at 2pm. I was flanked by the soon-to-be-champion Mike Beitz on my right, and the leader of the Green Party of Ontario, Mike Schreiner, on my left. The other contestants were Eugene Zakreski, Director of the of the Stratford Tourism Alliance; photographer and 2009 reigning champion Lori-Ann Franklin; and locally renowned musician Mark Fletcher. Our task: to eat one whole pie faster than all the other contestants.

We don't need video replay to call this one, but let's watch it anyway:

Everyone deserves congratulations for being a good sport (OMG I sound like such a loser).

But genuine special thanks definitely goes out to the Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner (pictured above with me) for coming all the way out to Stratford just for the contest. Although the follow-up Toronto Star article suggested that he didn't get messy at all eating the blueberry pies, this is clearly some vampirish evidence to the contrary.

After the pie eating contest, it was on to the slightly more dignified pie making contest. Celebrity judges (pictured left to right) included Ruth Klahsen, Stratford's celebrated artisan cheesemaker who runs the Monforte Dairy at its new location on Griffith Rd.; food writer par extraordinaire Marion Kane; Stratford Culinary Tourism leader and co-founder of Slow Food Perth County Danielle Broadhagen; and Andrew Coppolino, food writer and host of the Food Show on Radio 570. They had the not-so-tough job of tasting fifteen of Perth County's finest and most original pie creations, and scoring them for qualities such as taste, texture, and originality.

The winner of the Best Pie went to Soiled Reputation's Tina Vanheuvel for her exquisite peach pie! Runner-up was a chocolate-goat's-cheese-cake pie entered by Bradshaw's Carrie Wreford. The Most Creative Pie award went to my sister-in-food Yva Santini for her ooey-gooey Smores Pie.

What a day! Thanks to Sara Bradford, manager of McCully's, for making this fun community event happen. And count me in for next year's pie eating contest: I'm going to review the tape and restrategize!

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