With 2017 being designated by Visit Wales as the Year of Legends, the North East Wales Destination Marketing Team saw it only fit to celebrate this with another great foodie challenge – the Legendary Pie Challenge! The region’s talented cooks and chefs have been invited to enter a pie, be it sweet or savoury, that will tell a story about the region or their business. The pie must be made of ingredients sourced wholly from within Wales.
January is a typically quiet month for restaurants and cafes, so introducing a food challenge is a great way for businesses to gain extra footfall by shouting about their special dish and encouraging potential customers to come along and try it out.
There have been 16 entries received, from across Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham, who will be required to feature the dish on their menus from 16th January to 12th February 2017. They are required to promote the dish both within the establishment and across social media. During that period, each participating venue will receive two ‘mystery diner’ visits from members of the public and/or food journalists and bloggers. The mystery diners will rate the overall experience, taste, presentation and creativity. The three highest scoring establishments will then go through to the final at the end of February, which will feature a live cook-off, before the overall winner is decided by a panel of judges.
The winning establishment will have to opportunity to host a stall at the 2017 Wrexham St David’s Day Festival in March and at other tourism events throughout the year, to sell their winning legendary pie.
2016 winners of the North East Wales Food Challenge – One Planet Adventure – have entered their “Hogfather” pie, a dish created by chef Rich Roberts. Rich’s kitchen team are passionate about making the most of the local produce on their doorstep. Speaking about the challenge, Rich said;
“We’ve developed a pie that uses some of the best local ham from our butchers and honey from the hills up here in Llandegla. Supporting our local producers is something that we’ve always strived to do – so when our cyclists and walkers visit here (with many from the North West and Midlands) they can have a real taste of Wales. The competition has also helped put our cafe on the tourist map – so naturally we were keen to take part again!”
The challenge is part funded by Visit Wales Regional Tourism Engagement Fund and the tourism ambassador businesses taking part will each benefit from a professional photoshoot and hopefully make new links within the tourism trade during the challenge.
Destination Manager for Wrexham, Joe Bickerton added; “This is the third year that we’ve run this challenge and each year we welcome new cafes and restaurants who are looking to raise their profile and attract new visitors. The competition really demonstrates the wealth of great produce available in North East Wales, as well as the culinary talent in our kitchens. More and more quality eateries are opening up around the three counties and pulling in visitors from other parts of the UK – so it can only help our tourism economy going forward.”

Note to Editors

The entrants to the 2017 Legendary Pie Challenge are:
The Lemon Tree, Wrexham – Lamb Cawl Pie with Minted Mashed Potato and Buttered Greens
The Fat Boar, Wrexham – Duck, Black Pudding and chorizo Pie with Sweet Potato Fries
The Royal Oak, Bangor-On-Dee – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Mud Pie
The Alyn, Rossett – Turkey, Welsh cured bacon pie with Cabbage, bacon & potato hash with roasted carrots
The Boathouse, Chirk – Chirk Estate Game Pie with own-grown seasonal vegetables and herbs
Caffi Wylfa, Chirk – Welsh Steak, Ale and Blue Cheese Pie
The Mulberry Inn, Llwynmawr – Short Pastry Pie crust filled with slowed cooked lamb simmered in Mead with apricots
Soughton Hall, Northop – Red Dragon Welsh Cawl Pie – served in a delicious shortcrust suet pastry with leek & potato mash and seasonal greens.
The Fat Boar, Mold – Welsh rarebit & ham pie, creamed leek potatoes, with a lava bread pasty
Afonwen Craft Centre, Nr Caerwys – Lamb and seasonal vegetable pie, cooked with Hafod ale
The Buck House Hotel, Bangor-On-Dee – Chicken, Smoked bacon Pie, Horseradish Cheese dauphinoise potatoes & leeks
The Holt Lodge Hotel – Lamb, Leeks and Potato
Set The Bar (Bar and Bistro), Wrexham – Slow cooked steak with oxtail in a rich beefy gravy, topped with buttery carrot and swede mash.
Bellis Brothers Garden Centre and Restaurant, Holt – ‘Strawberry Dodger’s Pork Pie with a Welsh mead and Caramelised onion chutney’ made with local pork, homegrown onions and a Welsh mead
Wrexham Museum, Wrexham – Dragon pie – Jones Brothers Welsh Black Beef, Purple Moose Ale, Perl Las Cheese and braised leeks with scotch bonnet chilli jam
One Planet Adventure, Llandegla – ‘The Hogfather’ featuring Ham hock, Jacks Nana’s secret pastry, Llandegla Forest heather honey and Welsh mustard. With guest appearances from pickled red cabbage, creamy mash and a white wine and wholegrain mustard sauce.