Last April several of us came up with the idea of doing a pie trail in Central Montana. We put the word out to search for restaurants and cafes that served homemade pie.
Ideas soon started arriving in my email and I was eager to begin.
At first, I thought I couldn’t cover that many miles unless I grouped them together. Then, the first time I stopped at two cafes in one day (and consumed two pieces of pie in one day) I realized I couldn’t continue to eat like that!
Also, my goal of getting to all of the suggested cafes in a couple of months was not going to be met. In fact, I’d be lucky if I visited all of the cafes before summer was over.
One ground rule I set was to not have ice cream with my pie and I managed to only break that rule twice! My rationale – the first time it was a warm summer day, I was hungry, and it really was the perfect treat on top of that piece of pie. The second time the cafe owner said it simply was part of the pie. OK, I fell for that and it was worth it!
So, just how many pieces of pie were consumed in my travels? Nineteen. Yes, nineteen pieces of pie, although it took me four and a half months. That averages out to about one piece of pie a week.
Since my tastings covered summer and early fall I began to see the pie offerings change. Some of those light fruit pies were gradually being replaced with pumpkin pie and mincmeat pie.
Many folks have asked me where my favorite pie was.
Well, each one had something special that I really liked. Most of all I enjoyed meeting the hard working pie bakers and hearing their stories. I also met so many local people and if they discovered what I was doing, the stories started to flow. I tried to put many of those stories in the comment section on the bottom of our Pie a la Road page on our website.
Looking back on my “research” I have decided that pie evokes memories for many people. Perhaps it was a grandmother or aunt that made the perfect flaky pie crust, the tallest meringue, or someone’s mother who peeled apples for hours to make pies for a harvest crew. I enjoyed the stories as much as the yummy pie I consumed.
My advice – hit the road, Pie a la Road, and enjoy a piece of pie.