So the Christmas period has passed, no doubt you all ate and drank far too much, the mad rush of the shops is fading into memory as the long dark January looms ahead – a month with no money as you spent it all on getting drunk at shitty office parties and payday seems like years away.
With this in mind we pose the important question; Where were the seasons most luxurious, opulent, delicious and most likely expensive mince pies from? We give you three guesses…
Marks and Spencer? No….
Waitrose? No again…
Co-op, Sainsburys, Tescos, Aldi, One stop, Lidl… no no no no no no!
Oh no, forget the above. The best mince pies of 2014 were bought to us by DHL global express delivery courtesy of Mr & Mrs Gunter, who turn out to be true craftsmen in the art of delicious Christmas pastry snacks.
The light gentle pastry is packed in a protective paper cocoon where it is slowly warmed through successive flights at ever increasing temperatures – Birmingham – Leipzig, Leipzig – Bahrain, Bahrain – Bangalore. Cold, colder, cold. Cold, colder, warm. Warm, colder, hot. This unique process tempers the crust into fine microlayers, trapping small microscopic pockets of oxygen depleted air into the surface of the pastry. The repeated pressurization cycles allow the ingredients within the filling to really infuse and become distinct within their tasty rich sauce, the temperature changes ensure a distinct and even blending of the sweet and spicy notes.
And here comes the really important part – a rough five days ‘maturing’ in a hot humid Indian customs office – the true operation here is a closely guarded secret, passed on through generations of workers perhaps from the legendary Mr R Kipling himself. No one is fully sure of the entire process, it may involve some finger poking, x-raying, dropping or sniffing – some say that each worker only knows one tiny part of the overall five day process and depending on the day of the week it subtly changes, but overall each small action of every participant ensures the total exuberant finish. The final violent delivery by scooter courier ensures a ‘pitted’ finish resulting in a larger surface area for your tongue to taste the melty rich buttery crust.
On a hot sweaty day close enough to Christmas we were finally handed our DHL express delivery mince pies. The excessive wobbling of the delivery mans head made us suspect he may have already sampled the goods contained within, fortunately they arrived in prime condition avec a small bottle of port each to enjoy that evening. The fact that they arrived complete in the usual mince pie shape, lacking bite marks or the subtle signs of nibbling suggests that they were probably packed by my Mum – no mince pie passes my Dads hands without some form of ‘tax’ (although perhaps he did pack them and that is where the other 4 ended up…).
The tasters unanimously agreed that the DHL express delivery mince pies were the best they had ever tasted and have been awarded ‘mince pie of the year 2014’.
(Don’t worry, the package contained more than mince pies…. no one is that crazy)