Where to find P.E.I.'s best meat pies this Christmas

Whether you prefer an Acadian meat pie, a spicy French-Canadian tourtière or your own family's version, meat pies are a Maritime staple at Christmas. So, who makes the best meat pies on P.E.I.?

'We seem to get more customers every year looking to get a pie'

The Handpie Company in Borden-Carleton is one of the companies that could benefit from a new web portal selling Island food products. Sarah Bennetto O'Brien shows off one of the pies, while head pastry chef Katelyn Craswell works in the background. (Submitted by The Handpie Company)

Whether you prefer an Acadian meat pie, a spicy French-Canadian tourtière or your own family's version, meat pies are a Maritime staple at Christmas. 

So, who makes the best meat pies on P.E.I.? That's what Charlottetown's Aimee Power asked this week on Facebook, receiving a flood or responses. 

Here are a few suggestions, in no particular order.

1. The Mill in New Glasgow

Chef Emily Wells, holding the pie, uses meat pie recipes handed down by her mother. (Submitted by Emily Wells )

The meat pies created by chef Emily Wells at The Mill in New Glasgow are the favourites of the crew at PEI Foodies, a.k.a. food consultants at Charlottetown marketing firm Technomedia. 

"They are excellent!" enthused foodie Curt Duckworth of Wells's pies. Darcie Lanthier and Andrea Stewart also commented that The Mill's pies are "the best."

"Our chicken pot pie and tourtière recipes are based on my variations of recipes I learned from my mother, Marilyn Wells," Wells said. She sources all her meat and vegetables on P.E.I.

"The most magical moments in the kitchen occur when you combine traditional recipes with high-quality ingredients."

The Mill's meat pies range from $25 to $30 and can be purchased through their food delivery site, youmeal.ca, or directly from The Mill in New Glasgow. Larkin Bros. also sell's Wells's pies at the Farmers Market in Charlottetown. 

2. Clow's Red and White store

Clow's Red and White store in North Wiltshire has been using the same recipe for 20 years, and they say their pies get more popular every year. (Submitted by Clow's Red and White)

The pies from what most call "Bobby Clow's store" in North Wiltshire — actually Clow's Red & White — are a popular choice with Islanders. Several people commented via Facebook that Clow's is their No. 1 meat pie stop. 

"We have been using the same recipe for the last 20 years but I think that it is our pastry crust that stands out," the company told CBC via Facebook message.

It makes pies with and without the herb summer savoury, but their savoury pies are the most popular. 

"For many people, the pies are a part of their Christmas traditions, as we have been baking them for so long. We seem to get more customers every year looking to get a pie, so we bake them all year round as well," it said.

Clow's pies are $22 each. Store hours are Mondays through Saturdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3. The Home Place 

Duncan Smith says he makes about 1,000 meat pies a week during the holidays at Broadway 45 in Kensington. (Submitted by Duncan Smith)

The Home Place Inn in Kensington, P.E.I., found its restaurant was so popular that in 2016 it decided to open a separate restaurant called Broadway 45, where award-winning chef Duncan Smith creates meat pies under The Home Place brand.

Smith uses P.E.I. beef and local Larkin's turkeys as well as pork and chicken with what he calls a "secret blend of herbs and spices," and a biscuit dough for the crust. 

He makes about 1,000 a week during the holidays, and about 22,000 year-round. Local schools and sports teams sell them as fundraisers. 

Customers can buy Home Place meat pies at Broadway 45, Sobeys on P.E.I. and other grocery retailers. 

They're $12 or $14.50 for gluten-free version. 

4. The Handpie Company

The Handpie Company makes a traditional Acadian pork tourtière handpie. (Submitted by The Handpie Company)

Want to eat your meat pie on the go? The Handpie Company, based in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., makes the best meat pies, according to Rob Oakie.

For a traditional Christmas offering, they make Acadian pork tourtière as well as chicken pot pie along with many other fillings, including vegetarian. 

"Most of our meats are local and free range, with our chicken being certified organic as well," the company's Sarah Bennetto O'Brien explained of why people may prefer their pies.

"We're also very proud to use certified organic Red Fife wheat that's grown and milled by Kathy at Crystal Green Farms in Bedeque."

Saturday, Dec.16, the Handpie Co. will be having a pop-up at Riverview Country Market and Cafe in Charlottetown, with both hot and frozen pies for sale. Frozen pies are $8 each. 

5. Riverview Country Market

Riverview Country Market in Charlottetown suggests serving their tourtière with mustard pickles. (Submitted by Riverview Country Market)

Riverview Country Market and Café makes its own French-Canadian tourtière​s year-round, as well as classic chicken pot pie. 

"The recipe we make uses ground pork and beef with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg as well as garlic and onion with a beef bouillion broth. We also use all colours of bell peppers," said market manager Trisha Viaene, noting they use a pastry crust rather than biscuit. 

The pies sell by weight, but average about $25 each. Viaene recommends serving them with mustard pickles. 

About the Author

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email sara.fraser@cbc.ca