Hello Laura and James,
Thank you for taking some time out from “pieoneering” to answer my questions. I love the idea behind “Pieoneers” and cannot wait for you to open up a branch in the Düsseldorf area 😉
I already know that you are originally from Yorkshire, but what made you come to Germany?
Laura: I studied German and Philosphy at university, so I’ve always been interested in Germany. As part of my year abroad I taught English at a small school in Bad König, Hessen. Since then I always fancied trying life in one of the big cities to sample a different side of German culture. So after I graduated from university, I decided to try my luck and came to Berlin to find work.
James: I studied German as well. I’d been to Berlin on my year abroad and it seemed like an amazing place. I made the decision whilst battling with my dissertation and it gave me something to look forward to. I only came for four months to begin with and just kept staying.
Where did the idea for “Pieoneers” come from?
Laura: I worked at a butcher’s in my home village (Ford’s in Glaisdale) during holidays from university where I made a whole range of meat pies such as pork, game and steak etc. I decided to see if I could get the ingredients for pork pies in Germany. I was a bit skeptical at first seen as savoury pies just don’t exist in Germany so I was surprised when I realized I could make pork pies up to the same standard as what were being sold at the butcher’s. I made a couple of batches for friends who really enjoyed them, so James and I decided to see if selling the pies on markets and through private orders would work.
Are Germans ready for British pies?
Laura: Umm..probably not! Most Germans seem really confused by the concept of meat in pastry. We’ve had a lot of people coming up to us at markets saying they thought they look like cakes! So at the minute British, American, Australian and New Zealand expats are our main customers. We have a few German friends who have come round to the idea of wrapping pork in pastry, so we think we just need to work a bit harder with persuading the Germans!
James: Germans definitely seem a bit freaked out by the concept even though most people seem to agree that a load of meat wrapped in pastry fits a German’s palette perfectly. I’m sure they’ll come round in time.
I am sure they will. Germans already eat “Würstchen im Schlafrock“, so there should be room for “Fleisch im Schlafrock”, too 😉
Where do you get your ingredients from?
At the minute we buy everything from the cash and carry. Our aim is to find a local farmer or supplier who could provide us with locally sourced, organic ingredients.
What are your favorite pies?
Laura: Back at home there is a pie and mash restaurant (Humble Pie in Whitby) that do an amazing sausage and black pudding pie. We’re going to try our own take on that and hopefully start selling a pork and black pudding pie!
And what is your top seller?
Well, we only sell pork pies and spiced sweet potato pasties currently. They both go down really well, but most people come to us for our pork pies!
Any big p(ie)lans for the future?
We have a Pie Party coming up at the end of October! We’re still in the planning stages, but the plan is to hold it at Das Gift which is the bar whose kitchen we use to bake the pies. They also sell our pies. We want to have parties every three or four months or so as a platform to launch new pies, and also just as a marketing gimmick.
We also want to start doing mail orders for the whole of Germany. But that could be a few months down the line yet…
I am keeping my fingers crossed for your plans and please keep me posted on the mail order progress! I would love to try the spiced sweet potato pasties.
And finally: Things you tell Brits about Germany (good and/or bad):
Laura: Rent and groceries are so cheap! In Berlin at least, it’s such a laid back lifestyle and there seems to be not as much stress as there is back in the UK. As for bad things, German bureaucracy can be a torturous process to go through, especially when we were trying to get our trading licenses! Lack of British things can also be a downside… oh, and no proper bacon!
JAMES: Germany is definitely more relaxing. I love England, but it doesn’t seem like a very nice place to live at the moment.
Great last words, James 🙂
Thank you very much for your time!
If you wish to find out more about “Pieoneers”, this is where you can get hold of Laura, James and their delicious pies:
Twitter – @BerlinPieoneers
Facebook – facebook.com/PieoneerPies
Website – www.pieoneers.de