By Michael Doran
Award winning wines are readily available in the Yarra Valley and now there is a growing list of award winning pies to match.
The Big Bouquet is perhaps best known for growing beautiful gerberas and its herd of alpacas strutting around the Healesville property.
The homemade pies in the Café may soon become the main attraction after winning silver and bronze awards in this year’s Great Australian Pie Competition.
“We all thought our pies were pretty good but these awards show the professionals agree,” Natalie Kerst, the pie’s creator said. “I’m pretty proud that we did so well in a national competition with hundreds of entries.
Natalie and husband Sander have owned the Big Bouquet Farm for around four years now. Together they run the farm, including the flowers, alpacas, gift shop and the café.
“We wanted to enter the competition for the last three years but we have just been too busy to get an entry in on time. This year we got in by the skin of our teeth,” she said.
“We put in our two most popular pies, butter chicken and smoky beef and we entered exactly the same pies as we sell in the café. We were blown away when the smoky beef won silver and the butter chicken bronze.”
“They are both made from my secret recipes and all our fillings are slow cooked, lots of flavour and we think we’ve nailed it.”
“My grandad was a pastry chef and mum was a fabulous cook so I got my passion from there. I love to cook with my six year old son Mika, with his sister Anya, two, watching on.
“We get lots of international tourists come through and often they want to eat something aussie, so a pie is the obvious choice.”
“I think tourism is definitely going to expand when the Yarra Valley railway goes ahead, it should give Puffing Billy a run for its money. Anything that grows tourism in the valley helps us all.”
The Great Aussie Pie Competition attracted 1600 entries that were judged over four 4 days in September at Fine Food Australia Exhibition in Melbourne.