Unmisteakably good: Queenstowner Jodi Walters' virtual pie-making competition entry - a truffle oil and Arrowtown Brewing Company IPA steak and two cheese pie


In recent years, Arrowtown Autumn Festival’s included the wildly popular Pie, Pint and Pinot, featuring people’s specially-created gourmet pies.

This year, of course, the event, which attracted about 1200 punters last year, has been canned, along with the rest of the fest, due to the Covid-19-induced ban on mass gatherings.

Except it half-pie hasn’t been.

In an inspired move, Jeannie Crawford, owner of event sponsor, Arrowtown’s The Fork & Tap, has launched an online, at-home version of the competition.

Her pub’s Facebook page is taking entries from pie-makers up till 4pm this Sunday – the day the event was due to be held.

Crawford says the response from house-bound pie-makers, during this lockdown, has been amazing.

“They’re getting in and making pies and putting their pints [or pinots] together and sending in these marvellous photos.

“It’s so neat – it just shows you that people want to get back to those events again and those great gatherings.

“And everyone’s a great cook, it seems.”

So how do you judge a pie comp when you can’t taste the pie?

“It’s how much you want to eat it, perhaps, when you see the photos,” Crawford says.

The categories comprise ‘most creative’, ‘best flavour combination (based on description)’, ‘best connection with Arrowtown (think local ingredients)’, ‘best pie with pint/pinot combination’, ‘The Fork & Tap Staff Choice’ and ‘wooden spoon prize’.

Crawford says one entrant’s used home-grown rhubarb and blackberries picked from Sawpit Gully, above Arrowtown.

Another pie-maker’s entered from Christchurch, while there’s also been interest from friends and ex-staff keen to enter from the UK.

The main prize is a pint a day for 30 days from The Fork & Tap, once it’s reopened.

Other prizes include craft beer the pub’s cellared over the past five years, and some of the region’s best pinot noir wines.

And there are child-friendly prizes for kids’ entries, too.