Tis’ the season for one of our most beloved and traditional festive treats – the mince pie. And whilst we know each bite is a mouthful of Christmas in itself, why do we have to wait a year to have them again?
When our good friends at Mayfair Bakery and Patisserie in Port Adelaide released their Christmas range for the year (including their delicious mince pies), we thought it no better time than now than to delve into a bit of history on the Mayfair, and the origins of the humble mince pie.
The Mayfair is an authentic artisan bakery, and has long been a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike for 150 years. Serving up a selection of sweet and savoury treats, their festive selection of gingerbreads, puddings and of course their buttery-soft, generously-fruited mince pies are enjoyed near and far.
Steeped in history, the Mayfair’s roots date back to the days of feeding sailors, sea captains and warfies from the shops that passed through Port Adelaide.
A proud family and SA-owned business, it has fed the community through two world-wars, the Great Depression, the GFC, Spanish Flu and now the Coronavirus pandemic.
Its history is as deep as that of the Christmas mince pie, although the curious evolution of the fruit mince pie is perhaps a lot lesser known.
So, in the spirit of history and of the festive season, here’s 7 facts* you may not (or may) have known about the humble mince pie:
- Although often thought of as a British recipe, mince pies actually date back to the middles ages, when men returning from crusades and brought with them Middle Eastern treats that contained meat, fruit and spices.
- Do you often associate meat with the word mince? Well, why wouldn’t you? Mince pies were once made from actual minced meat mixed with fruit and spices, and known as “mutton” or “shrid” pies (due to the shredded suet).
- Boiled beef tongue was an essential ingredient in the 16th century.
- It’s said that by the Victorian era, the pies were mostly sweet variations.
- There are several legends as to why they’re served only at Christmas, with one being that the spices resemble the three gifts from the three wise men, and others claiming the original shape was meant to represent Jesus’ crib.
- They’ve been established as “Christmas food” since the 17th century
- It’s also been thought that eating one mince pie each day for the 12 days of Christmas would bring good health and happiness to your family – so looks like it’s time to stock up!
We promise, you’ll thank us later for these facts when you’re at the family Chrissy lunch and get stuck talking to your less-than favourite uncle!
So, with the trees up, the carols bellowing, and the lights already flashing, it’s time to complete that festive feeling with the delicious smell and taste of the Christmas mince pie.
Grab yours today at the Mayfair Bakery & Patisserie, 156 St Vincent St Port Adelaide, SA.