Lamingtons, Pavlova, Anzac biscuits, rum balls, sticky date pudding and sherry trifle are goodies you’d expect to buy anywhere in Australia or New Zealand. But in Montreal, where poutine, maple syrup and bagels are king, finding a stash of Aussie and Kiwi delights is a treat. Just ask Hugh Jackman.
Hugh Jackman in Montreal
While filming X-Men: Days of Future Past in Montreal (in August 2013), the Hollywood heart throb discovered this gem of an Aussie pie shop in the midst of French Quebec.
Wolverine liked the pies so much he spread the word on social media, tweeting “Best meat pies in the world”.
That’s when things went crazy for pie shop owners Don Hudson and Melanie Des Lauriers. The couple was hounded by the press and were featured on radio and in newspaper articles.
“I was Montrealer of the week! I was looking back at the previous ones and they were brain surgeons and people who were saving people’s vision. Here I am going on and selling lamingtons! I’ve never been on TV and radio so much in my life,” says Hudson.
“He sent his daughter and babysitter under cover to try the food. They brought some back to his hotel room and he loved it,” says Des Lauriers.
Imagine the excitement when Hugh Jackman’s secretary called to hire the pie shop owner to feed the entire crew of 350 people. “We brought them pies, lamingtons, Tim Tams and mini Anzacs,” says Des Lauriers.
According to Hudson, the star is a man with simple tastes when it comes to pies. His favourite pie is the classic beef pie. But the couple are debating whether to name a pie after him.
Montreal meat pie
Pies at Ta Pies cost between $5 and $6 each and there are a range of choices such as vegetarian pies with curried vegetable and sweet potato or Mediterranean style pie with spinach, mushroom, tomato and ricotta.
Traditional recipes from Australia and New Zealand have been tweaked and on the menu are classic beef, chili con carne, Ned Kelly, lamb roganjosh and variations of steak pies including steak with cheese, mushroom or kidney. Their most popular is the butter chicken pie.
The business has been so successful they opened a second store on the other side of town.
So how is an Aussie pie different? According to Des Lauriers, it’s an “individual portion pie hot ready to eat and kept in a warmer.”
In Quebec, the closest thing to an Aussie pie is their tourtiere, which are large pies usually served around Christmas time. They are delicious but not the same as an Aussie pie.
So, are these really the best pies in the world?
Next time you’re in Montreal, you can decide for yourself and drop in at Ta pies, 4520, Avenue du Parc, Montréal or 5525, Avenue de Monkland, Montréal.
Here’s what Don Hudson and Melanie Des Lauriers have to say about Hugh Jackman’s visit.
Christina Pfeiffer was a guest of Canadian Tourism Commission and Visit Montreal.
Do you have a suggestion on where to find the best pies in the world?