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 Aussie movie star Hugh Jackman.
Hugh Jackman in Montreal
While filming X-Men: Days of Future Past in Montreal (in August 2013), the Hollywood heartthrob 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 featured on radio and in newspaper articles.
Hudson is from New Zealand and has lived in Australia.
Des Lauriers is from Quebec and has a special place in her heart for Australia.
“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 undercover 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 owners 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.
Hugh Jackman’s favourite pie is the classic beef pie. And the pie shop owners are debating whether to name a pie after him.
Montreal meat pie
Pies at Ta Pies cost between $5 and $6 each.
There’s 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 to suit the Quebec palate.
On the menu are classic beef, chili con carne, Ned Kelly and lamb rogan josh.
There are variations of steak pies, including steak with cheese, mushroom or kidney. Their most popular pie 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 to a Quebec pie?
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 the tourtiere, which is a large pie 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.
Drop in at Ta pies (4520 Avenue du Parc, Montréal or 5525 Avenue de Monkland, Montréal).
Watch this video to find out what Don Hudson and Melanie Des Lauriers have to say about Hugh Jackman’s visit.
Do you have a suggestion on where to find the best pies in the world?
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