Belgian pie

I reckon Gayle Tomlinson has let herself be suckered for the purposes of this story in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, passed along the counter by that notorious pie-lady, Margaret Marks:

Belgians are turning their backs on the traditional buns and taking the Geordie stottie to their hearts. Greggs [a] has launched its fourth shop in the country and the lure of steak pasties, pies and sausage rolls is whipping up a frenzy among the Flemish. In a country where chocolate and croissants are part of the staple diet, you may have doubted that Greggs, with its British sandwiches, gingerbread men and scones, would go down well. But recent figures from the firm’s latest opening in Leuven near Brussels, shows Belgians are shunning their traditional baguettes for a Greggs wedge sandwich and oval bites.

Greggs still likes to use Geordie imagery in its PR, but it’s been a nation-wide company for the past thirty years and as far as I know has never attempted to introduce one region’s specialities into another, although it may help Tyneside sales to imply that stotty cake is different from a normal bap and that Greggs cares about it. As Greggs says on its website:

Regional Differentiation
There are differences in customer demand for different products across divisions, for example the stottie bread cake is a core product for the North East division, whilst the Scotch Pie is only available in Greggs of Scotland. The divisional bakeries enable product development and production that will meet the customer demand in that particular division.

Their Belgian site isn’t up yet, but I can’t find anything even vaguely un-Belgian in the free breakfast with “coffee biscuits, coffee and chocolate milk” offered here or in the following product list, compiled from this job ad:

  • “Sandwiches”:
  • “Warm snacks with various tasty fillings”, about which we need more details–again, the general concept is also a familiar one
  • “Pizza”
  • “Hot dog”
  • “Fresh soup”
  • “Delicious sweet snacks and pastries”

When someone, some day does undertake to market the British pie into northern Europe, they could do worse than take advice from Weebl, whose pie stories have always seemed to me slightly Belgian, in the nicest possible sense. Here is the pilot, and here is my favourite, his Seventh Seal parody.

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Last updated 22/08/2004

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Flanders (31): Flanders], French: Flandre [flɑ̃dʁ], German: Flandern, [flɑndɛɹn]) is the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium, although there are several overlapping definitions, including ones related to culture, language, politics and history.

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