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A UNIQUE event this weekend is no pie in the sky. Licensee Paul Smith is holding Gateshead's first International Pie Festival and thinks it might be the first of its kind in the North East.

And he's expecting lots of people to flock to the Three Tuns, at Sheriff Hill, Gateshead, to sample scores of pies on offer inspired by recipes from around the world.

"It seems to have captured people's imaginations," said Paul, 46.

"I've had calls from people all over the region who want to come along and be involved. A vicar and his wife from Newcastle say they want to help and will sweep up or wash the dishes if we need them to.

"And our local MP Sharon Hodgson is also bringing her staff along and buying them a pie and a pint for their help with the election."

Festival goers can try traditional pies like corned beef or mince and potato or more unusual creations such as spiced beef and spinach; macaroni cheese; roast veg and feta cheese; chicken and chorizo or haggis, neeps and tatties with Whiskey Gravy.

And Paul, 46, who has run the pub for the past seven years, plans to try them all over the four days. "We've got about 50 different varieties and I've promised myself to try each and every one. So next week I will definitely be on a diet," he said.

He dreamed up the idea for the festival after hearing too late about National Pie Week a few months ago.

"I thought it would be a brilliant idea to celebrate pies so I contacted every big bakery in the North East I could find in the telephone book and asked them what pies they make," he added.

"A bakery in Ashington does a range of 50 different types of pies and when I asked them if they could supply them hot for us they said yes, so that was that."

As well as pies, there will be 16 different real ales to sample and a programme of live entertainment.

The fun starts at 10am on Friday and the festival is suitable for families. Youngsters can be in the pub all day but not after 7pm, though they can remain in the garden if the weather is fine.

Tasty facts IT'S believed pies can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians with bakers to the Pharaohs using nuts, honey and fruits in bread dough.

However, it was the Ancient Greeks who really invented a pastry based pie which was taken up by the Romans who filled them with meat and fish fillings and thought so much of them that they make offerings to their deities.

The delights of the pie spread throughout Europe, via the Romans as they conquered their way around the globe.


MT PASTRY: Paul Smith and Three Tuns barmaid Emily Beirne promote the pie festival at the Gateshead pub
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 29, 2010
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