Christmas Feature

Mince pie madness

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Mince pie Christmas

It's considered good luck to eat 12 mince pies in 12 different
houses over the 12 days of Christmas - a fact which probably won't
surprise the UK's largest mince pie producer, Inter Link Foods,
which is predicting sales of 140 million mince pies across Britain
this festive season.

It may seem like Santa and his revellers have bitten off more than they chew in terms of mince pie consumption but this whopping figure is merely a slight increase on last year's 120 million and is further evidence of the steady and enduring appeal of the pie.

It appears the humble holiday delicacy, which used to be mainly meat minus the fruit, has UK consumers enthralled and manufacturers are feverishly keeping up, with every major retailer rolling out their own particular version.

Whether it's deep-filled, organic or even the 'ultimate' £100 (€149) mince pie being offered by London bar Dion which includes organic cranberries, stem ginger, orange blossom water and Hennessy cognac, the pie has been subjected to many makeovers in the name of innovation.

But for the conservative chefs out there, the traditional recipe features dried fruits, nuts, peel, spices and a small serving of alcohol.

Mince Myths

For those who believe the mince pie is merely an enjoyable snack, think again. Superstitious consumers should take heed of the folklore surrounding this seemingly innocuous baked treat.

While eating the first mince pie of the season it's advisable to make a wish and, to ensure good luck in 2007, the mincemeat filling should be stirred clockwise.

As that weren't odious enough, all mince pies should be eaten in silence or the taster risks heaping curses upon his head throughout the new year.

Who Ate All The Pies?

Some have been taking the Christmas spirit to excess this year with outrageous mince pie-related activites.

At the start of the month, US woman Sonya Thomas scooped a hotly-contested UK speed eating title by devouring 46 in ten minutes.

But this wasn't enough to knock Englishman Barry Donovan from his Guinness Book of Records slot - gained after consuming a record three pies in one minute 23 seconds in February this year.

And let's not forget Gus the camel.

The rampaging dromedary gate-crashed his equestrian centre's annual Christmas fair and drank an impressive seven cans of Guinness - presumably to wash down the 200 mince pies he managed to chomp through.

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