This was the best picture I could ‘snag’ from someone’s photo stream on flickr. (Write to me if you want to take it down. I’ll credit you though. Cos I’m nice like that. Good pic by the way)

As you can see from the paper bag, this place is based in Bolton, my adopted home for a few years now. In Wigan they of course have their own supply of pies and pie shops. (The common, really dog-common misconception is that Wigan has more pie shops than anywhere else because they, Wiganers, are pie-eaters!? If you believe this you are not only historically and geographically ignorant but you’re a twat. You’re also wrong.) Pooles of Wigan used to be a decent eatery until Dave Whelan (Unpleasant tory businessman) got his grubby hands on them. You can get Pooles pies in supermarkets or at the DW stadium and they taste nothing, absolutely nothing like they used to. They’re largely overpriced now and inedible. Just the smell of them in the oven makes you gag. That’s DW for you. Tight-fisted, money grabbing and really lacks in quality. Don’t buy them. If you’re in Wigan and you really must insist buying a pie, go to Glover’s in Pemberton or Galloways. The quality of pies there, are like those of the now defunct Twiss Bakery, rich gravy, soft potato, subtle flavouring with the casings not full of air, unlike DW and his pies. Greggs of course should always be avoided. It’s for riff-raff as a rule. Glover’s and Galloways provide chunky steak pies worthy of their name. No gristle or a cup of pastry with a puddle of gravy but something you can gnaw and gobble and get your teeth into, like a prison rapist.

But this feature is about the famous pastie shop in Bolton and more importantly the pasties! If you’re in the town, you’re really limited about decent places to go and things to do, but Ye Olde Pastie Shop shouldn’t be much of a disappointment if you avoid the queues. The pasties themselves are gorgeous of course, soft pastry, secret recipe, spiced with salt and the right amount of pepper, all blended with meat, potato and subtle onion flavouring to create a mini orgy of delight on the tongue. You’re practically half way there once the teeth have sank into the soft, sensual pastry. Importantly, this place is still home- made, or feels like it at least. The problem with your Greggs, Hampsons and Greenhalghes, is that they remain factory, production line based, and you can never guarantee the crap that goes in their products either from waste saving, cynical bosses, or disgruntled minimum wage earning employees, having to work double shifts to make ends meet. Ye Olde Pastie Shop is beyond all of this and the taste of the meat and potato pastie reflects it.