How far would you go to eat something delicious? I mean something that is considered among the best of the country? For me I would plan a whole vacation around it, where that will end up being just one of the many reasons I have selected that city. I say city because more often than not that’s where I tend to go. Although I have definitely seen my share of country landscapes I prefer to visit them as a side trip not necessarily as the focal point of my travels.
I have said on countless occasions that I love food. I love to be surprised by what experiences I have especially after I have read about them. If it is a meal I have been longing for, for more than a year, the anxiety and excitement builds. I suspect now the same goes for those in my life with a celebration approaching. I do have a tendency to spoil them and what better way to do that then to bring a piece of the best foods to our neck of the woods.
When you Google the words “pie” and “Michigan”, the Grand Traverse Pie Company will be among the first three results that come up. It has only been open since 1996 and in that short time it was established, expanded, and become the stuff of legends. I read about it many moons ago and at that time I heard it was the home of the best chocolate pie in the country. I am always looking for the best of the best, whatever that maybe.
With this place in the swirling around in my mind I decided it was time to try it last year. It was Fathers Day and I couldn’t think of anything special to get my dad. I wanted it to be something no one else would ever think of and something he would really enjoy. The man is never happier than when he is eating. It must be in our genes.
While he is not particularly a sweets guy he does love anything chocolate. So on a whim I decided to order the Grand Traverse Chocolate Cream Pie. I briefly looked at the other cream pies but I didn’t want to start to crave something I wasn’t going to have. I did however make a mental note that there was a Coconut Cream Pie that my mother would love, but we will get to that in a minute.
I loved that I could pick the day my pie would arrive and it was right on time. Once we opened it and took some pictures, it was time to dig in. My father’s face and lap said it all; he couldn’t get it in fast enough so he was dropping it all over his shirt. For me that was a sign that I did good.
I am not a chocolate lover at all but out of curiosity I took a small bite of this pie. I had to know what it tasted like. I was very pleasantly surprised. My father’s palate is not as discerning as mine so I was shocked by how creamy and rich the chocolate was. Prior to this the only experience I had with chocolate cream pies was the kind you make with instant pudding poured into a pre-made graham cracker crust. Now every time I see one of those I will say silently to myself, “Those poor fools who do not know how much better that could taste.”
There is nothing like a good vacation to change the course of your life. This speaks to me on such a deep level and such is the beginning of this company’s story.
The owners of the Grand Traverse Pie Company, the Busley’s, decided to get into this business after a trip to San Diego where they met Liz Smothers of the Julian Pie Company. That is a bakeshop where the apple is a fruit in just about every pie. Just from looking online I already want to taste the peach/apple variety. It sounds amazing and definitely one of a kind.
With the information the Busley’s gathered from Liz, they returned to Michigan and began making pies with their showstopper, cherries. Cherries are produced mainly in Michigan so it makes sense this is where they started. From there they moved onto other fruits, and ultimately the cream based pies. If you are visiting one of their many Michigan and Indiana shops you can also eat there as they are serving up soups, sandwiches, coffee, and of course of slice of any of their forty pies.
Fast forward to this year and Mothers Day. I am an equal opportunity gift giver so I knew it was time to order that Coconut Cream Pie. Even better this is a flavor I knew I would love and was aching to see how good it could be. Based off my last experience I knew I would be blown away and more importantly so would my mother.
Well I definitely hit the nail on the head with this one! It was out of the park delicious. I never imagined the coconut creamy inside would match the soft non-crumbling crust, of course garnished with coconut. I mean the cream filling tasted like whipped cream heaven. It wasn’t too sweet and tasted so fresh. There was no doubt it was fresh as a daisy before it was packaged and brought to my door. When the chocolate pie was delivered it only lasted one day in my house. At least the coconut one made it for the week.
The Busley’s have a saying: “Warming Hearts and Community through Pie”. I love this and its true. Except, they are warming hearts not only in their community but all around the country.
To see the passion this couple has for their business you need to view this clip:
If you are getting married they can even create a giant wedding pie. And if you are not hungry enough to tackle a whole pie by yourself no worries they make smaller versions. It is like having a personalized pizza, for me it always goes back to the salt.
I have never shipped pie before so I was hesitant originally. But I had nothing to fear. This company knows what they are doing. I have shipped pork (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2013/01/for-generous-and-great-gift-giving-ideas.html), cupcakes (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2012/08/for-baked-goods-down-butter-lane.html), and cheesecake (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2012/04/for-eileens-extraordinary-cheesecake.html) all with similarly great results in case you are in need of any. It is also important to note here that the Julian Pie Company ships their baked goods as well. I will need to try those too, you know for a pie-to-pie comparison.
I think the next pie I will try will be the cherry. I think its time to try one of the fruits and since this is the cherry capital of the world its only right that this comes next. Maybe this will be the way I start my birthday month when December rolls around.
When you have a quality product it doesn’t matter where it originates. It simply motivates you to work a lot harder to get it within your reach. When a pie is this good thankfully all you have to do is click the order button. Ah, the benefits of technology.
I may be the queen but on special days, my parents get to eat like they are royalty too.
Now, show of hands who could go for a piece of pie?
P.S. This coffee is the perfect companion to any pie.
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