Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A Slice of Heaven in Copenhagen - The American Pie Company

Copenhagen is city spoilt for choice when in comes to quality konditories & bakeries, so much so that one almost gets cinnamon bun fatigue... tough times indeed! However, I recently discovered something a little different that revived my jaded tastebuds - The American Pie Company. I caught up with owner Grace Lovig to find out more.

A Family Affair

Grace makes all her own pies in the shop, from scratch. Every time I go in the shop she emerges smiling from the kitchen smiling through a cloud of flour. As  a baker Grace is clearly passionate about what she does. So, what inspired it all? 

"My great grandmother started a small resort called Wilson's Camp Prattville in Lake Almanor to feed and lodge the gold miners & loggers of the time. She was a fantastic cook. Her pies were pretty good too. My grandfather took over when she died and he just happened to have a wife who was an amazing pie maker. The restaurant part of the resort is still run by my grandmother Carol and the resort is run by my brother. People travel miles for a taste of her pies. I spent my summers there working in the kitchen. After college I did a small stint at CIA , California Culinary Academy, but most of my practical training was done at the Ritz Carlton Mauna Lani and Campton Place, San Francisco. I left the food industry after my daughter was born and ran a production company for 15 years. Last year and decided it was time to return to my true love - food."
A true love that inspired Grace to swap the sunny West Coast of America for chilly Copenhagen. 
"I met some exchange students at University of Oregon from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. I hooked up with them when I decided to come to Europe to travel. And every time I left I ended up missing it and returning. Met a Danish man, married, had a child, got a dog, bought a house in the suburbs, same ol, same ol, blah blah and then ditched the guy, kept the kid and the dog and moved back to the city!!!! Big changes, all of which included the birth of the American Pie Company."

The American Pie Company

A New Path in Life - The Bad Ass Baker

Grace has dreamed of opening a bricks & mortar pie shop since she wrote the cook book 'American Pie' with her business partner Erin. 
"The Danes loved our take on having fun cooking American sweets and pies. After running my own production company for too many years I felt i wanted to take a new path in my life. I knew I wanted to return to food, so I started putting the thoughts in motion, looking for kitchens and talking to people in the industry. I started creating the energy to make the dream come alive. I had no idea how it would unfold but i knew it would somehow."
 A meeting with one of Erin's clients, Dorte, a huge fan of Americana, gave them their next business partner and the stimulus to get the ball rolling. As Grace says,
"we both felt that the gods had just handed us the missing part of what now makes up the all woman triage of The American Pie Company. Erin Chapman has owned an advertising agency for many years here in CPH. She is known as the Pie Pusher. She handles all PR and Marketing and design. Dorte Pripp is our CEO. She is a business powerhouse. And me…. I am the pie lady otherwise known as the Bad Ass Baker."

Everything We Love In One Dish

So, what inspires Grace's recipes?

"Everything inspires me. Often I have dreams of what pies i am going to conjure up. More often than not I draw my inspiration from peoples desires. People desire, and I mean desire, chocolate and caramel and salt and fresh fruit and butter and sugar. Its never hard for me come up with a new combination or revisit some of our oldest and most loved American staples and add a Gracie twist to it. Thats the great thing about Pie. Its everything we love all in one pan."

On a recent visit I tested out Grace's Pecan & Bourbon Pie - a normal pecan tart is one of my favourite sweet treats, but add bourbon to a  deep pie? It was fantastic. The pastry was just right and the bourbon helped to take the edge off the sweetness.

As this is Denmark Grace also has a Cinnamon Breakfast Pie as a staple on the menu - a kind of familiar safety net for the wary Danish palate! The pie just melts as you eat it - all the best components of Danish & American baking rolled in to one dish.

Fear not if you don't have a sweet tooth - there are also savoury pies on the menu - the Chicken & Thyme is highly recommended.

Tempted to pay a visit? You should be. The shop is on Skindegade in the centre town. Find out more here.

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