I’m certainly no traditionalist when it comes to Philadelphia foods—my iconoclastic leanings see me prefer the roast pork sandwich over the cheesesteak, wit or witout—but changing my beloved TastyPie? What manner of sacrilege is this?
On entering a trusty Wawa not too long ago, I was confronted with one of these creme-colored boxes, purporting to house an authentic TastyPie.
For the sadly uninitiated, a TastyPie is traditionally housed in a blue cardboard box, the top wrapped in cellophane (a Coconut Creme example shown below, opened in the only proper TastyPie extraction method):
Were these changes merely box-deep, or had some terrible, marketing-driven alchemy altered the substance within?
I had to find out . . .
Not all of the TastyPies offered for sale were in the new packaging; only the “big three” of Apple, Blueberry, and Cherry were wrapped up in this new finery on my mid-December Wawa run. The seasonal pies, plus the oft-neglected second tier pies (the delicious Lemons, Peaches, Coconut Cremes, and Eclairs) remained in the former blue uniforms.
A quick perusal of the TastyKake web site reveals no information about the change in wrappers, but this new wrapper appears related to their opening of a new baking facility in the Philadelphia Navy Yard in late 2009:
“By commissioning our first product line in the new bakery, we take a significant step toward the completion of this transformative capital project and we reaffirm our commitment to providing Tastykake’s loyal customers with delicious, wholesome baked snacks ‘just like mother used to make,'” said Charles Pizzi, Chief Executive Officer for Tasty Baking Company. “The decision to begin this transition with Tastykake’s beloved pie portfolio was purposeful in that the new packaging consumers will enjoy not only enhances freshness but more importantly, reflects the immense opportunities for innovation and efficiencies that we anticipate with the grand opening of the new Tastykake Bakery in 2010.”
(Emphasis added; quotation from Bakery Online.)
Fine, well, and good. But is the pie the same? And what is with this small tin the pie is packed in?
The new packaging looks like it will prevent the dreaded “smushed pie syndrome” that would occasionally afflict TastyPies, as the cellophane of the old style wrapper, while presenting the pie in its individual flaky and browned splendor, added little structural integrity to the wrapper. And anyone who has had most of the chocolate cover of the Eclair stuck to the bottom of the cellophane will surely celebrate this change.
I’m happy to report that the new style pie I had—for this is not only a new wrapper but the product of a new baking facility—was quite fine: flaky as ever, even more delicious browning, and solidly intact in its armor. I mean, look at that crust! Brilliant, just brilliant.
The true test, for me, will be if they can pull off a Coconut Creme pie with the same level of quality at the new facility, and I look forward to many taste tests to come.
Sadly, though, there is only one way to open these new packages, with a tear strip on one side. I’ll miss the debates about proper opening procedures . . .