As American as … grape pie?

Several years ago my husband, David, mentioned that he really loves grape pie, which he said he ate often as a kid. Surely not, I said. There is no such thing as a grape pie. One simply can’t make a pie from grapes! You must be confused, I insisted.

He then told me this story. Shortly after moving to California, he mentioned to his girlfriend his fondness for grape pie. Much confusion ensued, since said girlfriend was as convinced as I was that grape pie didn’t exist, while in David’s universe grape pie trumps apple and cherry as the most popular variety in the pie pantheon.

This being the early days of the interwebz, David went online to buy a grape pie to show his girlfriend, which is when he got his first inkling that maybe grape pie wasn’t quite as popular as he had thought. Undaunted, he ordered some grape pie filling and had it shipped from the East Coast. When it arrived, he baked it up in a piecrust, but before he showed it to his girlfriend he purchased an apple pie from the grocery store, hid the apple pie, and put the grape pie in the box. “See, it’s a grape pie! You can buy one at Safeway,” he told her. This fact will not surprise you in the slightest if you know Dave.

Grape pie is made with Concord grapes, which means that it’s very much an East Coast specialty. Says Wikipedia on the subject:

Grape pie made with Concord grapes is a regional specialty of Western New York, including the Finger Lakes region, Pennsylvania and other areas of the United States where the grape is grown. … Grape pie is a specialty and tradition of Naples, New York, host of the Naples Grape Festival and home to Angela Cannon-Crothersm, author of Grape Pie Season.

If you were reading my blog last summer, you would have seen my post about visiting David’s family’s vacation home in upstate New York. That would be in Western New York. In the Finger Lakes region. About 25 miles from Naples, New York. And thus Dave’s insistence that everyone eats grape pie suddenly makes sense.

Last time we were in New York we picked up a jar of grape pie filling from the world’s epicenter of grape pie-dom, Monica’s Pies in Naples. It’s been lingering in the back of the pantry ever since, since I don’t particularly care for grape pie, which to me is overly sweet and tastes like nothing more than pie crust smeared with some grape jam. But I do particularly care for my husband, and we’ve both had a crap week, so I think it’s time to bake some pie.


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