As a ‘foreigner’ from over the border, there are several things that immediately spring to mind when I think of the city of Cardiff: the Welsh Assembly, Welsh National Opera, Cardiff City FC, Cardiff Castle … and Clark’s Pies.

There are a lot of people who agree with me too, particularly as regards the latter; for the last time I looked Clark’s Pies were voted as the 80th favourite thing in the UK on the Great Exhibition website! For ‘Cardiffians’ this will come as no surprise, for those further afield it might require a bit of explanation.

Clark’s Pies were first made in Cardiff in 1913, the same year that Coco Chanel revolutionised female fashion at her boutique in Deauville, France, and Henry Ford introduced assembly-line production in Detroit. The company’s founder, Janet Maud (Mary) Clark went on to have seven children, all of whom followed in her footsteps, with several of them flying the nest and starting up their own Clark’s Pie bakeries in Bristol, Swindon, Reading, Newport, Gloucester, and even in Cardiff. Over time many of the businesses have now closed, but Clark’s Pies are still going strong in Cardiff.

The only remaining Clark’s Original Pies bakery operates from 23 Bromsgrove Street, Grangetown, which was opened by Mrs Clark’s grandson, Dennis Dutch, in 1955. And it was Dennis’ father, Arthur Dutch, who had the ingenuity of registering the ‘CLARPIE’ trademark in 1934, and this trademark is still stamped into the bottom of every Clark’s Original Pie.

Today, Clark’s Pies is run by Dennis’s two daughters, Amanda and Beverley, although Dennis, now in his eighties, still plays a part in the business.

Clark’s Pies, then, are firmly rooted in Cardiff’s history and culture; they even have their own section at The Cardiff Story, a new heritage museum in the city, which details the history of the company. Of course, nowadays Clark’s Pies can be found throughout South Wales and the West of England, and are even available to meat pies lovers nationwide via the company’s new pies by post services which can be ordered through their website.

Indeed, Clark’s Pies is a business which, although having a great tradition, is always looking forwards. Over the past year or so, for instance, the company has developed new packaging, as well as a longer shelf life on its pies, which was achieved without additives or preservatives. The longer shelf life, now extended beyond it’s original 48 hours, is especially important in the current economic climate, dictating that customers do not have to throw product out if trade has been slow.

The company has also recently increased it’s van delivery fleet, allowing it to reach even more customers with its longer shelf life pies, which cover the entire range: Potato & Beef (the original Clark’s pie); Tikka Flavour; Steak Pie; Balti; Chicken & Mushroom; Original Pasty; Cheese & Onion Pasty. And of course, the short crust pastry is legendary, particularly in Cardiff and South Wales where the company is an institution.

A modern company with a rich history, Clark’s Pies is keen to progress and keep up with new developments whilst still retaining the image of being Cardiff’s traditional pie.

For further information, telephone 029 2022 7586 or visit the informative website at www.clarkspies.co.uk. – and maybe even take part in the weekly ‘Free Pie Wednesday’ competition on Facebook and Twitter