Once upon a time…. a long, long time ago (September 2011)…. in a land far, far away (Naples, NY)…… there existed a wonderful Grape Festival that I was brought to as a surprise by my wonderful hubby.

Naples Grape Festival

Naples Vineyard at the Naples Grape Festival

overlooking Naples Vineyard

This festival is in Naples, NY which is located in the Finger Lakes region and is the grape pie capital of the world.  It’s the perfect place to sample sweet and delicious grape pie, especially during this annual Grape Festival.  People from all over flock to the festival.  There is wine tasting, food, crafts, music, and more!  The festival signifies the beginning of fall and they even have the World’s Greatest Grape Pie Contest where judges taste more than 20 homemade grape pies and decide which tastes the best.  Oh, I even had me some grape-flavored ice cream that I still dream about to this day.

Grape Ice Cream at Naples Grape Festival

Grape Ice Cream!

Grape is my favorite flavor and purple just happens to be my favorite color, so needless to say – I was in heaven at this festival!  I bought a jar of grape pie filling to take home with me and finally got around to whipping up a delicious pie.  I will be sharing the recipe and pictures with you in my next post so stay tuned!

The festival this year is Sept. 29 – 30th and the hours are 10am – 5pm.   I highly recommend making the trip out there if you can!

Naples Grape Festival

Naples Grape Festival

While I’m speaking of pies, I thought I’d introduce you to a little kitchen gadget that my mom bought for me a while back (thanks, Mom!) you might not have heard about.  We love pies in our house (especially my hubby) and when fall rolls around and it becomes pie-baking season I like to break out the pie crust shield.  These can truly make or break the whole look of your pie, and can prevent a crust from turning dark brown or black.  Even if the pie itself was perfect, the crust cannot bear the high and long term temperatures in the oven without nearly scorching.  Folding the foil around the pie crust edges was an accident waiting to happen with me, someone who is always finding new ways to burn myself while baking or cooking 🙂 These are simply the easiest way to protect your beautiful pie creations as they just sit on top of a pie crust while baking.  You can add them part way through your baking, at half time, or 3/4 time, etc.  I wouldn’t add it right at the beginning because you won’t get as golden brown of a crust and you will crush your fluted edges or fancy design you worked so hard on (that may be why my pie did not come out super pretty) 🙂  Whether you make a regular flour crust, graham cracker crust, cookie crust, etc., you will benefit from using these pie crust shields.  Now if I screw up a pie, it won’t be because the crust is burnt…it will be for something else I did wrong (which is pretty common)!  OK, sorry about that little tangent I went off on, but I thought it was important 🙂

Be on the look-out for the grape pie in your near future!

Pie Crust Shield from Pampered Chef

Pie Crust Shield from Pampered Chef