Once, pies were only for picnics and parties. But run your eye down the 40-plus pie menu at Michele Albano's gourmet pie shop in Norwalk, (Michele's Pies, 666 Main Avenue, Norwalk, 203-354-7144 ) and you'll be thinking just about any day is a perfect pie day. With creative flavors like ultimate banana split, chocolate peanut butter dream and tiramisu, as well as classic fruit pies, handmade cookies, tea breads, pastries and more, Michele's traditional and non-traditional flavor pies (maple oatmeal raisin!) are made entirely from scratch with ultra-fresh ingredients, just the way our grandmothers baked. In fact, Micheles grandmother was her inspiration. "I became interested in the art of baking at an early age," Albano says. "I learned from my grandmother, the best teacher of all. I have been told that my baking is of the old fashioned kind and that most people have not had a pie like mine since their grandmother."
In 2006, her pies were snapped up when she began selling them at farmers markets and craft shows in Vermont and Fairfield County, and a 2007 National Pie Championship First Prize (in the nut category for her chocolate pecan bourbon pie) followed. The Norwalk store, open since 2008, also provides pies to several Fairfield County restaurants and specialty stores. How does she manage to combine a thriving pie business with the demands of a family? Her partner, Kelly, is a key ingredient. "Were juggling around school stuff, the bakery and business. It helps that you put your heart in it and that were following our dreams," she says. So, if you thought pies were passe, drop by Micheles Pies and see how remarkably modern this deliciously old-fashioned standby can be. Store hours are: Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 AM to 6:30 PM, Thursday - Saturday, 9 AM to 8 PM and Sunday, 10 AM to 3 PM.
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