The Pie Chest serves a multitude of tasty flavors

Celebrate Pi Day all year long at this pie shop on the downtown mall

lf-Pie Chest-Madison McNamee!

The dark chocolate cream pie has an Oreo-like crust and a dark chocolate, extremely thick and creamy center.

Madison McNamee | Cavalier Daily

To some, March 14 may just be another spring day, but for math geeks and dessert lovers, it is a day of great relevance. Known as Pi Day, March 14 is an excellent excuse to binge on pie, rather than celebrate the numerical value of pi — 3.14. The Pie Chest, a pie shop on the Downtown Mall, extended the holiday this year and made the week of March 12-18 “Pie Week.” Each day included different giveaways or specials, so I decided to treat myself and indulge in some sweet treats.

The Pie Chest offers full pies for $25-28 as well as single slices for as low as $4, but popular flavors typically sell out mid-afternoon. Most of the pies are more cream or custard based, other than their apple or pecan options. All pies can be topped with bourbon vanilla ice cream for $1 or fresh whipped cream for 50 cents. They also have savory hand pies for $5 and pot pies for $6.50. While pie is obviously their specialty, the shop also sells coffee from Milli Coffee Roasters, a popular roaster in Charlottesville.

Being the indecisive person I am, I had quite the dilemma deciding which slices to sample. All of their selections looked enticing, but I ended up trying a slice of the coconut cream, dark chocolate cream and cinnamon crumble apple. I have a slight obsession with coconut, so I had to try that one, and the woman working told me the dark chocolate cream and apple pies were customer favorites. Other options included bourbon pecan, whiskey chocolate chip, banana rum cream, peanut butter and chocolate hazelnut. The savory pies were intriguing as well — however, when I am in the mood for pie, it is difficult to pass up something sweet.

The slices are rather large portions, but the dessert lover in me was up for the challenge. I first tried the dark chocolate cream, and it was extremely filling. The pie has an Oreo-like crust, a dark chocolate, extremely thick and creamy center — all piled high with a layer of whipped cream, topped off with chocolate shavings. The dark chocolate filling is incredibly rich and resembles a thicker version of pudding. While my sweet tooth adored this pie, it was almost too filling and the multiple layers of cream were heavier than one might expect.

Next, I tried the cinnamon crumble apple pie. This one had a buttery, flaky crust and was filled with numerous layers of apples that were coated in cinnamon. The apples were topped in a layer of sweet crumble, which was my favorite part of the pie. I am not typically the biggest apple pie fan, but this one was a winner. The crumble brought out the cinnamon flavor of the apples extremely well, and gave the dessert some texture contrast — something the chocolate pie was lacking.  

My last bites of indulgence were on the coconut cream pie. As aforementioned, I adore anything coconut, so it would be hard for me to not enjoy this slice. However, for non-coconut fans, this pie may be too much, as the thickness and layering is similar to that of the chocolate cream pie. The crust is the same delicious one as the apple pie, and it is then filled with coconut cream and coconut flakes, topped with a large layering of whipped cream and finished off with more coconut flakes. The obvious word to describe this slice would be creamy.

While the pies at The Pie Chest were undoubtedly enjoyable, it was a bummer there were not as many fruit pie options. One can imagine this is because of the season, so hopefully there will be more of a variety soon when the warmer weather arrives.

Since the slices are so substantial, The Pie Chest makes for an optimal shared dessert, but there’s no judgment in the shop if one decides to devour them alone. The setting of The Pie Chest is quaint and comfortable. It’s an ideal place to read a book or accomplish some homework with a cup of coffee and some delectable dessert, rather than a crowded library. The yellow paint and white wood walls are eye-catching and each table has a miniature vase of flowers, making the whole experience in the shop adorable.

Pie can, and should, be celebrated more than just one day of the year. The Pie Chest creates exceptional pies for a reasonable price. Pie has always been one of my mother’s favorite desserts, so I grew up around an immense amount. My standards of good pie are high, but The Pie Chest did not disappoint and would be a great option for any holiday, or even just a treat yourself type of day.

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