Argh! What have they done to my favorite grape pie from Naples, N.Y.?

Did you ever have grape pie? It’s an annual tradition at our house. Just about every year (we missed last year), at the peak of the Fall foliage colors, my wife and I make the one-hour trek from Rochester to the village of Naples (pop. 2500) at the southern tip of Canandaigua Lake to buy a few grape pies. Wine-making is a big industry in the Finger Lakes region because of the clement “lake effect” upon the weather and there are many, many vineyards situated on the hills between the long lakes. Folks in Naples gained some notoriety for their picturesque community by taking some of those Concord grapes and making pies with them. Many Rochesterians make the trip to Naples in the Fall for the scenery and the grape pies.

On Saturday, October 17th, my wife and I began our journey southward to Naples. It was a sunny day and the farther south we drove, the more pronounced were the flaming red, yellow, and orange colors on the trees. The high hills of the region were awash with the bright colors. Stunningly beautiful!

Above: Fall foliage and one of the Finger Lakes

As we pulled into Naples, I contemplated which one of the many vendors we would purchase our grape pies from. We had always bought our grape pies at Cindy’s Grape Pies on Academy Street, but a couple of years ago, we saw on the Rochester news that owner, Cindy Trzeciak, was retiring and closing the business. I drove down Academy street for nostalgia sake, but was surprised to see a line of people in front of Cindy’s. Huh? We parked the car and eagerly stood in line for our two grape pies, so happy that the bakery hadn’t closed after all.

After securing our pies, we had a nice, leisurely lunch at the Redwood Restaurant down the road. Nothing fancy at the Redwood, just good, simple food. I chose a jalapeno burger and fries while my wife had sliced roast beef on kimmelweck, a Western New York favorite.

Full and content, we drove back towards Rochester with the beautiful Fall foliage once again gracing our way. We stopped at the Wegman’s grocery in Canandaigua for our favorite toppings to go along with our grape pies; whipped cream for my wife and vanilla ice cream for me.

We finally made it home and immediately served ourselves a generous helping of grape pie. Huh? Uh oh! With the first bite we both noticed that something was terribly wrong. One of the best features of Cindy’s grape pie was the thick and very flaky crust. But, the crust on this pie was very thin and soggy. Smelling a rat, I googled “Cindy’s Pies” and discovered that Cindy T. had sold the business to new owners back in September 2019 (see here). Hmph. The new owners had promised “not to change a thing,” of course, but that obviously was not the case. My wife and I were very disappointed. The second pie was exactly the same way. Next year, my wife and I will have to try the other prime, grape pie-seller in Naples, Monica’s Pies.

We thank and praise God for His beautiful creation and for good food and for good cooks who know how to prepare it.

Postscript #1: In case you’re curious, grape pie tastes somewhat similar to blueberry pie.

Postscript #2: When there’s not a pandemic going on, Naples hosts its annual Grape Festival the last week of September. See here.

39 thoughts on “Argh! What have they done to my favorite grape pie from Naples, N.Y.?

  1. Aaaaw! So disappointing! When I saw grape pie the first thing I thought was cold grapes in a pie 😂 So thank you for clarifying its similarity to a blueberry pie!
    That jalapeño burger sounded tasty!!!
    I googled your wife’s sandwich and that sounded really yummy too!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Beth! It was a joyous day, all-in-all, even if the pie was disappointing. I remember when we had our first Cindy’s grape pie maybe fifteen years ago. Both of our jaws dropped because we had never in our lives tasted a pie crust that was that good. I’d describe the flavor of the filling as something between grape jam and blueberry jam, although blueberries are not included.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I immediately thought the same thing, “grapes in a pie.” Similar to a blueberry pie, I’d give it a try.

      Good article, Tom; glad you had a good trip despite the disappointing pie.

      L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine upon y’all. . .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Jeffrey, fellow Upstate New Yorker! Yesterday, I bought another grape pie, this time at a Rochester farm market that was brought up from Candy’s Country Pies in Naples and it was excellent!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awesome Rochester is where I live , One of my Twitter BBQ Followers has a YouTube Channel with lots of Great Content pertaining to Grilling BBQ/Smoking he posted a handful of my cooking videos also the YouTube Channel name is ThisGrillLife it’s been great chatting have a great Day

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, Papa Tom! I am SO encouraged this is not green grapes! I like Concord grape juice so I am confident I will like this pie! Living in PA Dutch country there is nothing more frustrating than when a new store or stand opens advertising authentic PA Dutch cuisine and it’s nothing but a knock off. I feel bad for the tourists who don’t know any better! I have always wanted to visit the Finger Lakes, I have seen beautiful pictures from friends who have been there! Maybe if you and Corinne were interested and Lord willing maybe next fall Nathan and I could treat you and Corinne to a grape pie!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Mandy! I’ve always been huge fan of concord grapes and Welch’s purple concord grape juice. Not a fan of the white grape juice. We would welcome a visit! The Finger Lakes region is a beautiful area, especially in the Fall with all of the changing colors. The long lakes are spectacular. Canandaigua Lake is the most popular destination for Rochesterians and both Corinne and I grew up taking many trips to that lake with our families and we continued after we were married. A friend once owned a cottage there and we had many sleepovers and boating excursions. The old, small summer cottages around the lake are gradually being bought up and replaced with year-round waterfront mcmansions. Watkins Glen at the base of Seneca Lake is an amazing walk-through. Grape pies and the vaunted “Garbage Plate” are the only two regional trademark dishes I can think of.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 👋🏼
      Hey, brother! Yup, we’re definitely seeing a rise in militant Catholic traditionalism in reaction to the deterioration. One of the most ludicrous examples is people craving the old Latin mass – not understanding a word of it but thinking it’s somehow “better” and “holier” because that’s the way it was always done.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! When we first had Cindy’s grape pie fifteen years ago it was amazing. It tasted more homemade than homemade. That kind of quality is rare when you’re paying for it. The pie made by the new owners was disappointing, but the scenery was fantastic so a very good day!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Growing up, I used to eat fruit pies – all varieties – all the time because my parents liked fruit pies and there was a good bakery nearby. But my wife doesn’t like fruit pies, although she did like the previous grape pie once a year because of the great crust.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: crust
      Yup, the crust is a deal-breaker. The new owners are definitely skimping on the lard.
      RE: grape pie
      Wikipedia shows that in the U.S. it can only be found in Naples and a few other limited areas. Naples is only 80 km from Rochester, but the big grocery store chain here does not offer grape pies in the Fall.
      Yes, we really enjoy the annual drive surrounded by the flaming autumn colors.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the interesting Aussie delicacies! Of course, I had to google them.
        RE: Vegemite
        Says it’s made from “brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives.” My wife enjoys brewers’ yeast flakes mixed with a little olive oil on her popcorn.
        RE: Tim Tam bikkies and Lamington
        They both look good!
        Thanks for the little slice of Australia!

        Liked by 1 person

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