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It's the great Tri-State pumpkin pie debate, Charlie Brown

Posted at 9:00 AM, Nov 19, 2015
and last updated 2017-11-22 05:51:29-05

Editor's note: In 2015, we did a taste test of seven local pumpkin pies. 

CINCINNATI – Before the deluge of pumpkin-flavored lattes, breads and beers, there was pumpkin pie – and a debate about who makes the traditional Thanksgiving dessert the best.

Six WCPO employees plunged fork-first into the controversy when they decided to rate locally purchased pumpkin pies in a completely unscientific blind taste test. (You can watch their reactions in the video above.)

The seven pies in contention were all purchased the morning of the tasting at bakeries and other stores in Greater Cincinnati. For the tasting, the test’s administrator assigned each pie a random number and removed identifying markers such as bakery boxes, bags or wrapping. Pies were referred to by their respective numbers, rather than name, to prevent bias. (Yes, we take pie tasting that seriously.)

Here are the pies by the numbers:

  1. Trader Joe’s
  2. Busken Bakery
  3. Frisch’s
  4. Servatii
  5. The BonBonerie
  6. Kroger
  7. Bluebird Bakery & Cafe

The administrator then paired tasters by two, gave each a plastic fork and served them slices with whipped cream for topping. She also gave each participant a form to write feedback and rate each pie on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the worst, 5 being the best).

There was one clear winner by popular vote: Frisch’s.

Three out of six tasters rated Big Boy’s entry a 5. Praises cited its “sweet, cinnamon-y, good crust” and called it “a very pretty pie!” and “SO GOOD.”

Frisch’s pie was polarizing, though: Those who did not love it really hated it. One taster described it as having a “grease wax crust” and “not much flavor,” rating it a 2. Another agreed on the crust and gave the pie a 1.  

Here's something worth considering, though, before you rush out to buy a Frisch’s pumpkin pie: BonBonerie’s entry on average offended all six tasters’ palates the least. The O'Bryonville bakery’s pie landed a single 5 rating and nothing lower than a 3.

As one taster wrote, the pie had "very good crust” but could "use more cinnamon." And more than one respondent described the pie as "traditional" -- but in a good way.