We went through the Hill Country town of Medina not long ago. Didn't have time to explore but we made time to stop at the Apple Store, Bakery and Patio Cafe, known for award-winning Apple Pie.
I can't speak to the awards but I can tell you that their pies have the most apples. A single pie weighs in at four pounds.
We ate lunch at the Patio Cafe, housed in a cheerfully rustic extension out back of the store.
But the main attraction was dessert. Denny had a monster slice of apple pie, topped with soft-serve apple ice cream, good all by itself.
The Store sells every kind of apple thing you can imagine--cider, preserves, shirts, pictures, spices, recipe books and general stuff.
Even better, the Bakery makes apple pie, apple turnovers, apple strudel, apple cookies and apple bread. Maybe they even make the soft-serve apple ice cream you put over your slice of hot apple pie.
Love Creek Orchards pioneered apple-growing in Texas, and now grows 11 varieties in the hills around Medina.
Apples aren't all that is grown at Love Creek Orchards, either. The owners grow more native Bigtooth Maple trees (Acer grandidentatum) than anyone in Texas. And sell them in the front yard of the Store and Bakery.
Bigtooth maples are the trees for which nearby Lost Maples State Natural Area is named. A relict species from the Ice Age, the Bigtooth maples in the western Hill Country are the primary remnant in Texas. Eons ago when Texas' climate moved toward hot and dry, the trees died out in the state except for Bigtooth pockets in cooler, moister micro-climes like the canyons of the Sabinal River.
So if you've ever hankered to have a maple in your Texas yard, and you're willing to give it a good home with some shade and water to keep the roots cool and moist, you'll want to drive on over to the Apple Store and pick one out.
After you've had your apple pie, of course.
If you can't get to the Apple Store anytime soon, you can order an apple pie from their website, they'll be glad to ship it to you. For the record, I'll say that I like my mother's crust better, and my Perfect Apple Pie filling. But I'll also tell you that Denny enjoyed the Bakery's apple pie so much, he talked about apple pie all the way home.
With a recommendation like that, you might have to try it and see for yourself.
Words and photos by Kathleen Scott,for her blog Hill Country Mysteries. Copyright 2009-2010.