Walk down any street in any town in Cornwall around lunchtime, it can seem as if every other person has held of a paper bag from which a delicious aroma of potatoes, onions and steak in pasty sally forth. The unmistakable Cornish Pasty, our original ‘street food’. If is wasn’t for the pasty in Cornwall there wouldn’t be the half-dozen bakeries along the high street in every Cornish town. It is not much mentioned, but its certainty taken for granted here, how recession proof and plentiful the shops to buy fresh bread, currant buns, saffron cake, fancy cakes and sweet pastries are in Cornwall.
Of course there’s clotted cream with protected (PDO) status that puts it up there alongside Champagne and Parma Ham. Quality that can’t be imitated. Cornish Food is truly special, added to which our location, with the sea on three sides, and our special climate bathed in the Gulf Stream keeping it wet and mild that makes the quality of our raw ingredients. Artisan producers will wax lyrical about the magic of briney airs, lush all year-round grazing and early springs which breath a subtlety of flavours, sweeter, finer, stronger and better than anything that can be produced in the UK.
Not all that many years ago, things were very different. Your average tourist expected nothing more luxurious than a cream tea, ate fish and chips on the sea-front and would have sampled a pasty or two. I remember when there were only two restaurants in the entire county worthy of special reputation. Continue reading →
Having known Cornwall all my life, claiming itself a gastronomic capital of food would not have seemed remotely likely 25 years ago. Ask anyone, from Cornwall or beyond, and only Cornish pasties and clotted cream for the ubiquitous cream tea would have summed up food from Cornwall. Rick Stein had opened his first business in Padstow in 1974 and so back in 1986, his restaurant was the best of maybe of two, possibly three, places to dine out in Cornwall. Everything else was very mediocre and I can remember thinking: Just once, before I die, someone will love me enough to take me to eat at The Seafood Restaurant. It represented the pinnacle of food heaven that was out-of reach in terms of cost to the average Cornish wage.
So much has changed. Rick Stein had broadened his empire, great restaurants are aplenty and ridiculously good food is everywhere even in little cafe’s and bistros.I now get sniffy if even pub food in Cornwall isn’t freshly cooked and locally sourced.
Of course clotted cream and the ‘genuine’ Cornish pasty will always been synonymous with Cornwall and wonderfully they’re now both protected with special geographical status to stop inferior imitators giving the foods the wrong image. Motorway service stations would have us think as pasty came wrapped in plastic, contained minced beef and diced carrots and tasted rather dull.
Food hype is everywhere and all over the nation, food enthusiasts are all shouting for their own region. No wonder then that ‘fun’ polls to find Britain’s favourite food spot should inspire passionate food fights, where each county champions their own local food producers, their regional specialties and top-notch dining establishments. If local people don’t support their local producers they disappear, and if a single region can establish a reputation as a foodie destination then it can thrive like no other.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the British Food Fortnight there is a sizzling campaign raging across the county to get us to vote for our favourite food location.
If Cornwall wins it will be good for everyone. The recognition will help to put Cornwall in the national spotlight for the food and drink we produce. It will help the small food producer, the farmers and fishermen. It will support our chefs, our restaurants and hotels and jobs in related industries for local people.
Currently the prize is being hotly contested between Lincolnshire and Cornwall, although Hampshire is not far behind and voting will close on 11th September.
So what has Lincolnshire got? Some sausages and other pork products we think. Does that fairly compare to the wealth of food produced in Cornwall? I don’t think so, yet Lincolnshire folk are voting enthusiastically in their thousands to win. In contrast, only a relatively small foodie minority is pushing the ‘Love Cornish Food’ campaign, albeit with valiant effort. If Cornwall’s to win it’ll only be with concentrated support from all quarters.
Let’s examine the reasons: Cornish clotted cream and the traditional Cornish pasty are now protected as unique to this region as Champagne is to its. On the other hand, Lincolnshire is the largest potato, wheat, poultry and cereal producer in the UK, and undoubtedly has a fine agricultural tradition even if they are producing on a factory-like scale. Continue reading →
It’s been a great year for the Cornish pasty so far and an even better one for Crantock Bakery who were yesterday crowned maker of the best Cornish pasty in the British Pie Awards.
For over 25 years Crantock’s has been lovingly making hand-crimped traditional Cornish pasties at their bakery near Newquay.
At the British Pie Awards the exceptional flavour was recognised by the A-list of judges including food writers Xanthe Clay and Charles Campion, celebrity chef and food campaigner Rachel Green, and author Tamasin Day-Lewis.
Nick Ringer, Managing Director of Crantock Bakery said: “We are all delighted to have won this award. It is particularly gratifying to win in the year that PGI status was awarded to the Cornish Pasty. We really were up against the best authentic pasties made in Cornwall and the fact that ours won shows we genuinely do make the best Cornish Pasties in the UK.” Continue reading →
Jason claims his is the first Cornish pasty shop in Denmark: “I love pasties, and I was sure that the Danes would too. I have been delighted how the people of Copenhagen have taken to them.
“Denmark is famous for its bakeries but they mostly specialise in sweet products. I felt there was a gap in the market for a quality product and wanted to see how the Cornish pasty fared against the Danish pastry.
Keen to offer the Scandinavians an authentic Cornish product, Jason selected Crantock Bakery to provide him with a range of pasties and sausage rolls.
Jason is even able to market his products as genuine Cornish pasties as Crantock’s follow the rules set down by the recent decision from the European Union to award the pasty Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. Continue reading →
Having made my PGI pasties last week to celebrate St. Piran’s Day there may have been yawning disappointment if I served what looked like a repeat performance…and then to have the exclamation of outrage with the first bite, “What no meat?!”
I followed Nathan’s ‘not a Cornish pasty but made with Cornish ingredients’ recipe and in a farewell nod to British Pie Week made this instead.
Now that this recipe has been turned into a pie, no Cornish folk need get flustered by the carrots.
The patron saint of tin miners and Cornwall, and since one of my son’s is a Piran, it’s only fitting then, since the Cornish Pasty has just received a Protected Geographical Indication(PGI) status, That I should make some Cornish pasties to celebrate.
I’d always thought that I had to be at least three generations Cornish before I’d be able to make a proper one. I might have lived all my life here, but I was forced to follow my mother into the maternity hospital in Plymouth. So my crimping standard will doubtless let me down…
A genuine Cornish pasty has a distinctive ‘D’ shape and is crimped on one side, never on top. The texture of the filling is chunky, made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), swede, potato, onion with a light seasoning. The pastry casing is golden in colour, savoury, glazed with milk or egg and robust enough to retain its shape throughout the cooking and cooling process without splitting or cracking. The pasty is slow-baked and no artificial flavourings or additives must be used.