Tuesday 22nd February 2011 was a great day for the humble Cornish pasty. As reported by the Cornish Pasty Association:
The Cornish Pasty Association (CPA) is celebrating after receiving Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for its world famous pasty. The decision from the European Commission means that from now only Cornish pasties made in Cornwall and following the traditional recipe can be called ‘Cornish pasties’.
A pasty can still be baked elsewhere in the country, so long as it was prepared in Cornwall. The West Cornwall Pasty Company, Pasty Presto, and The Pasty Shop to name but a few will be glad of that. With a bit of luck this could be good news for the Cornish economy, as it is hoped that demand for the real thing will grow.
I’d like to think that this will be an end to the word “Cornish” being used to describe the pale imitation pasty that is prevalent across the UK, made with flaky pastry, crimped on top and filled with grey slush, corned beef, or worse. Let’s hope so. From the middle of March purveyors of imposters will need to change those signs.
Sadly, a friend reminded me that Ginsters pasties are made in Launceston, and can legally be called a Cornish Pasty under the new rules. For the uninitiated, the word ‘Ginsters’ is a bit of a swear word amongst Cornish pasty appreciators across the land, a blight on our pasty landscape. They did once upon a time make a nice proper pasty with short pastry called the “Beast of Bodmin” which came in a cardboard box, but this didn’t take off and we’re now left with those horrible tasteless flaky ‘pressed’ pies sold in motorway service stations and overpriced railway station cafes. But this is a rant for another time, the world isn’t perfect, and people do need jobs, I suppose.
Head over to the Cornish Pasty Association to find out more about the PGI status, and download a fine recipe. But what happens if you cook some pasties at home outside of Cornwall, can you call them Cornish? Or will it be a ‘pasty made to a traditional Cornish recipe’? Maybe PGI status is only applicable if you try to sell it. That’s a debate to be had!
So here’s to the Cornish pasty, the humble hoggan, made in Cornwall!