Cornwall Food

Cornish pasties receive Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status

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.

Ginsters. A swear word amongst Cornish pasty appreciators. Here is a Ginsters sponsored train heading off to Cardiff in Salisbury.

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!

Food Swansea

Cornish Pasties in Swansea, Wales

When I moved to Swansea in Wales last September, I wondered where I might find a decent pasty. I’m Cornish, so it’s one of the things we tend to think about.

I scouted around the various bakeries in and around Swansea’s city centre and market, and was not impressed with what I saw. I sampled one or two, and they seemed to contain a mixture of corned beef (which should, in my humble opinion, be made illegal) and grey matter, surrounded by flaky pastry. So, writing off the idea, I mentally labelled Swansea pasties as “Unnatural” and tried to forget about it.

That is, until we were walking to meet our friends Matthew and Amy, who write the Living in Swansea blog. Whilst walking along Bryn-y-mor Road, like a shining beacon, I spotted a sign. And the sign read “The Gower Pasty Company”. I felt that I had been saved. Sadly, at that time of day it was closed, so I had to contain myself and visit it another day.

And come back we did. This photo shows the bucolic display of a basket of pasties flowing out onto a wooden bench next to a sheaf of corn. A sign advertises that some of the baked wares come direct from the Crantock Bakery, which is a good thing in my opinion.

Upon entering the Gower Pasty Company, I learned that as well as selling pasties from Cornwall (in a variety of flavours) they also make their own Welsh black beef pasties, and Welsh Gower lamb pasties. Now, these both contain carrots, so I should warn any Cornish people or pasty connoisseurs to avoid any untoward shock (proper Cornish pasties never have carrot in them. But these are Welsh pasties, so I feel it’s allowed).

Sadly, they had run out of these tasty-sounding Welsh pasties, because, according to the purveyor of oggies behind the counter, they can’t keep up with demand. Their kitchen did look quite small. So, they are in discussion with the Crantock Bakery to import their ingredients to Cornwall, have them made there, and shipped up with the other pasties. That sounds like a good idea.

I ended up with a normal beef mince pasty, but it was tasty and seasoned just right. Tehmina had a steak and stilton one, and she enjoyed it very much. The pastry was just right on both of them.

So, finally, I can officially say that the best pasties in Swansea are from the Gower Pasty Company on Bryn-y-more Road. If you like proper pasties and live in Swansea, then next time you’re in town nip down there and support them.

Proper job!

Blogs Food

Seriously Good Food Blog: The Grubworm

If you enjoy food, love cooking, and tease yourself by looking at mouth-watering photos of delicious things to eat, go no further than The Grubworm.

Beef Panaeng by The Grubworm
Beef Panaeng by The Grubworm

The author of The Grubworm is a stunning cook, a brilliant wordsmith, and an all-round foodie. His recipes, restaurant reviews, and ruminations on drink (and drinking establishments, of course) will make you hungry or thirsty, guaranteed. Just look at the photo above. Mmmm.