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Cornish Pasty Week has Arrived!

Written by Drew Dann on

The Cornish Pasty Association will be busy throughout the week, working with Cornish pasty makers across the length and breadth of the UK, as well establishments that sell the much-loved pasties, to ensure a week that is packed with fun, special offers and information about the rich heritage of the iconic Cornish staple – so be sure to keep an eye out for an extra special treat!

Jason Jobling, Chair of the Cornish Pasty Association, said, “It’s about time the Cornish pasty gets a whole week to itself, for people to celebrate, enjoy and indulge in its deliciously unique reputation and heritage and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring this idea to life. This humble dish may have its origins down the Cornish mines, but it is now worth over £300 million to the local economy and is without doubt one of the nation’s favourite foods.”

What Makes a Cornish Pasty?

Much like many traditional recipes, everyone makes a pasty will have their own unique version that has been handed down from generation to generation, but have you ever wondered what makes a genuine Cornish pasty? 

To be considered a Genuine Cornish pasty, any product sold using the Cornish pasty name must be produced west of the Tamar, in the stunning county of Cornwall. The genuine birth place of the Cornish pasty is currently protected by a European Union (EU) Protected Geographic Indication (PGI), which is an approved framework that provides legal protection for named regional food products against imitation across the EU.

Good, Wholesome Ingredients 

Obviously, what goes into a Cornish pasty is important too and you might be surprised at how strict the rules are when preparing the dish.  A genuine Cornish pasty should contain fresh ingredients compromised of:

  • Roughly diced or minced beef
  • Sliced or diced potato 
  • Swede (turnip)
  • Onion
  • Seasoning to taste (mainly salt & pepper)

No other meat than beef should be used in the filling and likewise, no other vegetables than those listed should be used. There must be at least 12.5% beef and 25% vegetables in the whole pasty and all of the ingredients must be uncooked when the pasty is assembled before it is slowly baked. This is the secret behind capturing the taste and succulence that has made the Cornish pasty famous!

Looking Good 

The pastry of a Cornish pasty may be shortcrust, rough puff or puff, but must be savoury and able to with stand both baking and handling. This is vitally important when you consider the importance of the pasty to workers throughout history operating down mines, across fields and out at sea – it takes a versatile and well-prepared pasty to keep grateful workers fed in so many different environments! 

The final hallmark is in the crimp, which is where the Cornish pasty comes into its own. Once the pasty is assembled, it is given its distinctive shape by being sealed by crimping along one side –meaning that if it’s not crimped, it’s not Cornish.  If a pasty is crimped by a left-hander, it is called a Cock pasty, while is a pasty is crimped by a right-handed person, it is known as a Hen.

Celebrating a Cornish Icon

The chant ‘Oggy, Oggy, Oggy’ is said to have originated from pasty sellers or the wives of tin miners announcing the arrival of the latest batch of eagerly anticipated pasties. Today, at least an impressive 120 million Cornish pasties are made each year, generating around £300 million worth of trade for the Cornish economy and employing around 2000 people in pasty production. 

The contribution of the might Cornish pasty includes as much as £15 million, which is paid to farmers for the ingredients for pasties. This figure accounts for circa 5% of the total farmgate value of Cornwall’s farm produce.  So, whatever your association with Cornwall’s iconic pasty, be it farmer, producer, seller or consumer, now if the perfect time to salute this fascinating and delicious local delicacy – and perhaps more importantly, to tuck into the genuine article!

Thanks to The Cornish Pasty Association for proving images and information for this post

Drew Dann

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