I don’t know about you but whenever I think of a Cornish Pasty, I think of something served either from a cart on Kings Cross railway station or from a cabinet in a petrol station. Often the contents are dubious to the point of “best not to look at what’s inside” but normally you eat it because you are miles from anywhere sensible to eat, are in a hurry and 3 hours past what should have been lunchtime.
But there is a lot more to the humble Cornish Pasty than meets the eye. For example, that picture above is NOT a Cornish Pasty at all. It’s a Devon Pasty!
This is a Cornish Pasty. Can you see the difference?
Well the Cornish Pasty has just been awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status after many year of campaigning by some Cornish people which in a nutshell means that to call a Cornish Pasty a Cornish Pasty, it must have been made in Cornwall in the same way that a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie has to hail from Melton Mowbray.
But the campaigners have gone one step further. It’s not just good enough to set up a factory in Cornwall and churn out poor quality motorway food. The new EU ruling has a clear definition that must be followed:
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. It must also be made in Cornwall.
So does this now mean the end to those stale pasties being passed off as quality fare at the motorway service stations filled with some grey substance that may or may not be meat?
Unfortunately not. They can still call them pasties just not Cornish Pasties so we should be able to spot by name alone good honest Cornish food from motorway junk.
Likewise, it is allowed for the pasty to be prepared in Cornwall and then baked somewhere else so for those of us living somewhere other than Cornwall, there is still hope.
For more information on Cornish Pasties in general (go on you know you want to) head over to the Cornish Pasty Association (CPA) website which you can find here.
And remember, the next time somebody tries to pass off some pale imitation of a Cornish Pasty that is clearly a Devon Pasty (see you learnt something today didn’t you) just say no!