Cornwall is a mix of both colour and culture. Located on the southern foot of England, Cornwall hosts some of the most beautiful spots. That combineed with its strong culture, makes it the ultimate destination for those wanting an exhilerating holiday to England.
Culture plays a huge part of Cornwall and a visit wouldn’t be complete without a taste of what the region has to offer.
The Cornish Pasty
The county’s most famous dish is the cornish pasty. As a comfort food that has enjoyed enduring popularity, the pasty—a semicircular pie typically filled with meat and vegetables— is likely to be found in British and Irish-influenced specialty bakeries in many parts of the world. Despite a generalized association with the United Kingdom and Ireland, it was primarily Cornish tin miners who made the dish popular. The pasty eventually became part and parcel with the culture of Cornwall. It is not surprising that steps have now been taken to “copyright” the identity of this beloved meal, and now this dish can only officially be called a “pasty” if it has been made in Cornwall. Cornwall being located within the far south of the United Kingdom.
The pasty became part of the Cornish cuisine by the eighteenth century. It is thought that this dish was produced as it provided an easily transportable snack and could be made cheaply. Pasties became particularly popular among the working classes. Cornish miners who immigrated to the US and other areas in the nineteenth century brought this convenient meal with them.
Whereas the pasty has naturally seen some variations in shape and filling, it has always been a unique food. Specific references to the meal can be found in texts dating to the twelfth century. To this day, pasties are, for the most part, recognizably “D” shaped and pastry is crimped along the side. Since at least the nineteenth century, the base ingredients for the filling have traditionally been meat and potatoes with the addition of other vegetables.
The European Union has, since 1993, made provisions for protecting unique foods developed in specific regions so as to promote the sale of local products and to protect rural economies from the dangers of market expansion and outside imitation. To this end, the EU grants a “Protected Geographical Indication,” or PGI, to producers of foods that have characteristics linking them to a specific region.
Such a designation is analogous to restricting the use of the term “champagne” to sparkling wines that come solely from the Champagne district.
Desiring to protect its thriving industry, maintain its relationship with local producers, and meet the demand for pasties with a quality product, the Cornish Pasty Association—a network of pasty makers— applied for PGI status and was awarded the designation in 2011.
As a result, the only food that can be properly called a “Cornish Pastry” is one which is produced in Cornwall, bearing PGI logo on the package and shaped like a “D,” crimped along the side, and filled with beef, onion, potato, swede (rutabaga or turnip) and light seasoning.
The pasty has a rich cultural history: what was once the humble fare of the working man has now become a regional industry. What was, and is, a simple meat pie has become perhaps the most the famous dish of Cornwall, recognized by the European Union as a distinctive cuisine. While, no doubt, there are many makers of pasties and similar foods across the globe, there is, officially, only one “Cornish Pasty.
Will lives in the county of Cornwall in the UK. A Cultural, Colourful and foodies paradise. Will enjoy writing for The Cottage Boutique, who advertise a selection of handpicked, pet friendly, boutique cottages in Cornwall.