The Mighty Cornish Pasty

EVERYONE WHO MAKES A PASTY HAS THEIR OWN RECIPE, OFTEN HANDED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION, BUT TO CALL IT A GENUINE CORNISH PASTY, HERE’S WHAT’S INVOLVED

ON THE INSIDE

Just good, wholesome ingredients, put together with love and care

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

No meat other than beef, and no vegetables apart from those listed can be used in the filling. There must be at least 12.5% beef and 25% vegetables in the whole pasty. All the ingredients must be uncooked when the pasty is assembled and then slowly baked to develop all that famous Cornish pasty taste and succulence.

ON THE OUTSIDE

The pastry can be shortcrust, rough puff or puff, but it has to be savoury and able to withstand baking and handling without breaking.  Pasties went down the mines, across the fields and out to sea, so they had to be up to the job. It can be glazed with egg, or milk, or both, to give the finished pasty its wonderful golden colour.

THE CRIMP

Here’s where the pasty comes into its own. Once it’s assembled, the edges are sealed by crimping them  to one side, creating the characteristic Cornish pasty shape. If it’s not crimped, it’s not Cornish.

WHERE WAS IT BORN?

Any product sold using the Cornish pasty name must be produced west of the Tamar, in the wonderful county of Cornwall.

How is the Cornish Pasty Protected? 

There are various schemes around the globe which give legal protection for named regional food products against imitation. 

Collectively they are referred to as GIs, or Geographic Indicators. 

 

In 1993, The European Union (EU) created a Europe-wide framework for GIs and in 2011 the Cornish Pasty was (and still is) registered under that scheme with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. 

The UK now has its own scheme, which mirrors the EU scheme, and gives continuing protection to the Cornish Pasty within Great Britain now that we have left the EU.  

The schemes are important because they aim to sustain regional food products and rural economies that can become vulnerable as regional markets move into national and international supply chains.

GIs protect regional foods that have a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to that area. It acts a bit like a Trade Mark or ‘Appellation Controllee’ and stops manufacturers from outside a region copying a regional product and selling it as that regional product.

FAQs

What is a GI?

GI stands for Geographic Indicator. It’s a framework that gives legal protection to the name Cornish Pasty and stops inferior products being passed off as genuine Cornish pasties.

What are the characteristics of a genuine Cornish pasty?

Firstly, the pasty must have been made within the geographical county of Cornwall

Then a genuine Cornish pasty must only contain:

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

The ingredients must be uncooked when the pasty is assembled.

The pastry must be savoury and can be shortcrust, puff or rough puff and must hold all ingredients through cooking and handling without cracking or breaking.

The pasty must be crimped into a D shape, with the crimp towards one side, and glazed with milk, egg or both, before being slowly baked to combine and release all the lovely flaovurs.

What does the GI status mean for Cornish pasty makers?

GI status marks Cornish pasties out as a quality product that the customer can rely on to meet the specified method of making laid down by law. When people see the GI symbols on a Cornish pasty, they know they’re getting the real thing.

Can I buy genuine Cornish pasties outside of Cornwall?

Definitely! Every day thousands of Cornish pasties are sent all over Britain and beyond, to be sold in shops, supermarkets, cafes, pubs and concessions. Many pasty producers also sell them online. Sometimes these are baked and packaged in Cornwall and sometimes they are prepared in Cornwall then freshly baked at their final destination. As long as the pasty is made in Cornwall, by an approved Cornish pasty producer, you can enjoy it wherever you are.

How is the industry regulated?

Any product sold using the protected Cornish pasty name needs to be verified. Products and production methods are therefore audited by an approved external body (Cornwall Council is the one we recommend) and certified that they meet the required standard.

After receiving this verification, a producer can use the name Cornish Pasty when selling those products. All producers are re-audited periodically to ensure they are still producing genuine Cornish pasties that meet the GI standard.

Do I need to be a member of the CPA to produce and sell Cornish pasties?

No you don’t. The Association came about in order to help Cornish pasties achieve their special recognition and now exists to promote and uphold these standards among the family of Cornish Pasty producers. 

Once a producer obtains their GI certification they are automatically eligible to become a member of the CPA, and there’s no fee for joining up.  When you join, we’ll give you all the advice you need about the GI and you’ll have the chance to join in with the CPA’s activities such as Cornish Pasty Week. 

If that’s not for you, you can still use the name Cornish Pasty, as long as your products have been verified by one of the approved bodies and you’ve received your certificate.

How do I know if I’ve bought a genuine Cornish pasty?

Look for one of the GI logos in the shop, on the labelling, or on the packaging. All genuine Cornish pasties should bear this. Pasties made by CPA members may also carry the CPA’s certification mark. If in doubt, ask where the pasties came from and you can always check it out with us.

Who should I go to for advice?

We’re here to help with as much as possible. We deal with calls, letters and emails from all over the world asking about Cornish pasties. We can point you in the direction of other sources of information and answer most questions about pasties – apart from – who makes the best one?!

Phone: 01872 865101

Email: info@cornishpastyassociation.co.uk

Write: Cornish Pasty Association
c/o Cornwall Food & Drink Ltd
Great Cornish Food Store, Tregurra Park, Newquay Road, Truro TR1 1RH

Make your own Genuine Cornish Pasty

View recipe

Did you Know?

lefthand-crimp

Cornish Pasties
are handed

either a cock pasty (left handed) or a hen (right handed)

More Facts

righthand-crimp

The Cornish Pasty Association is a Community Interest Company, Registered in England and Wales, No 07847774. Copyright © 2021 Cornish Pasty Association. All rights reserved.

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