After its break due to Covid in 2021, the planets aligned for the return of the World Pasty Championships this year and it really was a day to remember.
Clear blue skies and spring sunshine glinted off the Eden Project biomes, creating the perfect backdrop for the 10th anniversary of this competition, made even more special by coinciding with St Piran’s Day itself.
An early queue of competition entrants was forming as the doors opened. In all, there are 8 awards up for grabs each year. The two categories are ‘Cornish Pasty’, and ‘Open Savoury Pasty’, and each category has four sections: for Company, Professional, Amateur and Junior entrants. For the Cornish Pasty category, entries must comply with the UK GI specification for the Cornish Pasty, whereas the Open Savoury category is where the imagination can run wild, with any recipe and style allowed. The Open Savoury entries can even be made outside Cornwall!
But it wasn’t just a day for pasties. Music, storytelling, demonstrations and comedy were all on offer, both within the beautiful Mediterranean biome, awash with the colours and scents of spring, and on a very relaxed outdoor Pasty Stage. With all this alongside all the regular amazing features of the Eden Project, there was certainly plenty to keep everyone entertained while they waited for their pasties to be judged.
We were there too; a focal point for all the pastymakers present, to meet, chat and enjoy a bit of friendly rivalry over their competition entries. Replacing our regular kids’ pastymaking sessions (which we thought best to put on hold this year), our World’s Fastest Crimper competition took centre stage for us, with Cornwall’s fastest pro crimpers limbering up in a series of heats, followed by a nail-biting final, all expertly hosted by the lovely Tiffany Truscott, a familiar voice of BBC Radio Cornwall.
The grand finale is always hotly anticipated, especially by those eager to know how their entries had fared. This year the guest of honour was Her Excellency Josefa González-Blanco, the Mexican Ambassador to the UK, who was well acquainted with the pasty (or paste, as they are known over there), thanks to the Cornish miners and their families who took our iconic meal with them to Mexico in the 19th Century.
Two familiar Cornish faces, Ed Rowe and Jenny Beare (aka Pasty Man and Pastry Maid) handed out the Cornish clay trophies to the deserving winners, who can all be found HERE.
To mark this special coincidence of the 10th anniversary and St Piran’s Day, we commissioned two special trophies – modelled on life-sized pasties (medium steak of course), and fittingly cast in genuine Cornish Tin by Blue Hills Tin Streams of St Agnes.
Not only is tin mining responsible for the pasty becoming such an important part of the life of so many Cornish families and taking its reputation around the globe, tin is also the symbol of a 10th anniversary, representing strength and resilience. And of course, St Piran is the patron Saint of Tinners. Our thanks go to the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site for working with us on the creation of these unique beauties.
The first of the tin pasty awards was presented by Cllr Dave Crabtree, Chair of the World Heritage Site Partnership Board, to the winner of the World’s Faster Crimper competition, Chloe Rowse of makers Proper Cornish. A worthy winner, Chloe was the fastest crimper over the heats and bettered her own time by crimping 10 pasties in an unbelievable 1 minute 27 seconds in the final.
The second of these special trophies was a unique one that has not been awarded before – Special Pasty Ambassador – and it went to one of the previously unsung heroes of the World Pasty Championship – David Rowe of the Eden Project. David not only conjured up the concept of a World Pasty Championships but has overseen every one of them, from the very first to this 10th. It’s his hard work that has helped turn the Championships into such a charming global event, with contestants coming from overseas each year to compete.