Cornish Pasty Awarded Protection by EU

Twitter this #dontbenastyhaveapasty

The cornish pasty has been awarded protected food status by the good thinking people of the European Union.

From mid-March only pasties actually made in Cornwall can be called Cornish

The Cornish pasty, once the daily fare of tin miners, is going back to its origins thanks to this  protected food status granted by the European Commission.

From March 2011 only savoury pasties actually made in Cornwall can be called Cornish. The Protected Geographical Indication status also lays down the recipe and exact appearance of an official Cornish pasty.

The Cornish pasty  joins over forty other British food products, including Whitstable oysters, Dorest Blue cheese and West Country Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese (what a mouthful), whose origins are protected by law.

The decision follows almost a decade of campaigning by cornish pasty producers who have been increasingly concerned about competitors from outside the region being able to legally pass off their products as Cornish when they aren’t “proper jobs”

The essential ingredients of a Cornish pasty are:

  • “chunky filling” of uncooked beef (skirt preferably)
  • swede NOT carrot
  • potato
  • onion
  • light seasoning
  • no additives or preservatives

The ingredients are cooked together in a classic D shaped pastry case  glazed with milk or egg to ensure it is golden brown in colour, with a crimped crust running along one side.

Alan Adler, chairman of the Cornish Pasty Association, which represents about 40 makers and first applied for protected status in 2002, said that authentic Cornish pasties could still be baked elsewhere in Britain but need to be prepared in Cornwall. He said: “By guaranteeing the quality of the Cornish pasty, we are helping to protect our British food legacy.

“We lag far behind other European countries like France and Italy that have hundreds of food products protected, and it’s important that we value our foods just as much.”

David Rodda of the Cornwall Development Company, and spokesman for the association, said that the new status would protect Cornwall’s economy.

The association’s members produce 87 million pasties a year, worth a total of £60 million.

“Receiving protected status for the Cornish pasty is good news for consumers but also for the rural economy. By protecting our regional food heritage, we are protecting local jobs,” he said.

“Thousands of people in Cornwall are involved in the pasty industry and it’s important that the product’s quality is protected for future generations.”

The earliest known recipe for a Cornish pasty is dated 1746 and is held by the Cornwall Record Office in Truro. Legend has it that the pasty started life as lunch for miners who carried it by the crimped “handle”.

A spokesperson from Nosh Blog Amateur Gastronomy remarked “I thought that Devonshire pasties were the original pasty of the land….am I mistaken?”