The Pasty Guide: What to Look For in a Pasty When Visiting Cornwall

August 10th, 2022

At The Valley, we pride ourselves on offering luxury holidays in Cornwall for all the family. Since 2019, we have accommodated 3000 amazing guests, with 95.3% arriving from outside of Cornwall. Many of our guests have never tried a Cornish pasty before.

From celebrating this Cornish tradition by hosting pasty tasting evenings at our onsite restaurant, Cafe Azura, and recommending pasty shops all over the county to try, we want to ensure guests experience the best Cornwall has to offer, and a traditional Cornish pasty is undoubtedly one of them!

What is a Traditional Cornish Pasty?

A staple of Cornish tradition, the pasty is one of the main reasons why Cornwall is such a famous and historic tourist destination.

A Cornish pasty contains wholesome ingredients of beef, sliced potato, swede, onions and seasoning paired with the pastry being shortcrust, rough puff or puff, glazed with milk or eggs to establish its iconic golden colour.

What Makes The Traditional Cornish Pasty Unique?

Once the pasty has finished baking, the edges are sealed on one side and crimped, making the iconic Cornish pasty shape. Moreover, the pasty is protected by PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status to stop manufacturers outside of Cornwall from copying the regional product, meaning this signature pasty remains a special treat.

Where Does The Cornish Pasty Come From?

The famous Cornish pasty originates from Cornwall and has a long history of being a companion to miners. Wives and mothers of tin miners baked pasties and would deliver them to the mines. The wives would shout ‘Oggy oggy oggy’ and drop the pasties down the mine shaft to warn the miners that their lunch was coming in red hot.

Pasties were made with a thick, crimped edge on one side so that miners could use the crimp as a handle to hold onto while eating. This meant that miners could avoid anything dangerous being passed into the heart of the pasty from their hands.

Why Did We Do This Campaign on Pasties?

According to the Cornish Pasty Association, Cornish pasty producers generate around £300 million worth of trade annually for the region of Cornwall.

We wanted to comprehend what makes a traditional pasty Cornish, so why not ask the local pasty experts who make these tasty icons daily? We want to make sure our guests have the best Cornish experience they can when visiting The Valley, so the obvious starting place is with a humble Cornish pasty!

Bakeries hold rich heritage not only in Cornwall but across the UK as a whole, and the pasty shops on our doorstep are definitely something to shout about. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to choose which bakery to visit. Follow our guide below of what to look for in a pasty to enjoy an unforgettable Cornish bite.

Contacting Pasty Shops in Cornwall

We contacted 100 of Cornwall’s most loved bakeries and pasty shops to start. We asked them three generalised questions to make sure no top-secret pasty recipes were spilled during our research.

Some of the bakers we contacted are members of the CPA (Cornish pasty association) who are under the PGI designation, this protects the Cornish pasty and traditional recipes from being imitated outside of the Cornish borders and gives the bakers a platform for their voice to be heard when it comes to all things pasties.

The questions asked were:

  1. What is the preferred pasty or pasty size that sells the most?
  2. Are there any attributes of your pasties that make them unique? This can be homemade, handmade etc.
  3. Any non-traditional pasties/flavours that have been on the rise recently?

We crossed the borders into Devon for a more considerable scope of answers. We asked 53 pasty shops/bakeries the same three questions to compare a traditional Devon pasty to a Cornish one.

The Results of The Pasty Survey

The Preferred Pasty Size

The results found that the preferred pasty size for customers is a medium, with 73% of pasty makers stating customers tend to go for a medium traditional pasty the most.

Popular Attributes of The Pasty to Look For

The attribute that pasty experts ranked highest when asked what guests should look out for when choosing their traditional pasty was ensuring the pasty is homemade and handmade. This was closely followed by the pasties being freshly made daily as the second attribute and bakers using local produce taking third place.

Results From The Rise of Non-Traditional Pasties

We found out from 85 pasty shops that vegan and vegetarian options have gained popularity and have boosted sales over the past three years. Some bakeries have also said that they do not sell these vegan options at this time but are looking into adapting their recipes shortly to cater to vegan customers.

9 of the best selling pasty shops now offer various gluten-free options. This means that customers with dietary requirements are now spoiled for choice with gluten free friendly restaurants and pasty shops full of tasty products/dishes to try.

Popular Flavours

We also asked if any flavours in particular were popular amongst locals and travellers. Here is a list of popular, non-traditional pasties to try when you are in Cornwall:

  • Steak and stilton
  • Chicken pasties
  • Cheese and onion
  • Lamb and mint
  • Pork and apple
  • Spicy pasties

Pasties by Post

Bakers are evolving with the times, with ⅓ of pasty shops selling their pasties online to customers outside the county who are hungry for more. Pasties by post are typically located on the bakeries’ online website or call to place an order.

The Valley’s Recommended Pasty Shops to Visit When Visiting Cornwall

If you’re struggling to think of where to start your pasty journey, look no further! We’ve compiled some of the best shops to visit in Cornwall! See below:

  • Chacewater Bakery in Truro – Located in the quaint village of Chacewater, this bakery is Alex’s go to pasty shop.
  • Premier Pasties in Saint Columb – As the name indicates, these pasties are premier and made by world champions in pasty crimping!
  • Ice & Bites in Perranporth – Discover a unique flavour experience at Ice & Bites as this shop offers fruit pasties!
  • Oggie’s Cornish Kitchen in Falmouth – Home of pixie pasties, this shop brings a modern experience to customers with various options available on the menu.
  • CornishPod in Torpoint – The bakers at CornishPod are passionate about flavour as they offer bespoke buffets for catering events and even deliver fresh pasties straight to your door!

What To Look For in a Pasty When Visiting Cornwall

To summarise, when buying a Cornish pasty for the first time, it is essential to make sure the pasty you choose is homemade and created with local Cornish ingredients. On inspection, ensure the crimp is visible from one side of this tasty treat to see if it is 100%, Cornish. Remember to buy local, and support the pasty industry and family/traditional businesses.

If you are vegan, vegetarian or gluten free, there are plenty of bakeries available for you to try some fantastic pasties after visiting some of the best family-friendly beaches in Cornwall. Moreover, pasty shops provide a wide range of flavours to sate your palate!

Now you have heard from the professionals, our range of luxury holiday cottages in Cornwall are available to book all year round and are the perfect companion for you to try local homemade traditional pasties from a range of excellent Cornish bakeries! Don’t hesitate to contact us on 01872 862194 or book online for reservations or inquiries. Oggy oggy oggy!