Where to find the perfect Cornish pasty
The pasty has been synonymous with Cornwall for hundreds of years. For many people, a trip to the Duchy simply wouldn’t been complete without tucking into one (or several) of these tasty treats.
If you’re currently planning a trip to our caravan park in south east Cornwall, the chances are you’ll want to indulge yourself at some point. To help you out, we have decided to put together this guide on where to find the very best pasties in the whole of the county. By paying a visit to our favourite outlets listed here, you can be sure that you won’t be disappointed and will be looking forward to your next pasty before you’ve even finished the first!
We find this hard to believe, but there are also apparently some people who are not that keen on pasties. Although this is a very serious issue which could well cause family arguments, we have come up with a solution: as well as their heavenly pasties, most retailers also sell other delicious food and drink, which we’ll give you a virtual taster of here. We wouldn’t want your whole party missing out just because one member doesn’t appreciate the beauty of a proper pasty.
You don’t have to be from Cornwall to have sampled the delights of the Cornish Bakehouse’s products before, with a number of their shops located nationwide, from Colchester to Cardiff. It all began in St Ives, however, where they still operate three stores today. Anyone planning on staying with us at Tencreek will be pleased to learn that there is also an outlet in Looe, which can be found on Fore Street.
Cornish Bakehouse work in partnership with Cornish Premier Pasties, and the magic happens at the latter’s headquarters in St Columb. We spoke to Premier, and one reason they gave for why they believe their pasties are the best around was that they were originally butchers!
They also noted that ‘a perfect Cornish pasty needs to be made to the original Cornish recipe’, which famously was recently granted Protected Geographical Indication status by the EU. This means that inferior products can no longer be referred to as ‘Cornish pasties’, providing a boost for makers and sellers of the real thing, such as Premier Pasties and the Cornish Bakehouse.
According to Premier, in order to be considered to meet the PGI standards, a proper Cornish pasty must have ‘a distinctive ‘D’ shape and be crimped to one side and contain chunky, minced or roughly chopped chunks of beef, swede, potato and onion with a light seasoning. No artificial flavourings or additives must be used.’
As they explain, Premier’s pasties more than meet these criteria and are made for the Cornish Bakehouse ‘using a light yet firm flaky pastry encasing a mixture of locally sourced fresh flaked swede, potato, onion, a special blend of seasoning (secret recipe!), and hand layered trimmed fresh skirt beef topped with a knob of butter.’ They add that ‘each of the pasties, as well as being layered by hand, is also hand crimped and we pride ourselves on having a minimum of 21 crimps on each pasty’.
The Cornish Bakehouse’s pasties are award winning and they are proud that they continue to prove ‘extremely popular with the locals, as well as the hundreds of tourists Looe attracts each year…it’s tradition you can taste!’
Vegetarians will be reassured by the ‘extensive choice’ of meat-free options available in the Bakehouse’s Looe shop, and there is a wide range of alternative options for those who are looking for something other than the classic pasty: ‘quite apart from the many and varied ‘speciality pasties’, we also supply sausage rolls, turnovers and slices. There are breakfast lines including the famous ‘Cornish Stack’, appropriately named to represent its layers of bacon, sausage, egg and mushroom – quite a mouthful and to be avoided on a first date! We also serve delicious hot paninis, baguettes, pizzas, jacket potatoes and more. For those with a sweet tooth there are Cornish heavy cakes amongst many other tray bakes, the ubiquitous doughnut and other Cornish goodies. These can all be washed down with freshly prepared Cornish coffee, tea, other hot drinks or a mix of cold drinks’.
So as you can see, there will be plenty to keep you full at the Cornish Bakehouse, no matter how big your appetite is!
Another great option, this time with shops to be found in Helston and the nearby Lizard peninsula, is Ann’s Pasties.
A well-known figure in the pasty-making world, Ann told us: ‘making, baking and selling my pasties in Cornwall over the past 30+ years has made me a little famous’. Explaining how ‘every pasty is lovingly made as I want my customers to realise the joy of eating this favourite, iconic Cornish meal’, Ann also mentioned how her expertise has been noticed by some of Britain’s most prominent foodies; ‘over the years I have been included in the book ‘Cornucopia: A gastronomic tour of Britain’ by Paul Richardson (2001), Rick Stein’s ‘Food Heroes’ (2002) and ‘The Food Lover’s Guide to the World’ (2012), a Lonely Planet-produced hardback book’.
She explains how Ann’s Pasties use ‘the best (as locally sourced as possible) ingredients and pay close attention to seasoning…we make the traditional, classic pasty with beef, onion, turnip and potato plus salt and pepper’. Ann also makes vegetarian and even vegan alternatives – you can order your pasty with cheese instead of beef, or with just the veg.
Ann says that she ‘very much enjoys’ her status as ‘one of the best Cornish pasty makers in Cornwall. When a customer comes back into my shop, as they often do, just to tell me how much they have enjoyed their purchase, it warms my heart’.
Finally, we head to beautiful Falmouth, where a man called Bill Rowe opened a small shop over 65 years ago. Today, Rowe’s Cornish Bakers are thriving and their outlets can be found throughout the county, the nearest of which to Looe is on Fore Street in Saltash.
Rowe’s told us how their products are ‘deeply rooted in our Cornish heritage’ and how they ‘have been putting our hearts and souls into our food since the 1940s’.
Despite being around for such a long time, Rowe’s note how ‘in many ways, very little has changed’ since they first opened up: ‘Cornish potatoes are still delivered to our door by tractor every week and each day we create fantastic pasties, baked goods and sweet treats, all with value and quality in mind’.
What sets proper pasty makers apart from the crowd is the skill, attention to detail and dedication that is required to create a memorable taste experience, and Rowe’s know the importance of this, despite their ever-expanding success. ‘It’s really the people behind our food that makes us what we are today’, they explain. ‘We are a deeply passionate team, filled with creativity and life and who always takes our products more seriously than ourselves’.
Of course, there are many other things that you will be able to enjoy when you visit us on your next Looe holiday, from our golden beaches to fantastic live entertainment, but one thing is for sure: a pasty’s a great place to start!