There are many, many wonderful reasons to visit Cornwall. Among them? The coastline, moorland, festivals and the sea life stand out as genuine crowdpleasers. But perhaps, one reason outshines the rest. The humble Cornish pasty. Yes, you can nip to your local grocery store and buy an imposter – but it won’t match the kind of baking seen in Cornwall. Finding the best pasties in this county can only mean one thing. A pastry-packed road trip to each and every bakery until you decide on a winner. Here’s a shortlist to get you underway…
Actually, before you set a course for Land’s End, it’s worth noting just why these buttery little devils are worth the trip. We’ve been snacking on these perfectly packaged meals since the 13th century. But when Cornish farmers and miners decided to adopt them as a packed-lunch options, the Cornish pasty really made a name for itself. Since then, there’s been much debate about the official recipe and whether it can really be called a Cornish pasty if it’s been made out of the county. Rules have been put firmly in place, with The Cornish Pasty Association legally protecting the recipe – and labelling. If you’re up for making your own? If there’s anything other than beef, onion, potato and swede in your mix? Sorry, it’s just not Cornish.
A Classic Cornish
If you’re going to sell any kind of food in Padstow, it has to be top notch. After all, most flock to this neat little harbour to eat at any of the many Rick Stein outlets he’s wedged into the space. But, there’s one hardy little bakery churning out Cornish pasties that you’ll want to swerve the swanky fish restaurants for. Chough Bakery is an artisan nook in Padstow’s quay that sees customers drive for hours – just to pick up a box of their Cornish pasties. Award winning, packed with filling and traditional, they haven’t just been named the best pasties in Cornwall – some would argue these are the best in the world. A bit much? Maybe not. Stack your pasty order with a bakewell tart and judge for yourselves.
Orbzii tip: It’s worth knowing that Chough do like to dabble in a few pasty flavours, along with gluten-free, vegan and other options for those with dietary requirements. One word of warning, Padstow’s seagulls are quite fond of these pasties too. Lunch on the harbour wall with caution!
There are Cornish pasty purists who will argue that a vegan version can’t be classed as a true Cornish pasty. But regardless of the label, there are some top notch plant-based pasties being baked in the county that can’t be ignored. Whatever your veggie leanings, make a note in your foodie diary to drop into a Warren’s bakery (more on those later) or a Rowe’s Bakery for a vegan option. Yes, they are both ‘bakery chain’s’ but they are still small enough to hand make their pasties. For the best vegan pasty in Cornwall? Plot a course on your map for any one of the Philps stores. Marazion and Camborne are grand enough, but if you pick out the Hayle store? Expect to see pasty buyers queuing up for everything this bakery can sell them.
If you thought the vegan pasty was a step too far, just wait until you scope out the menu at Sarah’s Pasty Shop in Looe. Step into ye olde fishing cottage – which now serves as the bakery’s quaint shop front – and you’ll find an eclectic medley of flavours to feast on. Classic cheese and onion or lamb and mint options will hardly raise eyebrows. But catch a glimpse of the cheese and baked bean option and you’d easily think that the pasty rules have been thrown out the window. From here? The menu quickly blurs into temptation that delivers you from the relative comfort of a Cornish pasty classic straight into the waiting arms of a Chicken Korma pasty. The Chinese Chicken and All Day Breakfast pasty option will get your tastebuds dancing. But, we think the line is truly crossed with the Mackerel and Horseradish filling. Drop in and be as adventurous as you dare…
Orbzii tip: Vegans, you haven’t been excluded from the pasty filling roulette wheel of options. The ever steadfast mixed veg pasty puts in an appearance, but things quickly hot up with the spiced chickpea and lentil pasty or Sarah’s curried parsnip recipe.
An Organic Option
Perhaps the one true Cornish pasty is made by the hardworking folks at Gear Farm. The veggies are all organically grown on their farm, before being lovingly baked into their 100% organic pasties. Can you convince yourself the Cornish pasties are healthier because of all that organic veg? That’s debatable. No matter, because this pasty is clearly winning in the food miles department. Drop in, pick up a pasty or six and grab a box of organic veg to go to.
There’s a time and a place for tracking down the very best example of a food group. And then there’s those hangry moments when you just need some good grub. For those, keep an eye out for Warren’s Bakery. They could be classed as the Greggs of Devon and Cornwall, but only in the sense that there’s seemingly one on every corner. This is Cornwall’s oldest bakery – and their Cornish pasty has some solid heritage behind it. Still using the same 160 year old recipe they started with all those years ago, it’s literally stood the test of time. Yes, Warren’s have tipped over into franchise territory. But don’t hold it against them. At least it means you can snag a decent pasty across the county.
Orbzii tip: Should you feel compelled to add a touch of Cornwall to your meal times when you go home, they’ll post you a box of pasties to munch on too. Proper job.
His n Hers Pasties
Whether you’re eloping to Cornwall to tie the knot – or planning a huge post-wedding shindig, you’ll be looking for a stand out meal for your wedding breakfast. And, Etherington’s have just the thing. Mr & Mrs pasties – though, we’re sure you could just as easily opt for Mrs & Mrs or Mr & Mr pasties too. Despite the gimmick, the pasties do have some pedigree. The recipe is over one hundred years old – and a well kept secret. But, we do know that produce for the traditional filling all comes from the county, including the meat which is from the same source as their popular butcher’s counter.
Orbzii tip: If a whole pasty per guest seems a little extravagant, and/or stodgy for any late night dancing, there’s always the option of treating your guests to a perfectly presented tray of cocktail pasties.