Saturday, July 26, 2008

Heads Up, Yoopers and Rangers: Cornish pasty in European battle for protected status

[I like mine with ketchup! So there!] [By the way, when you own the blog, you get to write what you want!]

The Cornish pasty could get protected status from the European Union to safeguard the savoury pastry for the county.

Any trademark would cover the Cornish pasty's traditional recipe and appearance

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced it will take the Cornish Pasty Association's (CPA) application for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) to Brussels.

If successful, only pasty makers in Cornwall that use traditional methods and recipes for the meat and vegetable snack will be able to use the trademark, preventing copy-cat manufacturers from branding and marketing their products as Cornish pasties.

It will bring the savoury pastry in to line with other delicacies officially recognised by Europe such as Champagne, Parma ham and Whitstable oysters.

More than 30 British products are protected under the scheme, including Arbroath smokies, Cornish clotted cream, Welsh lamb and Scottish farmed salmon.

Earlier this year, Melton Mowbray pork pies were given Protected Geographical Indication by officials in Europe, following a 10-year fight.

The move meant only producers making pork pies using a traditional recipe and in the vicinity of Melton Mowbray can use the Leicestershire town's name.

The Cornish Pasty Association was originally formed in 2002 by a group of about 40 pasty makers based in Cornwall to protect the quality and reputation of the snack.

"The importance of the Cornish pasty industry to the wider Cornish economy cannot be stressed enough," said Angie Coombs of the CPA committee.

"The application is a genuine attempt to protect the consumer and encourage investment in local economies."

CPA members make about 87 million pasties a year, in a growing market.

The 60 million pounds of sales represent about six percent of the Cornish food economy, it said.

Many ingredients are sourced locally and it is estimated 13,000 people are directly or indirectly benefiting from CPA trade, it added.

A spokesman for Defra said the application met all the criteria for a protected food name.

Any trademark would cover the Cornish pasty's traditional recipe and appearance. A genuine Cornish pasty has a distinctive D shape with the pastry crimped on one side, never on top.

It is filled with minced or roughly cut chunks of beef, swede or turnip, potato and onion, and a light peppery seasoning.

The pastry casing is golden in colour, savoury, glazed with milk or egg and is designed to be robust enough to retain its shape throughout the cooking and cooling process without splitting or cracking.

The whole pastry is slow backed and no flavourings or additives must be used.

"We believe it is not unreasonable to ask companies to honestly label their products so that the consumer is guaranteed a level of quality, recipe and origin when they purchase them," the CPA said.


Even in the New York Times (but with peas and carrots?)


Vincenzo said...

I want one.

Unknown said...

They are very difficult to find outside of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the Iron Ranges of Minnesota.

Originally they were carried in their lunch pails by underground copper and iron ore miners and warmed by the candles they attached to their helmets to see their work.

They became treats for the descendants of those miners over the years but have not become delicacies for the general populace. Restaurants and grocery stores in the mining areas of Michigan and Minnesota regularly carry pastys for sale.

But they are difficult to find elsewhere, and when you do find them, the recipes have been altered beyond belief.

Some complain that the pasty is too dry. They add gravy to it UGH!).

There are two school of thought, which occasionally result in fisticuffs, over how to season the pasty properly. Some say butter. Others say ketchup. I am of the ketchup faction.

My most recent supplier of pastys was St. James Church in Duluth's West End that sold thousands every Fall as a fund raiser. One of my aunts was a pasty supervisor there. They did a great job. But Aunt Margaret has passed on ("Eternal rest . . . .") and I haven't had any for several years now.

If I come across a new supplier, Vincenzo, I'll let you know. The pasty is mighty tasty.

Mark Francis said...

I'm from Duluth and I know that you can always find factory-made pasties at the Super One Foods stores in Duluth/Superior (I'm sure on the Range and U.P as well). On Saturdays you can get hot pasties from their delis (or call ahead for quantities of frozen ones). You can pay a little extra for gravy, but I prefer them plain. The West Duluth store, at least, also used to carry Toivo and Eino's Pasty Sauce (ketchup), but they no longer do.
I know I was in a Byerly's somewhere in the Cities several years ago and saw factory-made pasties in the frozen section. Also in the cooler times of the year you can order them from

As for those St. James pasties, my grandmother is not a fan. Apparently they use a machine to make the crusts, while at Lakeside Presbyterian Church (where she helps make pasties) they do it by hand -- my father thinks the St. James pasties might be better. As far as I'm concerned the best pasties are in the U.P.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the input, "Little Boy":

I was born in Duluth.

When I said there are "two schools of thought" on pastys, I should have said there are "many" schools of thought on them and families are often divided. Your dad and grandma are classic examples.

It is a classic cult comfort food for those who were raised on them and everybody is an expert.

I going to be in Duluth next month and I'll stop off at Super One and get a bunch. I used to see them down here, maybe Byerly's, but I don't shop there much any more. I'll check Lunds, they are closer for me and they have the same ownership now. I'd bet they are cheaper at Super One.

Can you believe that Blogger is asking me to identify myself on my own blog?

Vincenzo said...

"Originally they were carried in their lunch pails by underground copper and iron ore miners and warmed by the candles they attached to their helmets to see their work."

I saw that reenacted by Alton Brown recently.

swissmiss said...

I'd rather eat any pasty than lutefish, as my Finnish and Norwegian friends from the Range eat. When we visited Australia and when we are in England, we live on these things. Yum.

Unknown said...

I knew you were my kinda gal, Swissie. I hope you eat them with ketchup!