It is commonly thought that the humble pasty was first created by the wives of the tin miners, however, the truth is the history comes from much farther back and is documented in English history as far back as the 13th century – that’s over 800 years ago!
Throughout the centuries, a range of ingredients were used, including some that contained meat and vegetables in one end and fruit in the other, to create a complete two-course meal with the curled crust serving as a means of holding the pasty, this is especially true for the miners with their filthy hands, often contaminated with arsenic, which was ever-present in the mines.
Traditionally, the recipe for a pasty contained potato, onion, swede (AKATurnip in Cornwall) and beef, mixed together and cooked in a pastry wrap created a rich gravy. Originally, if the pasty had carrot added it was considered of poorer quality. Meat products in the 17th and 18th centuries were very hard to come by and, if a source could be found, it was expensive, so pasties of the day included much more vegetables than todays pasties.
However, the idea of a meal wrapped in a pastry was nothing short of genius and people made them with their own choice of fillings. The pasty became such a common way of eating amongst miners that some mines even had stoves in the mines to cook or heat them.
You may have heard the word ‘Oggie’, commonly heard in the chant “Oggie, Oggie, Oggie”. The word itself derives from the Cornish word for Pasty, ‘Hoggan’, and was believed to have been shouted through the mines by the women who cooked the pasties when they were ready for eating, and the miners would respond with “Oi, Oi, Oi!”.
The miners wives were credited, however, with the tradition or adding the initials of the husbands on the crusts of the pasties, so they could be identified as the owners.
Today, Cornish pasties have grown massively in popularity and are enjoyed by people globally, however, it is important to understand that, for a pasty to be called ‘Cornish’, they must now meet very strict guidelines…
The Cornish Pasty is Registered for PGI Status
PGI, or Protected Geographical Indication, is a UK government regulation requiring the pasty to meet specific criteria, such as ingredients (including quantities), shape, seasonings and pastry consistency and where it is made. The PGI status was first registered back in 2011, with the regulation updated in 2021 due to Brexit.
You can read more on the Cornish Pasties PGI status by visiting https://www.gov.uk/protected-food-drink-names/cornish-pasty.
You can also find out more about the Cornish Pasty and it’s origins at the Cornish Pasty Associations website at https://cornishpastyassociation.co.uk
We are very proud to provide you with genuine Cornish Pasties – you are assured that you are buying a genuine Cornish Pasty, made in Cornwall to the correct recipe and meeting all of the PGI Status requirements.
Only a proper pasty can be called ‘Cornish’