Where to find the best Cornish pasty in Cornwall

Date Posted: 28 Feb 2024

Oggy oggy oggy! The humble Cornish pasty is a must try delicacy on your Cornwall holiday. But where will you find the best examples? Kirstie Newton embarks on a taste test across the country to find perfect pasties…

Cross the Tamar, and a whole new category of shops awaits you: those dedicated to serving you with the very finest of Cornish delicacies. We’re talking the pasty purveyor.

Your high street retailer upcountry might fill its warm cabinets with puff pastry imitations and indistinct meat products, but in Kernow, a most superior treat is in store. We’re talking the finest beef skirt married with onion, potato and turnip, all wrapped in mouthwatering shortcrust side-crimped to perfection. Admit it, you’re drooling at the mere thought of this combo, commonly known in Cornwall as a “medium steak”.

I judged the World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project for every single one of its 10 years, and learned more than I ever thought possible about this savoury (and occasionally sweet) treat. For example:

Fact #1: The Cornish pasty is subject to protected status under EU Protected Food Names legislation, like Yorkshire puddings or Champagne. To be called a Cornish pasty, it has to be made in Cornwall. Simples.

Fact #2: A true Cornish pasty will never contain carrots – ‘tis a sin punishable by death (maybe).

And did you know locals often refer to pasties as “oggies”? It’s thought this might come from the word “hoggan”, a kind of bag in which the miners carried their croust. The cry of “Oggy Oggy Oggy!” originated from pasty sellers, while hungry miners or labourers would reply: “Oi!, Oi!, Oi!”

The jury is out on the right way to eat a pasty – PM Rishi Sunak caused a social media sensation in February when he took his out of the bag and ate it from the fold. However, many believe that’s exactly how the miners used to eat it, using the crimp as a handle to avoid arsenic poisoning from dirty fingers. Either way, arguably, it fills a hole.

Cornish Pasty Week runs from February 26 to March 3 – what better excuse, should you need one, to get your laughing gear around some top Cornish fare. The following are experts in their field – enjoy!

1. Cornish Premier Pasties

Formed in 2008 by a group of passionate ex-butchers and bakers, CPP produces over 30,000 pasties, sausage rolls and slices every day, to be sold through wholesalers and retailers. They might not have their own shopfront, but it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled for these beauties, which ranked consistently high in the Cornish Company category at the World Pasty Championships, taking gold and silver awards several years running. You can find them all over Cornwall, but Bude’s Lower Wharf is as scenic a location as any to get your mush around a CPP pasty – they are sold by both the Spilt Bean takeaway hatch and the Lock Gates Café.


2. Warrens

At the heart of Warrens’ success is the love story between St Just baker’s daughter Miss Harvey, and farmer’s son Master Warren. The farm provided the ingredients fresh from the fields, the bakers put them in pastry and served them piping hot to customers. The first shop opened in 1860, giving Warrens the enviable honour of being the longest-running pasty purveyors in Cornwall; there are now 41 outlets across the UK, including Gatwick Airport . Full disclosure: these are a firm favourite in the Newton household, and Daughter accepts no imitations (she can always tell when I’ve strayed elsewhere).


3. Philps of Hayle

Ask anyone in West Cornwall where to find the best pasties, and Philps is a name that comes up time and again – so much so that when prime minister Rishi Sunak visited Cornwall in February 2024, this is where he had lunch. It all started out as a collaboration between two cousins: talented baker Everett, who could make 3,000 pasties in a day, all rolled by hand; and shrewd businessman Sammy, whose dream was to sell them to the hungry masses, not just in Cornwall but around the world. While the Pasties by Post service delights Cousin Jacks – the descendants of miners who emigrated in search of work, settling as far afield as Australia to Canada – there can be few sweeter pleasures than enjoying a Philps oggy overlooking Hayle’s historic Copperhouse Pool, once a bustling port.


4. Chough Bakery, Padstow

Elaine and Rob Ead introduced Padstow to The Chough Bakery 40 years ago, and it’s still going strong today in one of Cornwall’s biggest tourist destinations: Padstow harbour. The steak comes from Williams and Son, an award-winning high street butcher just up the River Camel in Wadebridge. I marked their steak and stilton pasty very highly, and still make a beeline for it every time I’m in Padstow.


5. Ann’s Pasties, The Lizard

During the darkest days of lockdown, when most pasty shops were closed for business, it was Ann Muller’s frozen top-crimped oggies served piping hot from the oven that kept my family’s spirits up. Ann learned to make pasties in a different crisis, when her professional pasty-maker mother found demand outstripping supply at a Breton agricultural fair. The Cornish pasty business looked promising, so Ann began making them for neighbours in exchange for gifts of freshly caught fish or home-grown vegetables, before graduating to a market stall in Helston, followed by a shop in Porthleven. Finally, her garage on the Lizard was converted into a pasty kitchen, from where trade has flourished to such an extent that a third generation, son Fergus, has stepped in to keep the flag flying.


6. Cornish Pasty Co

Graham Cornish was the first professional winner of the World Cornish Pasty championships at the Eden Project. The brand development lead at Ginsters, he won with his mum’s recipe (note: in Cornish pasty world, Mother always knows best), as well as taking the open savoury trophy with a sumptuous seafood special. Graham’s culinary pedigree, combined with the perfect surname, led him to launch his own range; stockists include the Eden Project, the Great Cornish Food Store in Truro, Philip Warren in Launceston and Rick Stein in Padstow. Graham’s sons cleaned up in the junior categories, so there’s clearly something in the genes.

7. Sarah’s Pasty Shop, Looe

This being an old fishing town, where better to buy your oggy than from the old net stores below this quaint fishing cottage. Now run by Sarah’s eldest daughter, Lucy, who offers a variety of enticing flavours: traditional steak; bacon, cheese and leek; lamb, leek, mint and rosemary; cheese and baked beans; curried parsnip, and other vegan specialties; and, most notable, the miner’s pasty: extra large, with steak one side and apple the other, as a nod to the days when miners had healthy appetites and needed a full meal in a portable format. If you want something specific (especially the miner’s), it’s best to put an order in.

01503 263973

8. Marys Pastys, Tresillian and Mevagissey

As a wordsmith, I can’t help but wince at the punctuation. But who cares, when the pasties are this good? Look out for the giant heart-shaped pasties, big enough for two to share on Valentine’s Day (greedy singletons are welcome to try and finish one solo). These come emblazoned with romantic slogans, eg “I love you” and “Bite me”. This business is one of many to accept the Cornish discount card Pardcard.

01726 883225

[email protected]

9. Malcolm Barnecutt

In 1930, Percy Barnecutt launched his business from a Liskeard bakery, making deliveries by pushbike. This would be the start of a flourishing pasty dynasty, which now bears the name of his grandson, Malcolm. The main bakery moved to outer Bodmin in 1983, along with a store in the old Guild Hall at the very heart of the town. While the takeaway front is shiny and modern, sit-in diners get to enjoy the wood-panelled splendour of the Grade II listed former council chambers at the rear, known fondly as Barnys and possibly the poshest place to eat your pasty. Having built an empire of shops around mid- and north Cornwall, Malcolm retired in 2013, and the business is now run by his son, James, whose own sons, Toby and Harry, are the next generation of Barnecutts to feed the Cornish people.


10. Gear Farm, St Martin-in-Meneage

Gear Farm regular tops “best pasties in Cornwall” polls. David Webb launched an organic vegetable enterprise on wife Ann’s family farm in 1999, selling from a farm shop and supplying supermarkets. Business being slow, he diverted his produce into pasties, and the rest is history. David is still making pasties today, with daughter Jemma and son Mike joining the business – and the pasties are well worth the trip down the Lizard’s country lanes (the scenery ain’t half bad too).

01326 221150

[email protected]

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