The Cornish pasty originated as a working man’s lunch in the 18th Century, amidst the boom in tin and copper mining in Cornwall. Thick pastry kept the filling secure and warm. The crimping acted as a handle that could be thrown away (these men’s hands were dirty), while initials could be inscribed into this part of the pastry. The Cornish pasty was taken around Britain and to the USA by miners, as the Cornish mining industry declined. Today, traditional pasties are enjoying a revival, with an increase in the number of high-street outlets specializing in them. In Cardiff, The Cornish Bakehouse opened in 2005, while the Pembrokeshire Pasty and Pie Co opened at the end of 2010.
The Cornish Bakehouse originated in St. Ives, Cornwall in 1990. There are now 23 shops, from Cornwall to Colchester in the east, as far north as Wolverhampton, and with two in Wales. The Cardiff shop is on the corner opposite the entrance to St. John’s on Church Street. The pasties are made by Crantock Bakery and sold as “the true taste of Cornwall”. Authenticity is the keyword, and the pasties are traditionally crimped. Steak-filled traditional pasties are sold in four sizes (small to giant). These (small, £1.85) have a good amount of mildly-spiced meat filling, with easily digested, thinly-sliced potato and swede pieces, and taste just like you’d expect a good Cornish pasty to taste. A wide range of fillings are available, including 'gourmet pasties'. I tried the Moroccan Spiced Vegetable (£2.75), which was pleasant, but I did not like the spicy crust on the pasty casing. Take-away and some seats for eating in.
The Cornish Bakehouse, 11 Church Street, Cardiff. http://www.cornish-bakehouse.com/
The Pembrokeshire Pasty and Pie Co., 1-3 Royal Arcade, St Mary Street, Cardiff. http://www.parcelsofmagic.com/
Stephen Nottingham adds (March 2011)
The Pembrokeshire Pasty and Pie Co have added stools and a window table since this blog was first posted.