Warm, golden pastry, stuffed with perfectly seasoned meat and vegetables, sealed with a hand-crimped crust – the Cornish pasty is as delicious as it is iconic. Originally savoury at one end and sweet at the other, giving hard-working tin miners a full, hot meal complete with a crimped handle to prevent dirty hands touching the food. Today, beef, potato, onion and swede remain the traditional (and hard to beat) option, and if you are only going to eat one pasty in Cornwall you should probably make it a traditional one. But the once humble pasty continues to evolve, and you can now pick up pasties of any and every flavour imaginable – from chicken tikka to apple and salted caramel, with many shops offering gluten-free and vegan options. Here, I’ve rounded up 10 of the best places to pick up a pasty in Cornwall.
Sarah's Pasty Shop, Looe
Sarah’s Pasty Shop produces top notch pasties fresh from a charming shop right in the heart of my hometown – lovely Looe. A small wooden sign swinging in the sea breeze, and often a queue of people snaking around the side of the building, point out this unassuming little nook. Once inside you may well be lucky enough to see the pasties being rolled, filled and crimped in the open kitchen. With pasties purchased, meander through Looe’s winding streets towards the beach and down to Banjo Pier to enjoy lunch with beautiful sea views.
Malcom Barnecutt's, Rock
Barnecutt’s is a small local chain of bakeries, producing pasties and other traditional baked goods since 1930. They are a proper Cornish institution, where Cornish people pick up their pasties. Their traditional pasties are delectable, but I must confess to a personal soft spot for the ultimate comfort food that is a Barnecutt’s cheese and onion pasty. In fact, full disclosure, I am also still partial to a cheese and baked bean pasty from Barnecutt’s for the ultimate childhood nostalgia. If you’ve room for dessert, their saffron buns, another Cornish delicacy, are not to be missed. There are stores in Bodmin, Newquay, Launceston, Liskeard, Pool, St Austell, St Merryn and Wadebridge, but the Rock branch is my top pick – in prime position for a North Cornwall adventure. Get there early, pick up a piping hot pasty and head for the Coast Path where you can walk to glorious Polzeath in about an hour and a half – your pasty should still be warm on arrival!
St Ives Bakery, St Ives
St Ives Bakery is as pretty as its hometown, windows loaded with artisan breads, colourful meringues and mouth-watering pastries. The bakery is proudly independently owned and has been carefully curated to a unique and enchanting aesthetic. But this is definitely not a case of style over substance. Everything here is expertly and painstakingly crafted, and pasties are taken particularly seriously – always handmade and freshly baked throughout the day. For the true connoisseurs – traditional pasties are even available with a choice of shortcrust or flaky pastry, whilst other fillings on offer include Lamb and Mint, Chicken, Steak and Stilton and vegetarian options like classic Cheese and Onion. Decisions, decisions…
St Agnes Bakery, St Agnes
One of Cornwall’s most historic bakeries, St Agnes is a traditional Cornish bakehouse producing some of the tastiest pasties around. Established in 1905 they are still operating from their original site, and old-world charm is abundant here. With an emphasis on provenance and many ingredients sourced from local producers, proper old-fashioned Cornish service adds to the charm of this little place. It’s also situated in a beautiful North Cornwall village well worth a visit. Don’t leave without sampling another speciality of their own invention, the St Agnes giant sausage roll!
St Mawes Bakery, St Mawes
St Mawes is a chic and exclusive Cornish destination, home to seriously high-end restaurants and hotels like Hotel Tresanton and The Idle Rocks. As is part of the endless appeal of Cornwall, it is also home to relaxed, low-key gems like The St Mawes Bakery. This small, family run bakery sits right on the picturesque St Mawes quayside. Here, for a modest price, you can pick up a steaming hot traditional Cornish pasty, rustic fresh bread, and mouth-watering sweet treats, while enjoying the same luxurious sea views and elegant ambience as those shelling out for the finest establishments in town.
Pippin's Pasties, Penryn
Locals and tourists flock to Pip’s Pasties for their traditional Cornish pasties – often declared by their loyal clientele ‘the best pasties in Cornwall’. They are undeniably delicious, gorgeously flaky, and generously stuffed with mouth-watering fillings. Situated in a historic market town with cobbled streets, an arty vibe, and attractive harbour; pretty Penryn is a perfect place to enjoy this iconic Cornish treat.
Chough Bakery, Padstow
Padstow is synonymous with fine food, thanks to Rick Stein’s longstanding love affair with the town, and, more recently, chef Paul Ainsworth’s groundbreaking Michelin-starred offerings. When it comes to pasties, Chough bakery steps up to the plate – its gorgeous shop with smooth, rounded, blue and white frontage sitting proudly on the bustling quay. Its popularity means there is often a queue for the speciality pasties baked fresh here each day. Fortunately, this is the ultimate queue-with-a-view, an opportunity to soak up some prime Padstow sights, thanks to its scenic location on the glittering harbour.
Ann's Pasties, The Lizard
Ann’s Pasties are proudly Cornish. Ann’s started out as a single small shop, where pasties were handmade by Ann herself, and has grown thanks to the popularity of the fabulous food produced. There are now stores in Porthleven, Helston and The Lizard Village serving some seriously tasty pasties. Ann’s has remained devoted to its roots, with all their suppliers based within a 10 mile radius and sourced with flavour in mind. A must-visit when exploring the beautiful Lizard Peninsular, there is nowhere better to stop for a true taste of Cornwall.
Philps Pasties, Marazion
A family-run chain of bakeries producing pasties since the fifties, Philp’s pasties are each marked with a P – not for their name, but for ‘premium’. They use high-quality top notch ingredients, and are dedicated to serving up authentic Cornish pasties. The Marazion branch is a particular gem, a great place to pick up a hot, tasty lunch before enjoying the iconic views of St Michael’s Mount.
Gear Farm, Helston
Nestled in the Cornish countryside, it’s well worth seeking out a Gear Farm pasty as the ultimate accompaniment to a day discovering this unspoilt corner of Cornwall. One for the purists, Gear Farm Pasties are made to a traditional method with classic ingredients: a gold standard example of a true Cornish Pasty. For a perfect Cornish day, pick up your Gear Farm goodies and head to pretty Helford. From here you can take the scenic ferry crossing over to Helford Passage, one of the most beautiful places in Cornwall. Wander the woodlands, paddle in the clear waters, and sink a riverside drink in a traditional inn; this alluring Cornish destination is a delight to explore.