Seventh annual World Pasty Championships...

PASTY makers from across the globe defied a week of extreme weather to descend on Cornwall’s Eden Project at the weekend for the seventh annual World Pasty Championships.

More than 200 pasties were entered, the highest number in the history of this celebration of Cornwall’s foodie gift to the world. The event was the finale of the first-ever Cornish Pasty Week.

Among the big winners was the Pure Pasty Co, based in Vienna, Virginia in the Washington DC suburbs, who were victorious in the Open Savoury Company category with a barbecue chicken pasty made with sweet potato, zucchini, red pepper, corn and pineapple.

A group of pasty enthusiasts from Bristol who have entered the competition every year it has been running were awarded the prestigious Pasty Ambassador award. This was the first time the award has been given to a group rather than an individual.

The group includes Don McKeever, who is the most decorated pasty-maker in the history of the championships with three wins and one second place to his name. This year, the group was smaller than usual due to the poor weather in the run-up to the competition, but Don and a handful of others made it to Cornwall.

Don said: “It’s a huge surprise to be named pasty ambassadors. We’ve worked hard over the years and we really enjoy the event. It’s really nice for the whole group to get the recognition this year. The guys who couldn’t make it will be delighted and we’ll share the trophy round during the course of the year.”

Gillian Francis from St Cleer, won the Cornish Pasty Amateur category and came third in the Open Savoury Amateur category despite only learning to crimp two weeks ago.

The mum-of-three, who is a teaching assistant at St Cleer Primary School, said: “I’ve been testing out my pasties on my three sons for years but didn’t know how to crimp properly so I had to ask my next-door neighbour to teach me a few weeks ago.

“This is the first time I’ve entered the World Pasty Championships and I’m absolutely overwhelmed and shocked to win. I thought my boys were playing a joke on me!”

Eden Project spokesman David Rowe said: “There was a great spirit today at our seventh World Pasty Championships. The pasty bakers made heroic efforts to be here despite everything the weather could throw at them this week.

“Huge thanks to our friends from the Cornish Pasty Association for helping us deliver the event as fitting end of the first-ever Cornish Pasty Week.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.