Sunday 22 April 2018

Chilean miner wins pasty prize

The winners at the World Pasty Championships (The Eden Project/PA Wire)
The winners at the World Pasty Championships (The Eden Project/PA Wire)

An award celebrating a centuries-old British delicacy has been won by a Chilean miner who can not speak English.

Jorge Pereira, who was attending the World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project in Cornwall as part of a two-month visit to the UK, won the open savoury amateur category with an empanada Chilena, a traditional Chilean pasty made with beef, onion, hard-boiled egg, olives and sultanas.

The origins of the pasty are themselves disputed between those from Cornwall and Devon, and date back to the 14th century when miners used to graze on the pastry-based finger food while working underground. A traditional Cornish pasty features chuck steak, potato, turnip and onion and is crimped on the side, while the Devon variety is crimped on the top.

Mr Pereira said through his wife Gail Cleverdon: "I feel very excited and happy to be so far from my country to win such a prize. It's all about getting recognition for my country rather than winning."

Betty Lethbridge, 88, mother of Fisherman's Friends singer John Lethbridge, won the amateur title.

The veteran crimper, from St Kew, said: "I've been making them for years and years. I started when I was eight years old. Mother used to make pasties so I used to roll the pastry out on a bench. You need to get really good meat to make a pasty and the seasoning is important."

The highest marks in the competition were awarded to professional winner Andy Heath from Bodmin, who scored 96 out of 100, and open savoury professional winner Luisa Ead from Padstow, who scored 97 with a smoked haddock, white wine and mustard pasty.

In the company categories, West Cornwall Pasty Company was victorious for the second year running. The event attracted around 150 pasty entries, a similar figure to last year, which was the highest to that point.

Eden Project spokesman David Rowe said: "The fourth World Pasty Championships was a very memorable one for sure. Mrs Lethbridge's win was such a heart-warming story. We commend the entrants who took so much pride in their pasties."

The Cornish pasty has had protective status since 2011, a distinctive sign used to identify it as originating from a certain place.

The following year, scores of bakers and consumers joined forces with politicians and regional newspaper the Western Morning News in a successful bid to force a Government U-turn on the controversial pasty tax.

Press Association

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