I wonder if I have stumbled upon Cornwall’s best version of its County dish?
Wherever you go in the county you are faced with shops selling the Cornish Pasty in resorts like Padstow for instance there are three pasty shops all next to each other, you would never think that possible but its true.
In various places in the county there are versions of the pasty with chicken, lamb and even curry but when it comes down to it, the traditional version is king in Kernow! Potato, swede, onion and beef in a pastry crimped pocket!
The art and it is a real art is to get the right proportion and balance of ingredients prepared then sliced and all brought together in a crumbly golden pastry wrapping.
With county mass producers of pasties like that of Warrens, Philps and Ginsters they really should take a trip to Geevor Tin Mine and check out what Margaret and John are turning out for visitors to the café within the historical industrial mining complex on the north coast of west Cornwall at Pendeen.
Maybe not the most perfect in shape but obviously not mass produced, freshly home made and the most tasty I have ever eaten. The right combination of ingredients cooked to perfection, moist and not over seasoned, for me it was an award winner and I have to congratulate the husband and wife team who kicked off my visit at the tin mine tourist centre to a warming content start on a chilly March morning.
The warmth continued as AJ or Alan Jones a former tin miner at Geevor and with his broad Cornish lilt he was my guide to the extensive time warp of a complex that had produced tin up until 1990.
AJ explained in enthusiastic details the whole of the tin production process, from its extraction under ground to at some times the very delicate requirements of the procedure in order to remove the valuable tiny fragments of tin from the massive blocks of granite hewn by, in the early days, young boys as well as men.
It has been said that ‘find a hole anywhere in the world and you will find a Cornishman”. The county exported skilled miners all over the world and as the market and price of tin dropped, the work opportunities dried up and many left this area of West Cornwall. However the whole area around Pendeen of some 67 acres is now a Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. Geevor now acts as a very memorial to those that drilled, blasted or shoveled ore in tiny wet, cramped seams many feet under the ground and even out under the sea too.
There are areas of the above ground complex that look as if the miners had just left the day before and it illustrates perfectly how they worked in the days of tin production there.
The tin mining community is a very close one and still having links to the mine and its now living history I feel AJ and his ilk are yet another perfect combination to be found there.
In their case to act as very informative and knowledgeable guides and with Margaret and John’s pasties its Cornwall in a can…a tin one of course.