Proper Pastry Co., 3 Water Lane, Bakewell DE45 1EU
Eating Cornish pasties in Bakewell Derbyshire …. Hmmm, makes you think about priorities, etc. of ‘When in Rome ….’. Can’t come to Bakewell without at least sampling one of those traditional dolce for which this small town is famous throughout the English-speaking world: Bakewell tarts & Bakewell puddings.
But … we’d ordered Cornish pasties. Well, the shop specialized in them; it was lunchtime and tarts and puddings are best associated with afternoon tea (or a second/third course after the mains). Earlier we’d walked passed a shop in Matlock Street that had taken its name from this culinary delight – but, when we looked inside, it had been dark and full to overflowing. Well …. the thought had been there.
The Proper Pasty Co was shoe-horned into just about the smallest space ever; there’s no way that you could ‘swing a cat in …’ this one. (Never heard that saying before? It comes from taking a break in the Peak District – one of those iconic parts of England in which time appears to have stood still – here you have this gorgeous patchwork of stone-walled fields, sheep/cattle grazing and rolling green country with a scattering of villages hidden in the valleys, limestone outcrops, rivers that have followed the tracks of ancient glaciers and scoured out narrow beds that once provided ancient trails and, now, easy walking for your modern-day hiker/day-tripper. This is a glimpse of the English countryside at its best. So, it’s easy to slip into old fashion language.)
We found the pasty shop in the tweeky tourist-focused part of town squeezed in between the River Wye and Bridge Street – everything renovated, smart and novel; the majority food/eating shops and, in the sunshine of early September, the haunt of the holiday-maker; if not the wall-to-wall grey brigade, then a fair number of them fitted that description – all tucking into their local fayre. We were looking to join them. The Proper Pasty shop, like the area around it was smart, pristine clean, full of light; the shop window full of pasties that looked inviting.
We’d been searching for a place to sit and eat – spacious, comfortable, etc. and preferably inside (given the keen wind that was blowing off the hills around). We were the only ones in the shop – and took up half the table/seating available, but it was only the takeaway trade that followed us in during our time. The Cornish pasties looked delicious. It helped that presentation was good – glass, light, clear descriptors/prices, etc. Friendly serving lady too.
We asked the friendly lady. ‘Isn’t there some kind of rule that you can’t use the descriptor ‘Cornish’ for a pasty of this kind unless it’s made in Cornwall?’.
Quick as a flash she came back. ‘That’s right, and those in our shop are made there; they’re shipped in and baked here’.
Behind the lady you could see through into the large wall oven and the next batch of pasties being cooked.
The second question was about design. ‘My mother used to fold her pastry and crimp them at the top, running the crimp side-to-side and up-and-over; your pasties are flat and crimped around a sort of half-moon shape, a bit like an apple turnover’.
‘That’s a Devon pasty’, she said.
Not only friendly then – clever too.
On the wall there was an offer ‘Pasty & drink £5.00’; we took the bait and ordered a couple of pasties (Cornish – lamb/mint, and vegetarian) and drinks - café latte and orange juice. There’s not much difference in pricing with coffee & pastry – discount of the order 2%, but considerably more with fruit juice & pastry -20%. (Separate prices £2.80, £2.30 & £1.20. You work it out. Our issue, of course, we’d requested the meals.)
Findings? Enjoyed the lamb/mint pasty, but the veggie one was disappointing – mixed/minced interior even and/or muddled tastes of contents and pastry; none of that contrasting taste/texture that you get from biting into chunks of potatoes & meat. The veggie pasty remained half-eaten and then got binned. It raises the question of whether you can make a real Cornish pasty that’s veggie.
We enjoyed our break notwithstanding that veggie pasty. Coffee was good.
(We'd have summarized the Proper Pasty Co shop as 'Good' but, unfortunately, TripAdvisor does not provide this category - and thus our 'Average given that it did not meet 'Very Good' status).
12 September 2018
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