A final tour round Padstow this morning revealed long sandy beaches, a steady climb to the town’s war memorial with its views out to sea and, unbelievably, yet more Stein establishments.
After yesterday’s visitations to (how many?) of the premises, this morning we found hidden away in the backstreets a Stein cafe and even a B&B. This town is remarkable in so many ways – the sheer number of fine eateries, the volume of award-winning establishments and producers – but not least because of the chef’s unavoidable presence.
But before we set back north there was one last taste of Cornwall we had to do – of course the pasty.
In a town where the aroma of pasties mingles with the sharp scent of vinegar on chips and salt on fish, that symbol of Cornish toil is now as much a part of a holiday as clotted cream.
I lost count of the number of pasty suppliers (I took pictures of some) and of the huge variety of fillings. Here’s a very abbreviated list; lamb and mint, leek and cheese, steak and brie and even curried pastry packages fastened with that tell-tale twisted ridge.
It was hard to know which to choose so we put two very different establishments to the test. Feeling that vegetarians perhaps get a rough deal in this foodie mecca I decided to find a meat-free version and selected the long established and award-winning Chough Bakery.
He went for the traditional version from Morris, “Padstow’s Posh Pasty”.
They each cost just over £3 and we settled near the morbidly obese gulls on the harbour wall to see what we’d got.
My mixed veg (right in the picture) was an assortment of courgette, carrot, peppers encased in a pastry which was soft but not satisfyingly crumbly. I was disappointed as the expected peppery and spice seasoning which is always the pleasure of a pasty seemed to be entirely missing. It was bland, not well-seasoned.
His “posh” one (left) fared much better. Although it’s a bit hard to compare meat and veg, his was perfectly seasoned, the steak inside succulent and the carrots and spuds juicy. To cap it all, the pastry had just the right amount of bite and crumble – no soggy bottoms there.
So posh gets the vote – thankfully meaning there was very little left for those gulls who desperately need a lifestyle coach if they’re ever to mend their grasping, lardy, bad-mannered ways.
Heading away from the sunny beaches, the quintessential English summer puffy clouds and byplanes we we sad leaving this foodie town behind. No time even for a cream tea.
Now there’s at least one reason for a repeat performance.