Pick of the Devon pasties: Our blind test challenge
May 25th, 2016 | By Ross Purdy
Pasties are perfect ready-made picnics in themselves. They’re tasty, filling, reasonably priced and available in a huge number of bakeries and shops, especially here in the West Country. Of course, our Cornish cousins make the most famous variety, but we Devonians make a pretty mean pasty ourselves.
In 2006, one historian even claimed that the Devon pasty could have been the true original, with records from Plymouth mentioning pasties as early as 1509 and 1510. Cornish historians quickly retorted that there cave paintings from Cornwall that depict pasties, meaning they were consuming them even in ancient times!
We’ll leave that debate to the experts. Nevertheless, with over 700 years of practising the art of the pasty behind us, it’s safe to say that Devon is a great place to pick up a tasty pasty from a local producer.
We decided to find out which of the many local Devon pasties is the most delicious of all. So we set up an experiment for our Salcombe team:
- We picked up five Devon pasties from popular bakeries in Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and Salcombe
- We removed any identifying labels from them and cut them into manageable pieces
- 10 members of our locally-based team tried some of each pasty and ranked them according to their preference.
There are far too many producers of delicious Devon pasties for us to include them all in our challenge (although some of our team members would certainly have given it a good go!) so we had to restrict them to the three towns above. Rest assured that there are plenty of other delicious local options, and we’re only considering a sample of the delights on offer in South Devon.
Here are the contenders:
1. Dartmouth Bakery
You’ll find Dartmouth Bakery and the Sloping Deck Restaurant on Duke Street in the centre of Dartmouth. All their food, including their popular fresh bread, is made in their own bakery.
Their traditional pasties cost £2.60 to take away.
2. @11’s Kingsbridge / @ the bakery Frogmore
D’art Fine Food has branches in Kingsbridge and Frogmore, as well as catering for various events in the area. Their popular cakes, pies, puddings and pasties have seen them win several awards in recent years. We picked up a traditional pasty from their Kingsbridge shop towards the bottom of Fore Street.
Their traditional pasties are available for £2.60 to take away.
3. Mangetout (Kingsbridge)
Mangetout Café and Delicatessen has been serving customers in Kingsbridge for over 40 years. You’ll find them towards the top of Fore Street.
A traditional Devon pasty from Mangetout, sourced from Chunk of Devon which is based in Ottery St Mary, costs £2.75.
4. The Bake House (Salcombe and Kingsbridge)
The popular Bake House on Salcombe’s Fore Street is best known for its wonderful fresh bread – a must-have for foodie holidaymakers staying in the town. There’s also a branch in Kingsbridge, towards the bottom of Fore Street.
Their traditional pasties are £3.50.
5. Butterworth’s Family Bakery
Halfway up Fore Street in Kingsbridge, you’ll find Butterworth’s, a friendly, family-run bakery with a tempting range of reasonably priced cakes, pastries and more.
Their traditional pasties are the lowest priced amongst our contestants, available for just £1.92.
So those are all the contenders. (We excluded number 6 before the tasting commenced when we learnt it was actually made in Cornwall!)
The big question is, how did they fare?
Without further ado, our best South Devon Pasty Award goes to…
Butterworth’s Family Bakery
The winner was the rustic, locally-made Devon pasty made by Butterworth’s Family Bakery on Kingsbridge’s Fore Street. The moist, tasty and generous filling, combined with the homely shortcrust pastry, wowed the judges with as many as seven of the ten choosing it as their favourite.
Two judges chose the pasty by @11’s Kingsbridge as their favourite, which deserves an honourable mention as a worthy runner-up.
Book a South Devon break and you can enjoy finding your own favourite bakeries, cafes, pubs and restaurants in this beautiful part of the country.