Readers in other parts of the world may not realize how deep-seated is the rivalry between English counties (also known as shires). In many cases it dates back centuries, and whilst good-natured today, in the past actual battles were fought over local disputes.
The county of Cornwall is at the south-western tip of England, with the county of Devon (also known as Devonshire) its neighbor to the east. Rivalry between them has been long and intense. Now, to the utter fury of many Cornish people, a pie contest has been won by an 'interloper' from their neighboring county. It's re-ignited the feud.
In terms of aroma, texture and sheer scrumptiousness it was just what a Cornish pasty should be.
But it wasn't Cornish. So the decision to award a Devon pastry the top title in a Cornish pasty competition has caused outrage.
The winning firm, Chunk of Devon, was only allowed to enter the category at the British Pie Awards because of an administrative mix-up.
Producers from Cornwall who lost out in the blind taste test are now threatening to boycott the awards permanently.
Ann Muller, of the Lizard Pasty Shop in Helston said firms should not be allowed to label their pastry products ‘Cornish’.
She said: ‘Why don’t they just call them Devon pasties? They’re happy to call their cream teas Devonshire and we’ve got Cornish cream teas.
‘Why do they want to call their pasties Cornish? Stop messing about and don’t forget where the border is.’
But Chunk of Devon managing director, Simon Bryon-Edmond, 47, defended their title and criticised their counterparts for ‘resting on their laurels’.
He said: ‘It seems the Cornish may have got a bit podgy round the waist when it comes to pasty-making and have been relaxing and rather resting on their laurels.
‘We were the underdogs in the competition but we know our pasty is a winner.
‘The judges were asked to think again because we were from Devon but they have turned the appeal down. We are the winners.
. . .
The chairman of the British Pie Awards Matthew O'Callaghan admitted organisers had made a mistake and apologised to Cornish pie makers.
He said: "There was supposed to be a disclaimer on the application form which stated all entrants to the Cornish Pasty competition must come from Cornwall.
'It wasn't done and I have to admit it was an administrative cock up. The judges held a blind taste competition and felt the Devon pasty tasted the best.
'Personally I was gutted for the Cornish - it was not a pleasant moment when we realised someone from Devon had won.
'I knew what it would mean to the Cornwall pie makers and I can only apologise. I understand all the old arguments will be brought up again.'
Mr O'Callaghan is also chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie association and is part of the legal bid to keep the name exclusive to Melton Mowbray.
He said: 'I believe Cornish pasties should only come from Cornwall and next year we will make that stipulation as part of the awards.
'I would appeal to all Cornish pasty makers to come back next year and show us how to make the perfect Cornish pasty.'
It's fun to see such a storm in a teacup. I think Cornish pasty makers should enter a competition for the best Devonshire cream tea, and win it. That'd get their own back, and no mistake!