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The Cornish Pasty

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Chretien de Troyes

Literary works written between 1160 to 1172


The earliest pasty references are to Chretien de Troyes who was a late 12th-Century poet at the court of his patroness, Countess Marie de Champagne, between 1160-1172.  His life dates are not known.

The works were Arthurian Romances set in what is now Cornwall, being titled:

Erec was one of King Arthur's knights.

The complete works, in English, can be found HERE.

The original Érec et Énide, written in Olde Frenche in about 1170, can be found HERE. .....

5146 Lors a Guivrez un cofre overt,         Then Guivrey opened a cupboard
5147 S'an fist fors treire deus pastez.     And drew forth two pasties.
5148 "Amis," fet il, "or an tastez            "Friends", quoth he,"come taste
5149 Un petit de cez pastez froiz!           a little of these cold pasties!
5150 Vin a eve meslé bevroiz;
5151 J'an ai de buen sis baris plains;
        The last two lines defeat me, but he seems to be inviting them to
drink some medlar wine, of which he has six barrels of good stuff.
(Translated by Mr Henry "Oggy" Trelissick, a former French scholar)

The word "pastez" was submitted to an international translation dictionary HERE .....

Here is what it provided .....

English pasty
Italian pasticcio, tortino
Spanish pastel ; tarta
French pâté en croûte ; tourte
Breton pastez ; tourtenn
Catalan pastís
Finnish pasteija ; piiras
Welsh pastai

NB - "Pastez" is Breton for "pasty" - another Celtic link .....

"Pâté" = ground meat/meat paste

"en croute" - means "in crust"

There are other varieties of meat pastes cooked in pastry (rather like pork pies) in France which are cooked in baking dishes (Fr. - terrines)/bread tins. This could lead towards SPAM (Specially Processed American Meat) cooked in pastry ..... imagine, a SPAM-UK pasty!

However, some pâté en croute recipes sound delicious, chicken and beef in red wine with chestnuts .....


Updated item  14 Sep 2009

Another occurrence of the word "pastez" can be found in this internet article of teaching notes for students of Old French, mentioning Chretien de Troyes' Yvain, a character based on the historical Owain mab Urien.

44. Some of the utensils set on the table are mentioned in the
Yvain: Mes del mangier ne fu deduiz, QuHl rfi ot pein ne vin ne
sel Ne nape ne coutel ne el (w. 3468-70). See further: Et desus
les tables assises Et les salieres et li pains. Lave ont y si se sont assis.
Del sanglier mangferent au poivre Et del cerf firent bons lardez Et
des capons firent pastez. Roman de Renart y II, v. 65. Et le menger
fut moult riche apreste. Assis sont, quant cbascuns ot lave. Aquin,
ed. Joiion des Longrais (Nantes, 1880), w. 2378-79. Et Ysengrims
devant euls taille, Qui lor apresta lor mtaille. Roman de Renart,
II, p. 321.


Chretien de Troyes links .....

Celtic spiral animation