Mexico's Cornish Connection: The Central Mexican Town Known for the Iconic British Pasty

Cornish pasty
Cornish pasty | © WikiCommons
Stephen Woodman

Located less than two hours’ drive from Mexico City, the city of Pachuca and the former mining towns that surround it were once hubs for 19th century immigrants from the English county of Cornwall. These English miners left a mark on their adopted country that is still visible today. Soccer, Mexico’s favorite sport, and pasties, one of its most beloved foods, were both transported to the Americas by these rugged English migrants.
The Cornish pasty arrived in Mexico in the 1820s when miners made the 4,500 mile (7,200 km) journey across land and sea to come and work in the central state of Hidalgo.

Monument to the Miner, Real del Monte

The experienced miners were hired to revive the Mexican silver mining industry, after many mines were flooded or damaged during the Mexican War of Independence. The Cornish brought many different things to Mexico, including Methodism and wrestling.

Soccer is without doubt their most enduring legacy. Pachuca is still regarded as a major soccer hub, with the oldest club in the country.

Aside from the beautiful game, pasties are most enduring remnant of the Cornish community in the country. The pastry dish is treated with devotion throughout the State of Hidalgo and beyond. The city of Pachuca alone contains dozens of pasty shops.

Yet Real del Monte, which sits high above Pachuca, lays claims to the title of Mexico’s “pasty capital,” with more pasties per capita than anywhere else in the country.

Real del Monte

Over the years, Mexican pasties have taken on a character of their own and have been combined with local ingredients. Fillings such as red mole (nut and chili sauce), refried beans or even fish are now common.

In recent years, the Cornish-Mexican Cultural Society has worked hard to maintain the memory of Hidalgo’s Cornish heritage. The organization propelled the twinning of Real del Monte and the town of Redruth in Cornwall in 2008.

Real del Monte is also home to the world’s first Cornish Pasty Museum (a similar pasty-themed museum has since opened in Cornwall). The Mexican Pasty Museum tells the story of the snack’s ascent in Mexico. The museum allows guests to try making their own pasties under the supervision of an expert. In 2014, the museum even had a visit from Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Most spectacularly of all, the town of Real del Monte hosts a three-day International Pasty Festival each October, featuring music, festivities and, of course, pasties. The ninth edition of this annual festival will be held from October 13 to 15 this year, and thousands of visitors are expected.

Raw pasty

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