Cornwall, England, is a long way from Quorn, SA, but both have great pastries.
Story By John Mannion
At Quorn, in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, the locals love their pasties. While the town caters for a variety of culinary tastes – it has four hotels and several cafes and restaurants that offer a variety of dining experiences – Quorn has its own pastry delight, the Quornish Pasty.
The traditional Cornish pasty is associated with Cornwall in England, where it dates back to the 1500s. In Australia, it has had a long association with the Copper Coast on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, which has a strong Cornish heritage.
The Quornish Pasty, which was first registered as a South Australian business name in 2002, dates back to around 1982, when Quorn locals Wayne Schuttloffel and his sister Jan Jarvis took over a former general store and emporium, trading as Buckaringa Supa Deli, a general store/supermarket with a small bakery. “We employed a couple of girls who cooked takeaway foods and pastry goods including pasties. The pasty recipe came from our mother Gladys, and is believed to have its roots in Wales,” Jan says.
Since then the business has changed hands a number of times. After a fire in 1987, the premises were rebuilt with a small in-store bakery, and the current lessees Mel Shinks and her partner Buddy Bowden have continued the pasty-baking tradition since they took over the IGA Supermarket in October 2013.
Mel and Buddy are no strangers to the north of South Australia. Buddy had a livestock-trucking business based at Lyndhurst at the southern end of the Strzelecki Track, and Mel was a ringer on Todmorden Station near Oodnadatta when they got together, relocating to a small property just north of Quorn in 1992.
“It seems like anyone who leaves Lyndhurst takes their house with them; in our case it was an ATCO hut,” Mel says. “Quorn was about as far south as we wanted to settle.”
Buddy stayed behind the wheel of a prime mover until 2012, when he took a year off. “Four children and 20 years after the move to Quorn we decided to lease the IGA business, and purchased the rights to the name, Quornish Pasty,” Mel says.
When Mel took over there was only one pasty on offer – the usual meat and vegetable variety. “So we decided to add extra pepper to the recipe and also introduced a vegetarian pasty to the range … currently we offer three varieties of pasties, two varieties of sausage rolls, nine varieties of meat pies, and quiches, but the pasties are by far the biggest sellers.”
The production of these pastry dishes all takes place in the compact bakery in the capable hands of bakers Pat Gilbert, who recently took over from Allan Martin, and Margaret Gloede, both long-term Quorn residents with backgrounds in the food industry. The women, including Mel, pride themselves on using only the choicest ingredients available. The vegetables are all hand-peeled, and the minced meat (beef) is from the nearby Quorn Meat Store, which Buddy and Mel recently reopened. “We weren’t satisfied with the meat we sourced from Adelaide so we decided to open the old butcher shop, with country-killed meat supplied weekly from the Crystal Brook abattoirs, about two hours’ south of Quorn,” Mel says.
This Story is from Issue #103
Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2015