03/03/2012 09:33 GMT | Updated 03/03/2012 09:39 GMT

Cornish Pasty Championships Underway At Eden Project In Cornwall (Pictures)

A pasty lover's dream day out is currently going on at the Eden project in Cornwall, as snack connoisseurs and baking enthusiasts gathered at the world pasty championships.

Floury fingered competitors will be cooking in one of several categories; amateur, professional and 'unusual' to win the esteemed label of pasty king or queen.

The Cornish pasty has a long and distinguished heritage, and is protected under European law, meaning only pasties made in Cornwall have the esteemed privilege of being called 'Cornish pasties' (similar to Champagne.)

Pasties were a lunchtime stalwart in England long before they were usurped by the sandwich. First appearing in England as early as the 13th century, pasties were sometimes filled with eels and seafood, as well as dried fruit.

Today competitors will be trying to make their pasty according to a more traditional recipe, with the filling "chunky, made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), swede, potato and onion and a light peppery seasoning."

The meat was added to the recipe later, as the pasty was often eaten by poorer Cornish families, taken as a portable lunch by labourers off to work down the tin mines.

The crust was used as a handle to eat the pasty, which was often then thrown away as there were high levels of arsenic in many of the tin mines.

For those who have worked up an appetite for the meaty treat, the traditional recipe produced on the cornishpastyassocation website might be of interest. However it comes with a minor warning: "Never attempt to add carrot, this is sacrilege!!"