Beach Retreats visited the unassuming shop on Cornwall’s north-coast to find out more and sample its famous saffron heavy cake as seen on TV.

8th January 2015

The secret is out about this unassuming bakery. We visited one of its flagship shops on Cornwall’s north coast to find out more, and to sample some of its famous saffron-heavy cake as featured on TV, of course.

Take a stroll into Portreath village centre and you’d be forgiven for walking straight past Portreath Bakery. But you’d be missing a treat if you did.

Established by Marion Symonds in 1988, the family-owned business has gone strength to strength, now offering much more than the humble – although fantastic – Cornish pasty.

The bakery sources all of its ingredients locally, adding eggs, meat and vegetables, who have been a supplier for more than 20 years.

Over the years the bakery has featured on various television programmes alongside Hugh Scully and ‘Two Fat Ladies’ and has also been personally recommended by Rick Stein’s book ‘Food Heroes’ and Carolyn Martin’s book ‘Our Daily Bread’.

Their famous saffron heavy featured on a recent television programme, Britain’s Best Bakery, where the judges remarked on how moist and fruity it was.

Cornish pastry facts

    • Heavy cake was originally taken to sea as sustenance for sailors, including Marion’s uncle Gordon Greenslade who is now in his 101st year and still living in Portreath
    • Pasties were originally invented by housewives for their husbands to take down the mine and typically had a savoury and sweet end
    • Miners would hold the pasty by the crimp throw this away at the end to avoid eating the arsenic that was on their hands
    • Housewives marked their husband’s initials on the left-hand side of the pastry to avoid any confusion at lunchtime
    • Miners often saved this corner of their pasty for a ‘knocker’ or mischievous elves who were believed to cause bad luck

Portreath Bakery is 30-minute drive down the coast from Newquay. Visit for more information.

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