IT is a delicacy that has been popular with generations of Boltonians for more than 50 years.

Now the pastie barm — a pastie in a bread muffin — has been named as the town’s favourite food.

While those from outside the area have never heard of it, residents love nothing more than a pastie barm for lunch, according to new research.

Bakers Greenhalgh’s mapped the sales in its stores and found customers in Bolton like their pastie barm; those in Wigan would go for a pie every time; steak puddings are the number one choice for Accrington folk; and Ormskirk is the place for quiche and spicy vegetable soup.

Experts believe that the choice of food is down to where people are brought up.

Dr Kritika Mahadevan, of Manchester Metropolitan University’s food and nutrition department, said: “This variation on a hyperlocal scale can be explained in a number of ways.

“However, the likely reason for these local favourites can be attributed to a person’s upbringing. People from an area are likely to grow up eating similar foods and as such develop similar tastes which they associate with home.”

The pastie barm was invented by a group of school boys in the 1950s, according to Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe owner Marie Walsh, who sells about 50 to 60 of them on a cold winter day.

She said: “The schoolboys used to come across at break time and would have a pastie barm because they had not had any breakfast and it would fill them up and it was a cheap dinner.”

She added: “We get people from all over the country who have never heard of them and they come in to try them.”

Sandra Ogden, retail sales manager at Greenhalgh’s, said: “We all know that dialects can change within a few miles, however it is fascinating to see how tastes change as well.

“It is also interesting to see how some favourites don’t transfer at all out of a locality, the best example being a Bolton favourite the pastie barm cake.

“We saw this again when we opened our first store in Preston and customers began requesting butter pies — we had never heard of them in Bolton, however, as the statistics show, they are still the biggest sellers in Leyland and Chorley and a big seller in Preston.”

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