'Their version are more like crepes': Derbyshire Oatcakes business owner dismisses competitive Staffordshire oatcake rivalry

The owner of Derbyshire Oatcakes – which first invented the savoury delicacy 75 years ago – has dismissed claims of a rivalry with neighbouring county Staffordshire, saying their version is more reminiscent of a French crepe’.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th March 2021, 12:56 pm
Derbyshire Oatcakes.

Ian Barratt, director of Derbyshire Oatcakes, inherited the family business from his uncle, who took over after his grandmother and granddad started the first oatcake bakery in Buxton in 1949.

The Derbyshire business has been using the same trusted oatcake recipe, which is a close guarded family secret that has been handed down through three generations of bakers, ever since.

The fluffy, thick Derbyshire oatcake is a staple for breakfast, lunch or dinner in many kitchens across the county, with it first appearing as a popular snack in the region back in the 17th century.

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Owner of Derbyshire Oatcakes Ian Barratt.

But the director who lives in Combs, near Chapel-en-le-Frith, has quashed suggestions that there is an ongoing rivalry with bakers in Staffordshire over who first started making the savoury bread, arguing the version our neighbours make is closer to a French pancake.

Ian said: "The Staffordshire one is a crepe, it is no way an oatcake as such but there's different oatcakes aren't there.

"You've got Derbyshire oatcakes and then the Scottish oatcake which is more of a biscuit so I don't really know where they get it from that it is even an oatcake.

"The Scottish would then argue why are our Derbyshire ones considered an oatcake so I guess it is just a bit of fun.

"The only thing I can say is oatcakes started in Buxton with my family."

It comes after the hosts of BBC Radio Six Music, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie added fuel to the heated Midlands debate on Sunday, February 28, when they invited oatcake makers from Matlock, David and Ruth, onto the show to plead their case for why oatcakes originated in Derbyshire.

The Derbyshire coupled labelled the thinner, Staffordshire version as “pretenders to the oatcake crowd”.

But Ian’s family business, which originally started as an oatcake and ice-cream venture before becoming a well-known bakery in the county, has now ‘gone back to the olden days’ by returning to its roots as a small operation.

The director who enjoys his oatcake fried in olive oil with bacon and eggs, couldn’t help adding that Derbyshire obviously has the rightful claim over the bread which is the perfect cross between a crumpet and a pancake.

"The business is very much a hands on affair and it is not something that is easily automated and I'm just so proud of it really”, Ian added.

"Each to their own, I'm not that bothered about the rivalry but let's get it right - it's a Derbyshire oatcake at the end of the day and it should be built in Derbyshire.

"The Staffordshire version is more of a french crepe in my eyes and they've got milk in theirs.

"Mine is still very much a vegan and vegetarian food which has stood the test of time – I think because it is so versatile, it is not just something that you wrap everything in, it can be sliced, it can be fried, it can be grilled.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.