A Wealth of Diversity
You may be forgiven for thinking that food in Cornwall is solely restricted to pasties and cream teas.
Of course, these amazing foods are great. One of my favourite things to do on a Saturday is grab a pasty and head to the beach. But, I do want to highlight that they are just the tip of the iceberg.
Especially as you would be overlooking the wealth of diversity that makes up the range of products we farm, fish or manufacture here in the County.
Thankfully, we’ve moved on from the stigma of British food in the 1950’s and 60’s as being overcooked and dreary. Consequently, we have embraced a more relaxed, Continental style that perfectly fits our corner of the globe.
Gourmet Food – Lifestyle Destination
The groundswell of interest in gourmet food owes much to celebrity chefs such as Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw. These outstanding chefs have all chosen to launch highly successful fish restaurants.
It’s no surprise they chose fish!
Given their restaurants are situated on the Cornish north coast, who wouldn’t want to work with the freshest of ingredients plucked from the sea outside their doors?
However, it’s not just fish that’s attracted a number of Michelin-starred chefs to leave the ‘rat race’ and decamp to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Many of them bring a raft of different ideas and products we can adapt to suit our way of life and farming constraints.
As a result, our food has been enriched by their creativity and desire to live in the county.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Our Cornish Pantry?
With nearly 80% of our agricultural land situated in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB), our farming exploits are confined to small domains.
They dot the landscape – low granite-built farmhouses with traditional stone hedges that surround small fields. Because space is tight, it’s necessary to employ a hands-on approach to husbandry, rather than high-intensity practices.
High Quality from Small Yields
This need to accomplish high quality food from small yields fits well with the field to fork living many of the top chefs are now espousing.
Aided by warm trade winds blowing up from Africa, Cornwall benefits from milder temperatures and increased rainfall, meaning that we are able to get a head start on the growing season.
We are also able to grow foodstuffs that can’t be grown anywhere else in the United Kingdom, as winter is temperate and not prone to frosts and snows.
Artisan Food Creativity Heralding A New Dawn
Cornwall has always inspired creativity. Take the artists that flocked to St Ives and Newlyn in the early 20th century. They took their passion to a new level, viewing the beautiful coastline, beaches and rugged landscapes as their playground to grow.
Not unsurprisingly, that same light and energy brings the visitors to our lands, but also stimulates entrepreneurial endeavours in our food producers.
No Mousetrap Cheese Here
“Dessert without cheese is like a beauty with only one eye”
― Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
You would think that cheese might be something that is straightforward and mass-produced in a factory. That is to say, you’d be right in some quarters. But not here in Cornwall!
Ingenuity and creativity has combined to produce world status Cornish Yarg and Cornish Gouda cheeses, amongst others.
Each producer has wonderful stories to tell, and I look forward to being able to bring you these tales within the dairy pages here at Cornish Foodie.
Cornish Clotted Cream
Of course, I can’t pass on an opportunity to talk about our world famous Cornish Clotted Cream!
Being a native of St Ives, I adhere to the Cornish rule of jam first, before adding my rich clotted cream to the top of my scone or Cornish split.
Come and explore with me alternative ways to enjoy this classic treat – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
This Pig Goes to Market
“The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live”
Producing meat with a flavour that will have you wondering why other pork doesn’t match up, Coombeshead Farm is rearing some of the most unusual animal stock.
The Mangalitsa pig (you didn’t know I could speak Hungarian, did you!) is an Old World breed. They have a wonderful curly blonde coat that makes them look like a cross between a sheep and a pig!
Not only does this breed of pig fit so comfortably into the Cornish farming culture, being happy in small enclosures and easy to handle, it is hardy and adaptable.
As a consequence, the meat it produces is high in flavour and is considered to be equal to Wagyu beef.
Rare Breed and Locally Reared
The culture of producing high quality meat from locally reared and rare breed animals is something that many of our butchers hold close to their hearts.
None more so than Etherington Meats, where you can learn the skills demanded of a top butcher in their butchery academy.
As well as understanding how to prepare a piece of meat properly, you can buy top quality meat in their farm shop.
Cornwall’s Market Garden
“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”
― Thomas Jefferson
Any talk of food in Cornwall must include vegetables and fruit. It often seems that we overlook the dedication and hard work that goes into the growing of high-quality produce. It is easy to take for granted.
Here in Cornwall we are at the forefront of reducing carbon emissions through sustainable farming methods.
Buying fruit and vegetables that are in season and grown locally all help to maintain the high standards we have come to expect.
Food in Cornwall – Farms To Feed Us
Driven by the desire to produce the freshest, most flavoursome dishes, chefs have recharged the passion of our growers. In so doing, when the world crisis COVID-19 pandemic hit, many of our smaller farmers lost their outlets.
Out of adversity came a new way to get their food into customer hands.
FarmstoFeedUs.org offers an opportunity to create a supply chain from small-scale food producers direct to consumers.
As a result, creative minds have come up with a way to support farmers, fishermen, and food enterprises with a new route to market.
I love this!
Food in Cornwall – The End Is Just The Beginning
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.”
― Virginia Woolf
Inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s novel, “To The Lighthouse” came from Godrevy Lighthouse across St Ives Bay. Virginia could see the lighthouse from the window of her rented accommodation.
In order to dine well, you need the freshest, most in-season ingredients and produce. Perhaps Virginia gained more inspiration from her holidays in Cornwall than we first thought!
Farm to Fork
Today, food in Cornwall leads the way in the farm to fork concept, ably supported on all sides of the strategy by its farmers, fishermen, producers and you, our consumer.
I invite you to delve deeper into the pages here on Cornish Foodie and wallow in the myriad aspects of food in Cornwall. Don’t forget to join the conversation on the blog and let me know your thoughts.