A guide to Cornwall’s most delicious drinks

Posted on 24th July 2017

More than perhaps any other county in the UK, Cornwall has a real and distinct sense of identity. If you have ever spent any time in the county, you will know that – whether you are relaxing on a golden beach, exploring one of the seemingly countless pretty harbour towns or villages, or discovering an ancient historical site – the Cornish have a justified pride in the beauty and individuality of their home, and it is an appreciation that is quickly passed on to visitors.

Tarquin’s Dry Gin with orange peel

It is not just through its physical features that Cornwall is able to celebrate its unique character, however. Down the years, the Duchy has also been associated with fine food, from cream teas and Cornish Yarg to stargazy pie and, of course, the pasty. Until recent years, though, what the county has done for the world of drinks – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – has perhaps not been fully appreciated.

Three pints of Skinner’s beer on tray

However, with an exciting batch of high quality producers and others who actively champion the now emerging sector, the future of the Cornish drinks industry is looking extremely rosy. In this article, we will introduce you to a few of our favourite brands, who represent just a handful of the myriad passionate drinks makers letting the world know all about the amazing skill and wonderful flavours that originate in England’s westernmost corner.

Anna Clark, who blogs about all things Cornish on her The Cornish Life site, told us what she thinks the county’s best beverages are, through the eyes of someone who lives there:

“Cornwall is probably best known for its cider, and there are plenty of locally made brands to choose from here! My personal favourite is probably Rattler (Cornish Cloudy Cyder, made by Healey’s); it’s strong in both flavour and effect, so go easy, but it’s definitely one to try.”

“If sweet ciders aren’t your thing, I’d highly recommend a new local peach beer brand called Jubël! Based here in Cornwall, you can find it in many of our beach bars along the coast, as it’s perfect for an after-surf drink. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a delicious and refreshing garden party drink this summer, you should try a gin & tonic mixed with Tarquin’s Gin; handcrafted & distilled here in Cornwall!”

 

Southwestern Distillery

Tarquin’s Dry Gin and Pastis bottles on beach

It most likely will not have escaped your attention that gin is currently enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity, with thousands of pubs, bars and restaurants across the country suddenly creating extensive craft gin menus.

After Anna told us about Tarquin’s Gin, we thought that we had to get in touch with the man himself to see what all the fuss was about! It’s fair to say that we were not disappointed – Southwestern Distillery, which creates both gin and the anise-flavoured spirit pastis – is a true Cornish gem.

Read on to see what the company has to say about their beginnings, and how the growth in popularity they have enjoyed has not changed their wholesome, traditional brewing methods one bit.

‘Tamara’, one of Tarquin’s copper pot stills, on the beach

“Nestled on a windswept hilltop overlooking the wild north Cornish coastline and the Atlantic Ocean beyond, Southwestern Distillery is a true throwback to the traditional techniques of old-school distilling and craftsmanship.”

“Established in 2012 by Tarquin Leadbetter, back when he was merely 23 years old and completely self-taught, we like to think that this is no ordinary establishment. At the heart of our distillation process are our three 200 litre copper pot stills – “Tamara, Senara and Ferarra.”

“Just as we have always done, we continue to heat these stills using a direct naked flame (our trusty paella burners) and even seal the top of each still with bread dough. This is true old-school, analogue distilling.”

Tarquin waxing gin bottles at Southwestern Distillery

“These antiquated, somewhat maverick techniques are largely unheard of nowadays, but we’ve never been fans of convention.”

“At all stages of the distillation process Tarquin meticulously monitors every variable; tweaking, nosing and tasting as he goes. We genuinely believe in the importance of human touch to maximize quality.”

“The result: multi-award winning spirits (including “World’s Best Gin” at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards 2017 for our Navy Strength Gin, “The SeaDog”) that have been lovingly crafted with the utmost care and constant consideration.”

: Tarquin’s dry gin being poured into glass

“Post distillation every single one of our bottles that leaves the distillery has been filled, waxed, stamped and labelled by hand and then personally signed and given batch tasting notes by Tarquin himself.”

“No corners are cut, no machines used, and no quality compromised. When we say: ‘Handcrafted in Cornwall’ – we really do mean it.”

Skinner’s

Range of Skinner’s ales in bucket

If you think that, while spirits are all well and good, nothing beats reclining with a proper pint of ale, you’re in luck – we also spoke to Skinner’s brewery, whose founder Steve Skinner was happy to tell us about the origins of a small company which has now grown into a multi-award winning Cornish sensation, producing some of the county’s finest beers:

“In 1997 I set out to start up my own community brewery on the banks of the Truro River in Cornwall. I started brewing my first golden ale – Cornish Knocker – using the finest ingredients my local area provided: Cornish grown barley, wheat and crystal clear Cornish water. So many factors affect the final product we make – the ph. of the water; the quality of the materials and the temperature we keep the yeast at, so we ensure that we only have the best ingredients so that we have consistently great-tasting beers.”

: Skinner’s Head Brewer, Paola Leather, preparing ingred

“We are really lucky in Cornwall that we have amazing producers all around us, and local ingredients help make our beers so unique. We’ve also got a thriving beer community, with pubs supporting local breweries and a huge number of local beer enthusiasts who help spread the word about our beers far and wide!”

As well as tasting amazing, we can also tell you from personal experience that the artwork and blurb on Skinner’s ales is something to behold. Many of their beers take their names from ancient Cornish myths, legends and places, and each bottle contains a detailed – and often amusing – explanation of what inspired it. In our opinion, using Skinner’s as an educational resource is even more enjoyable than reading a good book!

Skinner’s ales in a row on table

 

Polgoon

The last producers we will focus on in detail are the wine, cider and soft drink experts at Polgoon. We were very grateful to John Coulson, the Cornish winemaker who founded this now widely admired vineyard, for telling us the story of how he and his wife’s business grew from humble beginnings and – through several ups and downs – came to be regarded as one of the county’s greatest drinks success stories.

Polgoon’s Bachuss white wine

“I set up Polgoon Vineyard and Orchard with my wife Kim in 2006 and for the last 10 years we’ve been dedicated to producing artisan English wines, ciders and juices from our farm in Penzance.”

“We were originally Fish Merchants in Newlyn, but this changed when we bought an overgrown, run-down flower farm and started planting vines…”

“‘Polgoon’, Cornish for ‘Pond on the Downs’, is a word that describes the original setting of the location of the vineyard and orchard that sits on sunny hills, overlooking the sparkling sea of Mounts Bay. This unique position is reflected on our label that depicts an abstract view of the vines and the sea – two things we feel strongly connected to here at Polgoon.”

John Coulson, Polgoon co-founder

“We have a wide range of award-winning still and sparkling wines, ciders and juices sold in outlets across Cornwall and the West Country.  Our mild Cornish climate and unique Cornish terroir means that the grapes we grow here are the grapes we use in our wines – which means most of our wines are single estate, something that only a few English vineyards can claim.”

“Our wines have always performed well when it comes to awards. We won a trophy for the Best Still Rosé in the UK for our very first Rosé produced in 2006. This came as both a delight and a surprise – it marked the moment we realised that we were really quite good at this!”

“But, every great story has its ups and downs and Polgoon suffered terrible harvests in 2007 and 2008 after enduring dire Cornish weather conditions, leaving almost no wine…”

“Determined not to be beaten, we planted an orchard and perfected a Cornish cider called Aval (Cornish for ‘apple’), a sparkling cider product made using the Methode Traditionelle, the same method used by French winemakers to produce their sparkling wines. We then added a further product to the range, Raspberry Aval, another Gold medal winner that has gone on to become our bestselling sparkling drink.”

Polgoon sparkling apple cider

“In recent years the weather’s been kinder and we’ve grown stronger and created more great wines. Of note is our Silver Award winning Seyval Blanc Brut Sparkling, a single variety, single estate wine. Made using the Methode Traditionelle, it’s light and pale in colour, with hints of lime and tiny bubbles bursting with greenfruits. It’s a very popular wine that’s perfect when paired with Cornish seafood – especially fresh Newlyn crab, Cornish charcuterie and canapés.”

“Our Pinot Noir Rosé Brut Sparkling 2014, a single variety, single estate wine, is also rather special.  A delicate pink colour with a golden hue, it has a nose of zesty citrus and toasted crumb.  With its delicate palate, hints of tangerine, honey and spice, it makes a perfect pairing with light and not too spicy dishes – excellent with sushi, salads and oysters.”

“The Bacchus, one of our signature wines, is consistently good and always awarded. The 2015 vintage, another single estate, single variety wine, has an aromatic nose and notes of gooseberry, elderflower, citrus and fresh spring grass. This is a classic, refreshing Bacchus displaying vibrant lemon and lime flavours with hints of grapefruit and passionfruit.”

Polgoon vineyard wine tour

“We have tours that run from April-October and it’s a great way to experience life on a Cornish vineyard, where we share our knowledge of growing vines and creating fine English (or should it be Cornish?) wines. These tastings give customers ideas about pairing wine and food as well as an appreciation for the character and depth of a wine. We also have a Vine House Kitchen serving fresh, locally sourced food and a Vineyard Shop selling other local produce as well as our own.”

“As Polgoon continues to go from strength to strength and our knowledge and expertise increases year on year, we endeavour to ensure our passion is always reflected in the quality of every product we produce – without exception, whatever the weather…”

Simply Cornish Hampers

If your appetite has now been well and truly whetted but you can’t quite decide which delicious drink to try first, why not try a selection of different beverages, or combine them with some top quality Cornish food? As well as ales, cider, gin, wine and even mead, Simply Cornish Hampers, based in Redruth, also provide a great range of local delicacies like fudge, chocolate, biscuits, scones and – you guessed it – pasties.

Cornish food and drink being served outdoors

We were very grateful to the team, who see and taste so much fine Cornish fare every day, for sharing their thoughts on which local drinks they think are the very best currently available. Read on, and you might see a few names you’ll recognise from earlier on!

“At Simply Cornish Hampers, we are really proud to sell only Cornish produce. Working with Cornish suppliers means we get to know them well and often deal directly with the owner. ”

Tarquin’s gin with aromatic flowers in glass

“Polgoon vineyard is a fantastic example of a family business which is true to its philosophy of putting exceptional standards above all else. Winners of the Cornwall Life Food and Drink Awards in 2015, they produce a delicious variety of Cornish wines and more. They choose to prioritise exceptional standards above all else.”

“Skinner’s are admired for their range of (very) locally produced ales, using only Cornish barley from within 5 miles of the brewery. Much of their range is actually vegan too, which is great! Quirky names complimented by great tastes.”

Steve Skinner enjoying a pint

Sharp’s Doom Bar is such a classic that proves the strength of the Cornish drinks market. We love our ‘Pasty and Doom Bar’ hamper. This iconic hamper is of course one of our best sellers.

“We are a big fan of Cornish Cream’s range for their unique qualities – in particular their three liqueurs, which are just irresistible, as well as their Sunset wine, made from the juice of fresh strawberries. It is perfect for a celebration! Cornish Cream is such a friendly company, fully embedded in Cornwall.”

“We admire Cornish Orchards for their authentic, award-winning cyder making. We are also very fond of their non-alcoholic range, particularly the Elderflower Presse and Orange and Lemon Sparkle (which make great mixers too!) These guys produce truly fantastic tasting cyder.”

“Healey’s have to be admired for setting the mark in resurrecting the Cornish cyder industry, and for its innovation over the years in expanding its range to become the largest cyder maker in Cornwall. It’s so much more than just apples and a really great company to work with.”

Gin still thermometer

“Gin continues to grow in popularity, and this includes Cornwall, with many well-known and less well-known brands successfully selling in and out of county. Recently we added Curio Rock Samphire Gin to our range and we won’t ever turn back! Their husband and wife team put the upmost care into each and every bottle. Distilled in small batches, this gin really does capture the wild aromas of the Cornish coast if you like a little fragrance in your gin.”

“I could not discuss drinks in Cornwall without mentioning the Cornish Mead Co, producing a classic range since the ‘60s. This is a really popular product (but don’t drink too much, it is not for the faint-hearted!)”

As you can see, there will be a huge diversity of high quality produce to choose from if you stay at one of our cottages on the Cornish coast this summer, so how could you possibly resist trying some of it? Get your trip to the county arranged soon and look forward to enjoying all that this glorious destination has to offer.

 

Where to surf in Cornwall

Posted on 23rd June 2017

While there are so many great attractions in Cornwall like the Eden Project, it’s the county’s beaches that really lure in the crowds. Ranging from the iconic golden strips of sand to secluded coves, there is a beach for dog owners, families, rock-pooling and definitely surfers.

Where to surf in Cornwall

Cornwall is subject to some of the best swell and surfing conditions in the country which, paired with the warmer climate, makes it the UK’s surf capital.

So if you are looking to book one of the many stunning coastal cottages in Cornwall for a break and fancy taking your board with you or even heading out for some lessons, we’re here to tell you exactly where to surf in Cornwall.

Where to surf in Cornwall

A trip to Cornwall isn’t complete if you don’t head to the beach. With over 290 miles of coastline boasting intimate coves, golden beaches and prime surf spots, it isn’t hard to see why it is one of the most popular choices for a staycation.

While you can spend your time topping up the tan or embracing your inner David Attenborough in the many rock pools teeming with marine life, surfing is the go-to beach activity.

Fistral Beach, Newquay

In a place with so many stunning beaches it takes a lot to stand out, but Fistral Beach does that with ease. Hailed as one of the most consistent and best surfing beaches in not only the UK but Europe, hundreds flock to the beach for their fix of big waves and golden sand.

Fistral Beach in Newquay

Fistral Beach has a special place in the heart of every avid surfer. Home to the biggest surfing competitions in the UK including Boardmasters, Quicksilver Skins, UK Pro Surf Tour and BUSA Championships, it is perfect for hardened pros or even those who just want to see the spectacle. Newquay also has a big wave spot called The Cribbar, just off the Towan Headland. People go out to watch surfers there as the waves get up to around 30ft.

Perranporth Beach, Perranporth 

Perranporth Beach is another that is known by many as one of the best for everything from surfing to sailing, swimming and snorkelling. The brilliant mixture of clear waters and sand dunes makes the scenery here spectacular. At low tide you are spoilt with miles and miles of beach, making what is one of the most popular spots in Cornwall feel tranquil rather than overcrowded.

While anyone can enjoy the rock pools, caves and streams, Perranporth is also a must-visit beach for surfers. You aren’t short of supplies if you need to hire a board or suit, with plenty of facilities towards the town-end of the beach.

The beach itself is one of the longest you’re likely to come across and that means you are sure to find a good swell and bit of offshore wind for some quality surfing. If before you head to the beach you are in search of equipment, it is worth asking the locals for their favourite spot. Many will have their own personal favourite, but most will suggest heading around the corner. Otherwise, the Penhale end of the beach often provides the most consistent surf.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

Cornwall is blessed with so many gorgeous towns and villages and few more so than St Ives. Renowned for its artistic influence, the area has a number of beaches waiting to be explored, but Porthmeor is by far the best.

Overlooked by a number of artists’ studios and the Tate Gallery, the beach is a long stretch of soft sand flanked by rugged headlands and facing the Atlantic Ocean head on. These conditions contribute to a prime surfing spot, with strong hollow waves served up on occasion.

A regular winner of the coveted Blue Flag award – of which there are seven in Cornwall – it is just a short distance from the trendy cafés, independent shops and old pubs.

Holywell Bay, Newquay

Don’t be put off by the massive sand dunes, as they are only hiding the jewel that is Holywell Bay. You can either go over or around the dunes to reach the massive expanse of golden sand lining the coastline.

Holywell Bay

The unspoilt rural backdrop makes Holywell feel like a hidden natural sanctum in the early morning and late evening when the beach is quieter. With a flat, wide and long beach and grassy dunes, there is enough space and variety available for everyone to enjoy their own thing.

Some eagle-eyed visitors may recognise Holywell as one of the iconic locations used during the filming of the popular BBC period drama, Poldark. The famous Gull Rock, along with the tufted dunes are used as the backdrop for some scenes in series two.

Mawgan Porth, Newquay

Nestled below beautiful rugged cliffs is the west facing Mawgan Porth surrounded by stunning landscape and dynamic coastline perfect for walks and cycling. Voted by The Times in their top 10 beaches list, there are plenty of rock pools and caves for curious minds, while the local surf school is one of the best in the county and will help you get up on the board in no time.

Quiet, sheltered and teeming with bird life, there is an almost constant supply of quality waves thanks to its exposure to the Atlantic swell providing ample opportunities for surfers of all abilities.

Widemouth Bay, Bude

Popular with families and surfers alike, Widemouth Bay in Bude offers a little bit of everything for a perfect day at the beach. Awarded a Blue Flag status in 2017, the Bay is perfect for any beginner looking to step onto a board for the first time.

The open sandy beach stretches for around two miles, with the exposed coastline producing a variety of peaks that break on the reef just offshore which serves up some heavy barrelling waves.

There is such a great range of water sports at Widemouth. You can choose to take part in a surf school, try bodyboarding and kayaking or for a more relaxed time, you can take your bucket and nets to the rock pools.

Surfing in Cornwall

Image Credit: Thomas Tolkien

 

 

Best walks in Cornwall

Posted on 23rd May 2017

Lush green fields, moody moorland and over 290 miles of coastline make Cornwall the perfect place to get back to nature. While you can drive to many beauty spots and attractions, the best way to appreciate the county is on foot.

 Best walks in Cornwall - Tintagel

We are currently mid-way through National Walking Month and to celebrate, we have put together a list of the best walks in Cornwall.

Coastal Walks in Cornwall

When presented with a 296-mile coast path, the difficulty is not finding a walk, but choosing one. To help you choose, here are some of our favourites.

Porthleven – Lizard Point

14 miles

Along the Lizard peninsula on the south coast of Cornwall is a 14-mile walk that commences in the picturesque fishing village of Porthleven. Weave your way past pretty Cornish cottages before reaching a pebbled beach. From here, the coast path will take you to The Loe – the largest body of fresh water in Cornwall.

In the shadow of the Church Cove Dunes, you find yourself walking through the remote coastal community of Gunwalloe before you head onto Halzephron Cove. Translated to ‘Cliff of Hell’ in Cornish, local legend has it that a freak wave claims the life of someone on Porthleven sands every seven years.

 Cornish coast path

This walk will take you to the most southerly corner of Britain, as you step into Kynance Cove. With arches, stone stacks, towering cliffs and a dramatic view, this is certainly the highlight of the walk, before concluding your journey at Lizard Point.

Perranporth – St Agnes

3.5 miles 

The walk from Perranporth to St Agnes offers some of the finest cliff-top views on our list. The mostly flat path takes you through the rich mining history of the area, with beautiful foliage and birdlife.

For anyone with a dog staying at a coastal cottage in Cornwall, this walk has dog-friendly beaches and pubs offering you stunning vantage points of the northern coast.

At just under four miles, you can either begin your journey at Droskyn Point, or explore Perranporth’s beach with its impressive cliff formations which are sure to inspire the photographer within. Heading west towards the Point, the mining heritage of the area comes into view. Relics of the industry which was the life-blood of the area still stand with an eerie beauty.

Further along the walk you get the chance to explore the interconnecting paths and trails above the cliffs once used by smugglers and pirates, before continuing on to an old war airfield.

You will then head towards Trevallas Cove, a quiet and rugged gem in Cornwall’s crown and onto the steep climb of Blue Hills to St Agnes.

Sennen – Lamorna

11.7 miles

The south of Cornwall is a landscape like few others in the country. Blue seas seem to blend into the sky at the start of this coastal walk which will take you long high cliffs and windswept moors.

Though influenced heavily by a booming tourist market, Land’s End is still a lovely place to start a walk. The rugged coastline can reveal the Isles of Scilly on a clear day as well as The Irish Lady – an offshore islet named after the sole survivor of a wreck that happened there. Local fishermen still claim that they have sighted a woman clinging onto the rocks, despite her dying many years ago.

 Sennen coastal path

As you walk along the headland you may be fortunate enough to catch a sighting of dolphins, seals or even basking sharks. The peaceful Porth Chapel Beach offers an idyllic rest stop and a great photo opportunity.

It continues on along to the famous Minack Theatre – built into the granite cliffs to host summer shows. Further along you will be faced with the 80-ton granite boulder, Logan Rock, perched on the cliffs south of Treen. The climax of the walk takes you through fairy-tale woodland past St Loy and into the picturesque hamlet of Lamorna. 

Walks with a view in Cornwall

Whitsand Battery – Rame Head

2 miles

This short walk is a regularly overlooked by keen ramblers and holidaymakers. Stretching the whole way from Polperro to Maker Heights in the east, the Whitsand Battery to Rame Head walk is a surprisingly challenging trek. But for your effort, you will be rewarded with stunning views.

For any walker seeking points of interest to stop and admire, the bay here has two Napoleonic forts (Palmerston’s Follies) with a number of shacks along the way. Cafes pop up along the route to help you refuel and save you from potentially rushing a naturally beautiful walk. The breathtaking views on offer across Plymouth, the Yealm Estuary and the Mewstone make it well worth the effort.

Rinsey

2.8 miles

Rinsey is a coastal walk occasionally winding inland, depending on which route you take. Explore the area’s rich mining heritage on this spectacular route. The views are unmissable on a visit to Cornwall

Rinsey coastal walk

Three old engine houses hold the esteemed World Heritage status on this route, where rare plants line the paths. Look out to sea to spot Bishop Rock in the Scilly Isles. From the cliffs you may be fortunate enough to see dolphins playing in the bays, while inland, ponies can be found grazing. If you continue on towards Penzance the views of St Michael’s Mount are striking. 

Best pub walks in Cornwall

Blisland – Newton Downs

4.3 miles

The little cluster of granite houses in the village of Blisland gravitate around its namesake pub, the Blisland Inn, and the pretty village green. Situated on the legendary hills of Bodmin Moor, this area is steeped in mystery.

Here you can fully engage with the history and tradition of the people who lived here hundreds of years ago with a comfortable four and a half mile circular walk. Starting at the pub, the route passes a medieval church before reaching Lavethan Valley. Admire the rugged landscape of the Trehudreth Downs and Newton Downs before returning to the pub for a hearty meal and a pint of local ale

St. Keverne – Porthallow

5 miles

Set back from the Lizard coastline, St Keverne is a tight-knit community that as stood for centuries. The village revolves around the square and its two pubs, one of which, The White Hart, is the start and finish to this walk.

A five mile walk takes you through unspoilt woodland and valleys snaking down to the shingle coves on the coast. You begin by taking the footpath from the church which is opposite of the square and head towards Porthoustock. The South West Coast Path leads you over fields and meadows towards Porthallow, with detours coaxing you to Porthkerris.

Image Credit: Ed Webster Tim Green Tim Green

A food lovers’ tour of Cornwall

Posted on 14th April 2017

Cornwall incorporates its distinct connection with nature into its cuisine. Some of the country’s finest seafood can be found in the UK’s southernmost county, while there has been both national and international recognition for its ale and cheese.

Cornish food festivals

There are few things more serene than sitting by the beach as the sun goes down with some fish and chips, or things quite as Cornish as walking down the high-street of an eclectic town with an authentic pasty in hand.

It doesn’t matter when you visit Cornwall, you will find someone celebrating the food and drink of the region, whether it is in a pub or restaurant or at a local festival.

Whatever your taste, we will give you all of the information you need to know for a food lovers’ tour of Cornwall.

Food and Drink events in Cornwall

Mix together some of the country’s finest locally sourced food and drink, some rays of sunshine and leave it to set in a picturesque seaside location and you’ll end up with these fantastic food and drink events in Cornwall.

Porthleven Food and Music Festival

Now in its ninth year, the Porthleven Food and Music Festival attracts people from across Cornwall and the UK to the town’s harbour port for a celebration of the best local and national food.

Porthleven harbour

This is more than the conventional marquee in a village field. Porthleven is flooded with up to 30,000 people coming together to indulge in street food and entertainment.
This year’s theme will be ‘Under the Sea’, a reflection of the close bond that Cornwall has with the sea.

“The Festival has grown to be one of the largest of its kind in the South West,” said Mandy Feldon, Marketing Manager for Porthleven Food & Music Festival.

“We are now in our ninth year and remain true to our original ethos, to ensure the festival remains family friendly, put community at the heart of what we do and keep it local. What makes the festival so incredible is the quality of the events, the fact that it remains largely free and the enthusiasm of the volunteers and helpers. Porthleven is an extremely inclusive and friendly town and it shows.”

This event, which takes place from the 21st-23rd April, is perfect for any food lover, but caters to all tastes and interests. Live music will be playing throughout the festival, with parties, literary tents, art shows and the Chefs Theatre.

Porthleven Food & Music Festival

The Chefs Theatre, held on the Shipyard Stage, presents the likes of Antony Worrall Thompson and multiple talented chefs from Cornwall, the South West and the UK to give talks, shows and demonstrations.

St Ives Food and Drink festival

Considered to be the only beach food and drink festival in the UK, St Ives Food and Drink Festival takes places on the famous Porthminster Beach between the 13th- 14th May.

St Ives Food and Drink Festival

Showcasing the quality of Cornwall’s cuisine, visitors are able to sample and buy the most authentic tastes from the county amongst food demonstrations, musical performances and numerous stalls.

A spokeswoman for the festival had this to say:

“Michelin-starred Cornish chef Nathan Outlaw is amongst the big names announced to showcase at this year’s annual St Ives Food and Drink festival. The festival, which is held on the iconic Porthminster Beach on 13-14th May, will celebrate the very best Cornish produce, abundance of activities and entertainment, promising a fun-filled day out for all the family.”

Cornish ice cream in St Ives

Tickets on the gate are £3.00 for a single day pass or £5.00 for a two day pass – children under 12 go free.

Great Cornish Food Festival

Head down to Truro on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th September for the Great Cornish Food Festival.

Heaven on Earth for food lovers can be found at Lemon Quay in Truro this September as the festival sets up again after 12 successful years.

The largest festival dedicated to celebrating Cornish gastronomy, the event incorporates pop-up street-food vendors from some of the county’s finest restaurants, as well as stalls covering local butchers, bakers, breweries and chocolatiers.

Free to enter, the event which has run since 2004, is an ideal day out for anyone holidaying in one of the many beautiful Cornish coastal cottages.

Food to try in Cornwall

Food means different things to different people. Some like to stick to classic dishes, while others are more adventurous and eager to dive into the local cuisine. Whatever your taste, we’re sure you’ll find something you love in Cornwall.

Cornish Pasty

A dish that has spread across the world, the humble pasty even has its own World Championships, attracting amateur and professional bakers from around the world to the Eden Project.

Philp’s Famous Pasties

Greg, manager at Philp’s Famous Pasties spoke to us about what makes a great pasty:

“We believe that what makes our pasties great is using the highest quality ingredients as locally sourced as possible. We use premium grade flour in our pastry that we believe gives the pasty a robust feel making it the perfect hand held snack as well as giving it a delicious flavour.”

Philp’s Famous Pasties is a family run business, with Greg’s father and two uncles running the business after their grandfather began the enterprise:

“Every element of our pasty production is done by hand following strict recipes created in 1958.”

Nowadays you will see high street chains selling curiously filled pasties, even with Thai and Mexican flavours and ingredients. This is a far cry from what constitutes an authentic Cornish pasty, as Greg explains:

“In 2011 the Cornish pasty was granted it’s PGI (protected geographical indication) status and became a protected food which means that unless the pasty is made in Cornwall it cannot be called a ‘Cornish pasty’ under any circumstance.”

Moving on from the traditional ingredients of beef and vegetables, variations of pasties now include beef and stilton and cheese and onion, but as Greg says, the Cornish Pasty Association has outlined the ingredients that make a genuine Cornish Pasty:

According to the Cornish Pasty Association a genuine Cornish pasty must contain the following:

* Roughly diced or minced beef

* Sliced or diced potato

* Swede (turnip)

* Onion

* Seasoning to taste (mainly salt and pepper)”

Greg went on to describe the process:

“The ingredients must be uncooked when the pasty is assembled. The pastry must be savoury and can be shortcrust, puff or rough puff and must hold all ingredients through cooking and handling without cracking or breaking.”

Genuine Cornish pasty

“The pasty must be crimped into a D shape, with the crimp towards one side and glazed with egg, milk or a mixture of both.”

Greg also spoke about the historical significance of Cornwall’s most famous dish:

“The Cornish Pasty has long been the staple diet of the traditional Cornish man and woman. Originally the pasty itself dates back as far as the early 1500’s but in Cornwall it became popular amongst the working people in the 17th and 18th centuries, particularly with miners, as the story goes, because their hands were soiled they would hold the pasty by its side (the crimp of the pasty) once they had consumed the rest of it, that part would then be thrown away.”

“To this day the Cornish pasty still remains one of the most popular Cornish food products enjoyed both in and out of Cornwall.” 

After trying an authentic Cornish pasty from the one of the many local bakers, you will never be able to settle for a high street alternative again.

Cornish Yarg

Cornish Yarg is another intriguing Cornish staple that you must try. Wrapped in stinging nettles, this creamy pale cheese is soft beneath the natural rind, before becoming crumbly in the middle.

A tangy cheese, the Yarg dates back to the 13th century, when it is believed to have been discovered by Allan and Jenny Gray – dairy farmers from Cornwall.

Cornish Brie

Known for its deliciously mild and creamy flavour, Cornish brie melts away as you eat it and is widely regarded as one of the finest cheeses made in Britain.

At the Cornish Country Larder, added cream is incorporated into the recipes to create the St Endellion, a must-try cheese if you have some space to fill on your cheese board.

Slice of brie

The Cornish Country Larder is indeed the place to go for the finest quality cheese. Winners of numerous national and international awards, it was awarded Gold in the International Cheese Awards 2009 for its Cornish Brie and Cornish Character Brie.

Stargazy Pie

A Stargazy Pie is something that is quintessentially English and a dish you can perfectly imagine being presented to the table back in Tudor times.

Embedded in Cornish culture, the stagazy or starrey gazey pie is by no means a local delicacy. But it does hold a seat in Cornish culture and food.

A pastry crust sits atop of pilchards (or similar small, whole fish), eggs and potatoes with the heads of the fish poking out through the pastry. This strange presentation is supposed to represent the fish staring up at the stars.

Recipes for the stargazy pie date back to the 16th century, when fisherman Tom Bawcock set sail during a storm to feed his starving village of Mousehole. Bawcock returned with a bountiful supply of fish, much to the shock of his fellow villagers. A pie was cooked with the heads poking out so that no one could argue that there wasn’t any fish.

Where to eat in Cornwall

Hidden among the rolling green hills, overlooking the rugged coast and tucked away in the cobbled streets, discover Cornwall’s best eateries.

It is one of the most frustrating conversations you can have with someone, as you spend hours painfully going through all of the options for your dinner. Here we have compiled a short list covering the places you can try some of Cornwall’s most famous creations.

Fish & Chips

For many, fish and chips is the national dish. It is a firm favourite amongst holidaymakers and families particularly when visiting the seaside.

This takeaway classic is so popular it is even recognised with the National Fish and Chip Day, on the 2nd June.

There are countless numbers of fish and chip restaurants across the country and a great number in Cornwall, but we have picked a couple that you really should try.

Harbour Lights

Award winning Harbour Lights have been celebrated for their fish and chips on a national scale.

Harbour Lights Restaurant

Pete Fraser, owner of Harbour Lights, spoke to us about what the restaurant offers its customers and why you should make it your first choice for fish and chips:

“A must on any visit to Falmouth. Voted the UK’s best independent Fish & Chip restaurant 2017, it’s one not to be missed.

“All fish is sustainably sourced, with Cornish fish specials daily. Amazing harbour views if you choose to eat in the restaurant, or from our takeaway you can choose your favourite place to enjoy the very best of this British Seaside tradition #wheredoyoueatyours?”

For families, the grown-ups can opt for delightfully cooked classics, while the children can be treated to their meal coming out in small buckets symbolic of Cornwall’s famous beaches and the coast that means so much to the county.

Harbour Lights menu

Stein’s Fish & Chips

Starting life out as the Great Western Nightclub in 1974, Rick & Jill Stein decided to change direction and created a small seafood bistro a year later. In the decades that followed they have been able to open several restaurants across the country, including four in Cornwall.

Using quality Cornish ingredients and having a heavily homemade based menu, Stein’s Fish & Chips has established itself as one of the best places to get Britain’s favourite takeaways in Cornwall.

Michelin-Starred restaurants in Cornwall

Cornwall is home to three Michelin-starred restaurants, sharing out a total of four stars between them.

Nathan Outlaw’s Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac holds two Michelin Stars, while Chris Eden’s The Driftwood near Portscatho and Paul Ainsworth’s No 6 in Padstow both hold one star respectively.

These high-end restaurants are homage to the high quality of produce in the area and they really make the most of it.

Cornish Pubs

Winner of the Best Gastro Pub of the Year award from the Cornwall Life Food & Drink Awards 2017, the St Tudy Inn celebrates “the finest seasonal produce from the surrounding area.”

The Inn can be found in the quaint Cornish town of St. Tudy where you can visit for a quiet drink or a bite of their rustic cuisine. If you’re looking for a real taste of Cornwall – the food, drink and local people – then this is the place to visit. But you’re really spoilt for choice.

 

Image Credit: Harbour Lights Porthleven Food & Music Festival St. Ives Food & Drink Festival Philp’s Famous Pasties

 

The best sights in Cornwall

Posted on 03rd August 2014

Cornwall is a beautiful and stunning county that boasts glorious beaches, dramatic scenery and a number of attractions that pull in millions of holidaymakers every year.

There are a number of Cornwall attractions that just have to be visited during a vacation in the county, but one thing that Cornwall is renowned for is its beautiful sights and scenery.

So if you are staying in one of the great value Cornwall coastal cottages and you and your family are nature lovers in search of some of the best sights in the county, then follow this guide of where to go this summer.

Golitha Falls

If you get out your Cornwall map and search the southeast section of Bodmin Moor you will find the village of St Cleer.

Just over a mile from St Cleer is the beautiful Golitha Falls, which is a collection of booming waterfalls.

The area is renowned by many locals as the prettiest spot on Bodmin Moor, with the area not only home to some beautiful waterfalls, but pretty woodlands as well.

You are able to swim in the waterfall’s pools, but if you have children you should keep a close eye on them as the rocks can get very slippery.

Image Credits: DAVE (flickr.com)

St Michael’s Mount at sunset

Cornwall attractions don’t come much bigger than St Michael’s Mount as it is one of THE places to visit in Cornwall.

If you want to escape the hordes of people that visit St Michael’s Mount during the day, then you should head to the area before sunset.

By doing this on a nice day, you and your family or friends will also get to see the sun set over the waters of Mount’s Bay – a real spectacle that will make you want to come back the next evening.

If the tide is out, you should look to walk across the cobbled causeway that links St Michael’s Mount to the small Cornish town of Marazion.

Image Credits: Wapster (flickr.com)

St Ives beaches

There are plenty of coastal holiday cottages to rent in Cornwall and if you are staying in one of the holiday cottages near St Ives then you just have to visit this seaside resort.

There are plenty of things to do in St Ives, such as visit the Tate St Ives or walk around the town’s cobbled streets, but one of the best pastimes to enjoy is to sit down with a portion of the town’s famous fish and chips, looking out over the St Ives beaches.

One of the best sights in the county is the view when looking out from St Ives at the surrounding coastline and over the town’s beaches – it really is beautiful.

Image Credits: Robert Pittman

 Geevor Tin Mine

The Geevor Tin Mine is one of the most popular attractions in Cornwall as not only does the tin mine, which shutdown in 1990, offer visitors an insight into the life of miners in Cornwall, it also gives visitors great views of the Cornish coastline and countryside.

The image of Geevor Tin Mine in the sunshine with the sea in the background really is just like seeing a postcard of Cornwall.

Image Credits: Ben Sutherland (flickr.com)

Cornwall is full of hidden treasures

Posted on 23rd July 2014

Cornwall is full of hidden treasures and we are not even talking about its beaches, old tin mines or landmarks; we are talking about actual treasure.

While new and modern holiday cottages to rent in Cornwall are normally full of holidaymakers looking to get a glimpse of the county’s attractions, they could soon be full of treasure hunters after a local blogger released a treasure map.

An article in the West Briton reports that the local blogger has released a list and map for the 12 best places in Cornwall to hunt for hidden chests of gold, where either treasure has previously been found or where ships from the 16th and 18th centuries famously sank and their precious loads never found.

The list covers areas all over Cornwall and includes Merchant Royal, Cudden Point, Godrevy, Church Cove, Dollar Cove, Rill Cove, Lizard Point, Hanover Cove, Kennack Sands and Harlyn Bay.

Image Credit: Tom Garnett (flickr.com)

Rare tuna comes ashore in Cornwall

Posted on 19th July 2014

A group of holidaymakers this week discovered what is believed to have been a Bluefin tuna floating off the Cornish coast at Kingsand.

The group of friends, who were believed to be staying in nearby Cornwall coastal cottages to rent, were out kayaking when they saw the rare tuna fish floating along in the water.

The discovery is quite remarkable as the fish is listed as critically endangered and although it is illegal to catch or sell the fish in British waters, it is worth hundreds of thousands of pounds – in 2013 a Bluefin tuna was sold at an auction for over £1 million by a sushi restaurant owner.

This particular fish was so heavy that six men had to lift it out of the sea and onto shore. The fish, which is normally found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, has seen its population numbers decrease since the 1960s due to overfishing.

A volunteer for the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Claire Wallerstein, was one of the first people on the scene after the group of girls had dragged the fish closer to the shore and she told a local newspaper that she “just could not believe it”.

Image Credit: Danilo Cedrone (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) (commons.wikimedia.org)

Celebrity couple say they love Cornwall

Posted on 09th July 2014

One of the most well-known celebrity couples in the UK – Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan – have revealed they are huge fans of Cornwall.

The county is renowned for being home to a number of luxury Cornwall coastal cottages and with the glowing recommendation of Richard & Judy, who shot to fame with their daytime chat shows on ITV and Channel 4, these cottages could be snapped up quickly this summer and winter.

In an article featured in the Plymouth Herald the celebrity couple, who own a property near Polperro, say they holiday in the county every year and that Cornwall is a “spiritual home” to them.

Richard Madeley, added, “The moment you cross the Tamar, either on Brunel’s rail bridge, or the road suspension bridge the Queen opened half a century ago, there’s a special feeling that creeps into your very bones.”

Judy Finnigan, said, “Obviously we love Talland Bay, between Looe and Polperro […] the Roseland Peninsular is beautiful and we love St Mawes and Falmouth.”

Image Credit: Eric The Fish (flickr.com)

Campaign hopes to lure Germans to Cornwall

Posted on 02nd July 2014

A new tourism campaign is hoped to entice more German tourists than ever to visit Cornwall, who are flocking in search of scenery shown in popular TV shows in the country.

The Duchy remains a gem of a holiday destination, and with the beautiful scenery combined with the dramatic coastlines and charming towns & villages, it’s easy to see why so many people look to enjoy coastal cottage breaks in Cornwall throughout the year.

The new campaign aims to harness the interest bought about through the television adaptations of books by Rosamunde Pilcher, shows which have been enjoyed by Germans since the 1980s. It is a joint initiative between Visit Cornwall, Visit England, Newquay Airport and Germanwings – an airline which provides a direct route from Dusseldorf to Newquay. The campaign will run across multiple media platforms in Germany until mid-July.

It is thought that the beautiful scenery described in the books and seen in the TV shows will be a huge lure for German tourists, with chief of tourism Malcolm Bell comparing it to the same effect as that of the Jamaica Inn and Doc Martin.

When speaking about the new campaign, Mr Bell said, “German tourists don’t come here on a Rosamunde Pilcher pilgrimage, they come here to see beautiful fishing villages, a fantastic coastline and gorgeous scenery.”

Image Credit: Graeme Churchard (Flickr.com)

Best summer pubs in Cornwall announced

Posted on 24th June 2014

Cornwall is a hugely popular holiday destination due to its amazing beaches and stunning coastline but now the county’s pubs have been recognised.

A guide that was published in The Times created a list of the 50th best pubs to visit in the summer months and several pubs in Cornwall featured in their lists.

So if you are staying in one of the famous Cornwall coastal cottages for two or in a coastal cottage for the family then keep an eye out for one of the pubs mentioned in the Times guide.

The Times said that The Godolphin Arms in Marazion was named the greatest pub with rooms as it is perfect for those walkers that want a bite to eat or a quick refreshment as it is located close-by to many beautiful coastal walks.

The Ship Inn in Mousehole was named as the best pub by the sea and was singled out as being “perfect for walks along the coast”. The pub is also popular with people staying in nearby holiday cottages in Cornwall as it offers diners great views of St Michael’s Mount.

Image Credit: Robert Pittman (flickr.com)