Holidays in Cornwall are often shaped around the beach and food… and isn’t that the sign of a great getaway. Cornwall’s larder is world famous with some of the finest produce on the planet coming from the Duchy. But what food and drink should you have on your radar when in Cornwall?
Here, we round-up the best bites the county has to offer...
Cornwall’s savoury scene is full of all the best bits.
Yes, it’s an obvious one but it’s a Cornish lunch at its finest. To be a true Cornish pasty it must be produced to the west of the River Tamar, and there’s at least 120 million Cornish pasties made annually. Traditionally made using skirt of beef, the veg should be potato, onion and swede (turnip). The pastry itself can be shortcrust or puff (although we’re big shortcrust believers), but historically it had to be strong to survive down the mines where it was a lunchtime staple.
A staggering 80 per cent of Cornwall is surrounded by sea, making our fish wonderfully fresh.
Pilchards, the sardine’s big brother, was once the backbone of Cornish industry and is a main ingredient for Stargazy Pie… another Cornish delicacy. But Cornwall’s fishing scene is abundant, you’ll often see Cornish crab, scallops, mussels and esteemed neighbours lobster and oysters gracing restaurants’ menus, as well as monkfish, gurnard and mackerel. Not to forget some of best fish and chips around, frequently using cod, haddock or hake.
Cornwall’s cheese offering is rather special; at the forefront is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese which is wrapped in nettle, Cornish Yarg. Its name derives from the original cheese maker, Alan Gray (Yarg spelt backwards). A creamy cheese with a fresh and slightly lemony flavour which is crumbly at the core lovingly produced by award-winning cheesemakers Lynher Dairies near Truro.
Other contenders are Cornish Gouda, Cornish Blue, Davidstow Cheddar and a new cheese Cornish Kern.
Cornwall has a unique climate with our relatively warm, frost-free winters and early springs, allowing the Cornish farmers to produce crops all the year round. But what should you make a beeline for when visiting? Available as early as April, the UK’s first mainland new potato crop is Cornish new potatoes, which is why there’re also known as ‘Cornish earlies’. They have a loose skin and a buttery texture due to the temperate climate and proximity to the sea and are usually around until August.
There’s not many vegetables you can’t find grown on Cornish soil, we also produce fantastic radishes, asparagus, carrots and runner beans.
For those with a sweet tooth, Cornwall has you covered too.
A contender with the humble pasty, in the sweet department Cornwall is best known for our Cornish cream tea. An afternoon tea consisting of tea, scones, Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam. But most importantly is the order in which you apply the jam and cream. Make sure you do it the Cornish way, jam first and then clotted cream! This way the cream is protected from the warm scone and you can dollop as much cream as you fancy.
In most Cornish bakeries you’ll find a saffron bun or cake on display. The connection between Cornwall and the saffron spice is said to date back as far as the 14th century when it was traded for copper and tin.
Giving sweet treats that vivid yellow colour, these golden fruited buns are best eaten warm with salted butter or, of course, lashings of clotted cream.
Cornwall’s dairy reputation is legendary, which translates deliciously into already a holiday staple… ice creams. There are plenty of hard-working dairy farms across the region, using high-quality ingredients. But what makes all the difference is the use of Cornish clotted cream, creating a sensational creamy taste and velvety texture. You’ll also find lots of creamy clotted cream fudge, another satiable souvenir.
A biscuit traditionally used as a gift to give to a sweetheart. It’s a Cornish classic filled with a rich ginger flavour and a crackly top that make them iconic. John Cooper Furniss, opened his Cornish teashop in 1886, and the Furniss brand has been baking biscuits ever since. Still producing its biscuits in Cornwall, Furniss is the only company in the world licensed to make The Original Cornish Fairing.
It’s not just delicious food we produce here, there’s plenty of tipples to have on your radar too.
Tea and coffee
Cornwall’s known for its real ales, at the helm is award-winning beers from St Austell Brewery which you’ll easily stumble across on your Cornish holiday. For gin enthusiasts get acquainted with Tarquins Gin distilled near Wadebridge in north Cornwall. Wine lovers are well taken care of too with highly-regarded Camel Valley vineyard situated near Bodmin.