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Cornwall Food and Drink Guide

The County of Cornwall has the advantage of mild temperate weather and deep cold waters around its coastline, which results in some of the most delicious fish and seafood reaching our tables. The mild climate also encourages the production and growth of a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables all year round. Gastronomic delights can be found in every town and village and this food guide is designed especially for visitors to this foodie haven.

Famous Cornish Delicacies:

The Cornish Pasty - A wonderful pastry, filled to the brim with delicious filling, either savoury or sweet, and made to be held and eaten from your hand. Originally the dinner of miners, the age old recipe has sliced potato, swede and meat, usually highly seasoned and peppered, encased in a circle of short crust pastry which is then folded and crimped together to form a 'D' shape. Most shops, cafes and bakeries now offer a vast range of fillings, both savoury and sweet, and sometimes even both together in the traditional two course way of part savoury/part sweet. Ideal for picnics the pasties can be eaten either hot or cold and are definitely worth sampling on your visit.

Saffron Buns - Cornish saffron buns were originally baked for celebrations or special occasions, as they contain natural saffron, one of the most expensive of spices. These delicate yellow, sweet yeasty buns are lightly fruited with currants, and spiced and coloured with saffron, cinnamon and nutmeg then dusted with sugar. Delicious!

Star Gazy Pie - A celebratory fish pie made from Cornish pilchards, eggs and potatoes. The pie is traditionally eaten on Tom Bawcocks Eve (23rd of December), and was created in the tiny village of Mousehole. The freshly caught whole pilchards are skinned and boned and then cooked with the rest of the ingredients under a slotted pastry crust to allow the steam to escape. The heads and tails of the fish are pushed through the slots to give the appearance of the fish stargazing. The pie not only looks spectacular, but is absolutely delicious too!

Cornish Clotted Cream Scones - Everybody's favourite! Freshly baked plain scones, served warm, filled with home made strawberry jam and topped with traditional Cornish clotted cream. Most cafes and tea rooms serve them as part of a 'cream tea' and include a selection of dainty sandwiches, home made cakes and a pot of freshly brewed tea.

Cornish Fairings - Spiced gingery biscuits which were originally baked as edible produce to be sold at local fairs, and have retained their name for centuries. They are made to a traditional recipe with butter, spices, flour, syrup and sugar which is baked until crisp. There are many variations to the recipe with a wide choice of additives including cherries, sultanas, walnuts and stem ginger, and they are available to purchase in most bakeries as well as most souvenir and gift shops throughout Cornwall. 

Newlyn Crab - Fresh and delicious Newlyn crab is a favourite on most menus in and around Cornwall. It is served plain boiled or made into wonderful soups, pates and fishcakes. Newlyn crab meat is available at most markets, supermarkets and even by mail order or online. Much of the catch is exported to France where it has also achieved a reputation as the finest in the world.

Eating Out in Cornwall:

Fish and seafood is the main speciality of many restaurants in the lovely coastal towns and villages in Cornwall. A number of well renowned chefs have restaurants around the area, including the famous Rick Stein who runs several in Padstow and Falmouth. The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow is a bright and relaxed eating experience.

The restaurant has a central food counter where the chefs prepare and serve an amazing array of different fish and shellfish whilst customers look on. The freshest locally caught produce has made this a favourite with locals and tourists and booking is essential.

The Victoria Inn at Perranuthnoe is a Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide entrant and also appears in the Good Food Guide. The owners are proud to serve high quality, locally produced seasonal vegetables and the menus also change with the seasons. Only locally caught fresh fish is used and the emphasis here is on simple, natural ingredients. The pub not only serves superb food but as one of the oldest pubs in Cornwall, serves a range of excellent real cask ales.

Rosel & Co is a tiny village restaurant where intimate dining is the key word. Situated at St Merryn near Padstow, the restaurant has simple artisan décor and seats only 24 people. The menus are concise and adventurous and are complimented by a simple fine wine list.

Food Shopping in Cornwall:

Cornish farmers markets are the place to buy the freshest and most delicious home grown produce. Many have stalls selling home made preserves and chutneys, home baked cakes and scones and even clotted cream. There are quite a number of farm shops selling locally reared meats and a wide range of accompaniments, including fruit wines and vinegars, salad dressings and pickles.

There are numerous bakeries and patisseries where traditional fare can be purchased along with delicious cakes and fruit tarts. Cornish Mead is a favourite tipple and there are endless varieties of the sweet honey based fruit wine available from the Cornish Mead Company in Penzance. They also have an online ordering service.