Cornwall has some serious foodie credentials we bet you didn’t even know about, from award-winning English wine to wild food foraging. Thinking about visiting? It’s the place where you can learn to cook fish properly in stunning surroundings, or take a tour of an English vineyard. It’s home to several foodie festivals and to a Michelin-starred chef, which on holiday you can savour at lunchtime prices! Plus, we’ve picked out our favourite place to enjoy a proper Cornish cream tea.
So here are our 12 reasons to visit Cornwall (for foodies)…
1. Dine on the beach
Truly gorgeous ocean-side settings where you can watch the sun go down are what Cornwall is known for, but it’s even better with food. One of the most glorious beachside settings is at Sennen Cove, near Land’s End, where wondrous chef Ben Tunnicliffe has recently taken over and created Ben at Sennen. It’s family friendly and informal, with a focus on quality, local produce and seafood.
Or pack a picnic and take it to beautiful Porthgwarra Beach (pictured), near Land’s End, for a meal you won’t forget.
2. Try English wine
Head to one of the most highly awarded English vineyards, Camel Valley, for a vineyard tour. The Lindo family has lived and worked at Camel Valley since 1982, when there was neither road access nor running water. Here, you can take a wine tour.
3. Enjoy the freshest catch…
Make for Newquay Harbour’s The Boathouse at sunset as the fisherman head home with their daily catch, closely followed by seagulls and seals chasing them back to shore. If you’re lucky enough, you may even see Sammy, Newquay’s resident seal, snacking on freshly caught fish. You can’t miss him as he has a distinctive scar on his face!
4. … Or learn how to cook your own fish
Plenty of fishmongers and markets sell fish straight from the boats at ports all around Cornwall’s coastline, but it’s not always easy to understand how to make the right choices. Help is at hand with the new Good Seafood Guide, which tells you which Cornish seafood is seasonal and good to buy.
Learn what to look for when buying fish, how to prepare and cook it to perfection with Annie Sibert’s classes in the picturesque village of Mawnan Smith near Falmouth. A fishmonger for 25 years, what she doesn’t know about fish isn’t worth knowing.
5. Try wild foraging
Foraging is big with chefs and Cornwall is a wonderful place to learn. There are many wild foraging sessions in Cornwall, including Rachel Lambert’s Wild Food Foraging Walks and Caroline Davey’s Forage, Cook and Feast Days.
6. Take a scenic cookery course
A cookery school is the perfect way to combine pleasure with learning. At Philleigh Way, near Truro, learn from chef George Pascoe on his family’s farm with a series of one-day courses that you can pick from. If you prefer to dine rather than learn, Philleigh Way Wood-Fired Sessions on the parilla grill are also starting in May, and it’s a great place for private dining for a group of friends.
Of course, Padstow Seafood School is the name on most people’s lips when they think of cooking classes in Cornwall and there are numerous options at this famous school run by Rick and Jill Stein.
7. Join a short gardening course
Fancy yourself as a Monty Don? Try out one of the Eden Project’s new short gardening courses, starting in May. Hone your fruit and veg growing skills or share the best way to save and cultivate seeds. The expert horticulture team at Eden have got the know-how and are buzzing with a passion for teaching.
8. Sup a Cornish pint
Sharp’s Brewery in Rock is well-known for its award-winning beers. While in Cornwall, try a pint of Doom Bar – named after the sandbank off the north coast – which is the best-selling cask ale in the UK. Then try their Cornish Pilsner, or their Orchard cider, or… you get the picture!
9. Check out a Michelin-starred chef
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw at the St Enodoc Hotel in Rock has a 3-course seasonal menu for £45 but has a 3-course set lunch for just £25. Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac serves the best fish from local inshore day boats that are certified by the Responsible Fishing Scheme. The fish and the fishermen decide on the menu here, but it is based around a series of small sharing plates. The Mariner’s Rock, in Rock, is a joint-venture pub between Outlaw and Sharp’s Brewery.
10. Take your time over Cornish cream tea
Sit in the window of the beautiful Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth and gaze out to sea. This is where the Wind in the Willows was written – and it’s the perfect place to devour a Cornish cream tea.
11. Have the ultimate Sunday lunchNew venture of acclaimed chef Emily Scott, St Tudy Inn in the heart of picture postcard St Tudy takes Sunday lunches to a whole new level.
12. Eat your way round the biggest Cornish food festival
Now in its 11th year, the Great Cornish Food Festival is the largest event anywhere dedicated to food and drink that’s been produced or grown in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly. Set in Truro over a long weekend in September, starting Friday 25 September, the event will showcase Cornwall’s top chefs.