Best of Cornish … Food

I feel extremely fortunate to have been ‘born and bred’ (Cornish terminology) right here in Cornwall. A county that possesses such beauty in its rich landscape and tastefully sumptuous culinary experiences, both to which I proudly I shout about when being asked about my birthplace. Now you’re probably thinking I’m somewhat of a connoisseur to everything Cornish, but you’re mistaken. I grew up alongside my younger brother, who like me wasn’t at all adventurous with food. As you can imagine this made life for my father, a single parent, difficult and somewhat tiresome, to which I’m still thanking him for it today! Luckily, to his delight, I grew up and as time moved on, I began to grow fonder of the gastronomic influences I was experiencing in my everyday life. I can talk and talk about the best of Cornish foods but below are three favourites packed with a little Cornish insight…

Where to start? Personally, I think it’s important to start with one I feel the most passionate about, a good Cornish steak pasty! One that I’m sure you, the reader, must be aware of and if for some bizarre reason you aren’t, you might want to read this next part carefully. Before we start, needn’t I say that it’s very rare for me to give away any secrets, especially ones that involve food that have a strong sentimental value. But I’m feeling generous enough to share this mouth-watering secret. The very village I grew up in, Mylor Bridge (sshh), without a doubt does the best pasty you will ever find and believe me when you read this. So popular the pasties have been mentioned by Lesley Gillian, of The Guardian, with her word of mouth blog! Right from the moment you peel away the white paper bag that incubates the heat and moreish flavours, you are met with the most golden sun-kissed flaky pastry. Leaving the hand and filling the mouth, you are taken back by the sheer tantalising taste of buttery veg and succulent steak mince which has been cooked to perfection (medium rare). Dangerously, it became the next best thing growing up, as I would enjoy one if not two a day throughout the school holidays and weekends. Fourteen years later and still a regular, the first name basis kind of regular, where every weekend I still love to enjoy ‘ansome’ flaky pasty.

I was never one to order a cheeseboard when dining out in restaurants, but I have found the older I’m getting (24 going on 84) the more appealing a board of Cornish cheeses sounds. Rich in flavour and soft in texture, each cheese thankful for the rich sought-after Guernsey cow milk commonly found right here in Cornwall. Known fondly for its agriculture and cattle industry, the milk we consume will most likely originate from this very county which possesses lushest green grass. A personal favourite assortment of Cornish cheeses for me must include a Cornish Yarg, Cornish Blue and the Cornish Smuggler, all beautifully indulgent with some spiced apple chutney on a toasted crostini.

Very close to Cornwall’s heart is the infamous cream tea, something I have grown to cherish more and more but only with jam first and cream second (this side of the Tamar!). Wherever you are in the country or somewhat the world you will find a near enough ‘replica’ of a cream tea. For me personally, there is no better place than home to enjoy such a thing. The first bite teasing you with flavour, light and fluffy in the middle with a soft outer shell allowing for a delicious partnership accompanied by some homemade jam and fresh clotted cream carefully quinellaed on top. A scone is very easy to get wrong; some will disagree. By this, I mean overworking the dough to the extent it’s very dense, which is easily done if you are new to the whole scone experience. It’s easy to notice once they’re cooked, as the scone will soon become a flat dense cake or as we like to call it in Cornwall, ‘hevva cake’. Favourite Tip: Carefully knead the dough lightly to the point where the ingredients have been incorporated, no more or no less keeping it light and airy. Looking for somewhere to enjoy a beautiful cream tea? Try the wonderful Headland Hotel and Spa where magnificent sea views are a given whilst relaxing amidst the sleek décor and squashy sofas, or even out on their lounge decking area overlooking the magnificent Fistral Beach.