Curated by Lucy Studley
These days, food and travel enthusiasts are hungry for the kind of immersive experiences for which you have to work that little bit harder. We’re ready to engage our brains, pull up our sleeves, test our taste buds, and possibly even walk a mile or two in search of sustenance for body and mind. It’s no surprise that Cornwall is the perfect place to put this hankering for food experiences into practice. From cookery schools to foraging walks, private dining to brew days, the Cornish food and drink scene is trendsetting as always…
TAKE A COOKERY COURSE IN THE CORNISH COUNTRYSIDE
Philleigh Way Cookery School really is an inspiring place to get to grips with local produce from land and sea. Originally the result of a farm diversification project, it’s now a thriving cookery school run by chef and former rugby player, Rupert Cooper. The course programme is broad and designed to appeal to all areas of interest. Learn to cook shellfish with Stephane Delourme, former Executive Chef at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, or hone your lamination skills in a patisserie masterclass. From adding wood-fired cooking techniques to your repertoire, to learning the art of rolling sushi, there’s plenty to keep you busy in this bucolic spot on the Roseland Peninsula.
Meanwhile in West Cornwall, Fat Hen offers insightful foraging courses combined with cookery sessions using wild ingredients. Taster experiences last a few hours and are designed to build the confidence of keen amateur foragers, whereas weekend courses will fuel a gourmet’s thirst for knowledge.
MAKE NEW DISCOVERIES AT LOCAL CORNISH FOOD MARKETS
The Food Barn at Flushing near Falmouth is a weekly market of local producers selling directly to the public, which aims to shorten the food supply chain as much as possible. A host of grassroots food and drink producers adhering to the highest ethical and sustainable standards can be found in the old agricultural barn each week. They’re joined occasionally by sail-shipped cargo from Europe spirited into Falmouth by the beautiful ship Gollant. Much more than simply a shopping experience, you’ll also find food stalls serving up everything from freshly-baked bagels to hearty breakfast porridge. A mobile zero-waste shop visits regularly, and there’s often a DJ so you can bop to some beats while stocking up with treats…
It’s less off-the-beaten track, but no food fan should miss a visit to Truro Farmers’ Market which takes place on Lemon Quay every Wednesday and Sunday. A great combination of well-established producers who helped pioneer the Cornish food scene, and a diverse up-and-coming generation of traders, you’ll find everything from fermented foods to raw chocolate, chilli jam to craft beer. For a mid-shopping snack head to the La Pineta Italian Deli stall for a taste of southern Italian street food, where you can feast on arancini, panzerotti and delicious creamy cannoli.
CRAFT YOUR VERY OWN BEER, CIDER AND SPIRITS
Fowey Valley is an artisan cider producer and distillery based in Lostwithiel. Nearly 30 years ago, Barrie Gibson began making cider with fruit from the trees in his garden. In 2012 he officially established Fowey Valley, taking three further years to perfect his flagship product – an exquisite champagne-style cider. Barrie is now sharing his knowledge with a new generation, teaching people how to make cider using only domestic equipment. It’s a great starting point for anyone, whether you’re a smallholder aspiring to self-sufficiency. Fowey Valley also crafts award-winning small-batch spirits, and distilling courses are available to book now.
If craft beer is more your thing, The Driftwood Spars Brewery at Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes, run Brew Days. Work alongside Head Brewer Mike Mason and gain hands-on experience of the whole brewing process, from filling the mash tun to transferring to the fermenter.
Prefer a stronger tipple? Colwith Farm Distillery in Lanlivery offer an immersive distilling experience for lovers of gin. Colwith Farm is the region’s first plough to bottle distillery, who have mastered the art of transforming their potatoes into award-winning spirits. Owned and run by the Dustow family, their onsite gin school provides an introduction into the world of botanicals, and gives you control over your own copper alembic pot still to distil a gin perfectly suited to your tastes. You’ll also get to enjoy a seasonal cocktail during your visit and come home with your very own 70cl bottle of delectable Cornish gin.
EXPERIENCE A FINE DINING AND WINE MATCHING EXPERIENCE
Fine dining fell out of favour for a while, but it’s making a comeback. New St Ives restaurant The Dining Room at 27 The Terrace serves a set tasting menu, with every course expertly matched to a wine – to the extent that wine is seen as an intrinsic component of each dish. Given his early career in various Michelin-starred restaurants in France and the UK, Head Chef Grant Nethercott (formerly of Alba Restaurant) is in his element. He has an incredible larder of local produce at his disposal, and time to attend to every detail of each dish served in the 18-cover restaurant.
For an even more intimate fine dining experience, The Chef’s Table at Paul Ainsworth’s Mahé (above) is a real bucket-list affair. Guests dine just centimetres from the chefs in the development kitchen, taking it all in as their unique tasting menu of ‘British gastronomy, crafted from meticulously sourced, seasonal Cornish produce’
Want to find more ideas for things to see and do in Cornwall? Head to our shop and grab yourself a copy of our new Cornwall Guidebook!