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Cornwall Pt 5 – Food, Glorious Food (and Drink)

Mark is in heaven with shakshuka and mussels

When I looked through the pictures of our time in Cornwall, there were a number of pictures of the places where we ate and/or drank. In the picture above, Mark is in heaven with shakshuka and mussels at The Waterside, right on the pier for the Flushing ferry. The food in Cornwall is delicious — who doesn’t love a good Cornish pasty? We even went to a cooking school so we have the authentic recipe and can make them ourselves.

My First Pasty (but not my last)

Our friends in Wales told us the best Cornish Pasties are from the bakery next to the Tintagel ticket office, it’s called “The Cornish Bakery” of course. They did not steer us wrong.

The Cornish pasty was invented as an easy, sturdy food for the miners. (Did you read the post about Cornwall and mining?) It a shortcrust pastry filled with meat, potatoes, swede (rutabaga/turnip), and onion (NO carrots, that’s heresy). They are similar to an empanada, turnover, or pirog in other parts of the world. Nowadays, you can put anything you like in the pasty, like chicken tikka or cheese and vegetables, but beef is considered the “traditional” filling (although miners would have been unlikely to have beef).

History note — the crimping on the edge was the “handle” and the miners would hold it by the crimped edge to eat it, then throw away the crimped edge, “for the knockers,” the sprites/fairies who lived in the mine. On a practical note, their hands were also dirty and likely had arsenic on them, so yeah, I would give it to the knockers too.

The name “Cornish pasty” was awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 2011, like Prosciutto di Parma or Irish Whiskey. For Cornish pasties, this means that the item must conform to a basic shape and recipe and be prepared in Cornwall. (Though there is a loophole that says it can be baked elsewhere.)

Let’s Make Pasties

We took a day trip to the Philleigh Way Cookery School outside Truro to learn how to make our own Cornish pasties. Our tutor Rupert showed us the ropes and we had fun making our pasties and then having a lovely cream tea with fresh scones while waiting for the pasties to cook.

My First Afternoon Tea

I’d heard about “high tea” and afternoon tea long before coming to the UK. Fancy tiny sandwiches and little pastries, usually served at a nice restaurant or tea house. We finally got a chance to enjoy afternoon tea in Falmouth at The Greenbank Hotel restaurant overlooking Falmouth harbor. So good!

The Hidden Hut (but not very well-hidden)

Always on the lookout for unique experiences, we heard about The Hidden Hut and decided to check it out. It’s an open-air kitchen on Portscatho beach on the Roseland Peninsula. Absolutely gorgeous views and the food was well worth the ferry ride and drive. Our only disappointment was that we weren’t able to go to one of the Feast Nights. Bring your picnic blanket, wine, beer, or cider and your appetite. Dog friendly, of course.

Time for Cider

Cornwall is home to several cideries. We’re talking hard cider, though they have plenty of non-alcoholic ciders as well. One of the larger cider farms and distilleries is the Healey Cornish Cyder Farm outside Truro. It’s a fun place where you can learn about the history of cider making, take a tractor ride through the apple orchard and, of course, taste many delicious beverages. It’s a great place to take a picnic lunch (pasties?) to enjoy after the tour and tasting is done.

The special tasting room

We went for the Full Healey’s Experience and had a fantastic time.

Yes, they are descendants of the Healey of Austin Healey cars.

That pretty much wraps up our Cornwall adventure. We fell in love with the beautiful landscapes, friendly people, delicious food, and the history of this place. I would go back in a heartbeat.

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