Cornwall is becoming increasingly well-known for it’s rich and varied cuisine. Cornwall is a leading culinary destination, with a wide variety of dishes which truly reflect the local character and history of this magnificent maritime and mining county.
Cornwall has a rich and varied food tradition, and is also fast gaining prestige in the culinary world. As Jessica at JessicaMilln states; “I’ll buy local Cornish food in preference every time over any alternative and…there is so much to try”.
The ideal location in which to try some of this Cornish fare is the New Inn, which is right on the doorstep of the luxury Park Leisure site of Oyster Bay. This fine pub truly delivers a delicious slice of Cornwall to satisfy your appetite.
We have all most likely come across some of these delicious foods of Cornwall before, but nothing compares to the original. With the help of some of the Best Blogs of Cornwall, here are some of the famous, and the less widely known and unusual, but by no means any less tasty, examples of Cornish cuisine:
Oggie, Oggie, Oggie
Cornish pasties or ‘Oggies’ are the original hot fast-food of Cornwall. Traditionally made from a strong short-crust pastry known as ‘pasty pastry’, for its robust structure and strength, these were famously produced by the wives of miners. They would fill these little pastry parcels with hardy meat and vegetables, and would send these down the mines to help keep their husbands sustained for the rest of the day. From this there is a reputation for a Cornish pasty to uphold- it is said that the sign of a good pasty is if it survives being dropped down a mine shaft!
Today, you can’t really say you’ve ever had a proper Cornish pasty until you’ve sampled one in Cornwall. Pasties are available in many savoury and sweet styles and flavours, and sometimes both together in one pasty. However, it traditionally contains sliced or mince beef, potatoes, onion, carrot and suede or turnip. Although many pasties available from most shops today have crimped tops, traditionally the edges of the pasty were crimped, as Karen from LavenderAndLovage describes, which enabled the grubby miners to eat without dirtying the pasty, and this is an aesthetic tradition which still continues today. It was hard work, but the pasty did the job.
Soak up the Saffron
An affordable treat with a rich flavouring, Saffron Cake is a light, doughy cake with the inclusion of saffron, which gives the loaf a rich golden colour, and the fruit added to the mix sweetens the spice.
Ismay at PastiesAndCream learnt how to bake a beautiful batch of ‘plump’ Saffron buns, which were “infused with the unmistakable flavour and colour of real saffron”. Anna at BakingForBritian also tried her hand at this Cornish cake, and commented “the loaf was a beautiful shade of sunshine, and the crumb was soft and succulent (like a brioche)”.
Saffron, one of the most expensive spices in the world, was originally traded along the South West coast. With the abundance of the best imported Saffron available Cornwall unsurprisingly incorporated it into its baking. Saffron cakes and bite-size buns still abound to this day, proving this spiced, fruity treat is still just as enjoyable as when it was first baked, especially with a generous helping of Cornish clotted cream, and it is still rising in popularity.
Clot the Cream
Despite the long-standing rivalry between Devon and Cornwall as to who originally made it, the rich and famous treat of clotted cream is enjoyed all over the UK. To produce it, rich cream is ‘baked’ until it becomes the thick clotted cream we all know and love.
There are so many ways to enjoy Cornish clotted cream, both sweet and savoury. From the traditional serving of a dollop with jam on scones for an authentic Cornish cream tea, or “spread onto toasted saffron bread”, as Beth at JamandClottedCream suggests, turned into famous clotted cream ice-cream or fudge, or as a clotted cream savoury bun, as Ellie from BarefootInCornwall recommends, in creamy mashed potato or put into rich fish pies- you name it, serve it!
With Cornwall bordered by the sea on three sides, it’s no wonder that the county thrived upon the fishing industry, and offers such a wide selection of traditional seafood dishes, such as Stargazy pie (Warning- not for the squeamish).
The Stargazy pie contains whole fish inside, along with many other fillings such as milk, potatoes, bacon, onion and white wine, with their heads poking out around the edges of a shortcrust or puff-pastry top, seemingly ‘stargazing’. The fish heads are exposed through the pastry, as the story goes, due to a fisherman of Mousehole, Tom Bawcock, who braved rough and terrible storms to save his village from famine in the winter. To honour him all the fish he caught were placed in a giant pie that now clear and starry night to feed the whole village, and since then smaller versions have become popular fare.
Stargazy pie is commonly found on Cornish restaurant menus around the 23rd December, or Tom Bowcock’s Eve. So if you’re bored of the mince pies and stuffing in the run-up to Christmas, why not enjoy this tasty marine morsel and some traditional merriment, Cornish-style.
No Sting in this Tale
One of the more unusual of the British cheeses is the locally revered Cornish ‘Yarg’, named after the original recipe owners the Gray family (‘Yarg’ is ‘Gray’ spelt backwards). Cornish Yarg can now be found and enjoyed all over the world.
Cheese recipes similar to Yarg have been traced dating back to the 16th Century, and for hundreds of years these round, light coloured, soft and crumbly cheeses are wrapped in neutralized stinging nettles. This creates naturally occurring bacteria which causes the cheese to ripen, while the leaf juices seeps into the rind and enthuses it with a fresh and ‘earthy’ flavour. Rachel at SaffronBunny notes that it is the application of the nettle leaves onto the cheese which gives the Yarg “its signature appearance and lacy good looks”.
Yarg is made from cow’s milk, has a soft and creamy texture, and is slightly crumbly towards the centre. There is also a garlic variety, where the encasing of wild garlic leaves produces a light garlicky flavour. Yarg is available in the traditional round shapes, or even in fun seasonal shapes such as the heart-shaped Yarg, as Jessica from BeyondthePasty reveals, “made especially for cheese lovers and cheesy romantics”.
Clotted Cream and Cornish Cuisine
For a true taste of Cornish cuisine, The New Inn at Goonhavern serves a delicious array of local and favourite dishes, including Cornish Yarg as part of the Ploughman’s Platter, a Cornish Steak Pasty, and a tempting selection of desserts with clotted cream, including the New Inn Cream Tea with ‘Inn’ made scones, jam, strawberries and a pot of tea. As Leyla from ThisDayILove describes; “You could really tell the food had been prepared fresh on the premises, and it screamed good quality. Everything was simply perfect… We could not pass up the opportunity for dessert after such mouth-watering delicious main courses”.
Holidaymakers and foody connoisseurs will find more than enough to tempt the taste buds, at the New Inn and around Cornwall, and are sure to enjoy the many ‘fruits’ the Cornish region has to offer.