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Why we love Cornwall gastronomy (and you should, too)

Cornwall gastronomy

When I was asked to write another article for Voyagers Voice magazine, I wrote about a place that was embedded in my heart and soul. Truth be told, I could have written about this beautiful but mystical place a thousand times over, with humorous and heartbreaking stories to match. This place, that made me fall so passionately in love with it, is called Cornwall.

Growing up as a young lad, my regular visits to Cornwall and, in particular, Perranporth on the north Cornish coast was full of the usual treats. These treats were Cornish fudge, ice cream, and of course the Cornish Pasty. Surely, I must have devoured hundreds over the years. I have eaten from the traditional pasty right up to the steak and Stilton (English cheese) and many, many more in between, involving some ingredients that, well let’s just say the older Cornish folk would scowl or at least say ‘Ya gate bleddy tuss’.

I will leave you to research that Cornish saying.

The typical recipe for a Cornish pasty includes various ingredients. These ingredients are: diced or minced beef, onion, potato, and swede in roughly equal chunks, along with some “light peppery” seasoning. The beef used is generally skirt steak. The pasty was previously popular with royalty. Later in the 17th and 18th centuries the pasty became popular with the working-class folk in Cornwall. The tin miners were well associated with the pasty because of its unique shape, forming a complete meal. This could be easily carried and eaten without cutlery.


Cornish Cream Tea

The crimping of the pasty, usually side crimped, was such so that the tin miners could easily eat the pasty and disregard the thick crust edge, therefore not allowing their dirty fingers, which could be contaminated with arsenic from the mining, to come into contact with their mouths. It was also said that pasties were usually filled with a savoury at one end and a sweet filling at the other, offering a complete meal.

Another product that is instinctively recognised around the world is “The Cornish Cream Tea”. Now in the South West of England, the debate continues. I must add quite passionately about how a “proper” cream tea should be served. In neighbouring Devon, they serve their scone split in two. Then cover each half with clotted cream and then add strawberry jam on top.
With the Cornish method, the warm ‘scone’ is first split in two. Then spread with strawberry jam, and finally topped with a spoonful of clotted cream No doubt this argument will live on longer than any of us, so naturally. I’m always going to go with the trusted Cornish method

Without a doubt, Cornish cuisine has been brought to the public eye, even more so with the popularity of “Celebrity Chefs”.  I always find a bit disconcerting as most of those Chefs have come up through the ranks, building up a truly deserved reputation in their culinary field. Then of course with television shows bringing these chefs into our homes who can blame them for a bit of “Celebrity fame”.


Chef Rick Stein

One of those chefs is an authentic hero of mine. For me he is a hero just as Ronaldo is to a young, inspiring footballer or the Beatles to a musician. This gentleman is Mr Rick Stein. He is the legendary Chef of Padstow (or as people like to call it Padstein) in North Cornwall.
I’ve met chef Rick Stein occasionally. I found him to be the most humble and genuine of people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. In fact, I discussed with him my plans to move to Cornwall with my son Jay. He offered me the opportunity to go to his restaurant in Padstow for a job interview.

Rick’s passion for Cornwall is evident in his numerous books and tv shows. This is the inspiration I use when writing articles or books myself. After my planned cookbook on the history of Corfu’s food & culture, I am going to concentrate on some of the forgotten dishes of Cornwall.  Surely, I’ll be making dishes like “Kiddley Broth” and “Potato Jowdle” that were simple and cheap for the working people of Cornish back in the day. I’ll also be making today’s fancy dishes like Cornish scallops and monkfish.

Cornish recipe


I want to use Cornish ingredients such as Mead, cider, and a strong beer called ‘Spingo’. I also want to use local cakes such as saffron and Hevva cake and the ever-popular fairing biscuits.

Not to mention the array of Cornish Cheeses, many of which have won many awards worldwide. Famous cheeses such as Cornish blue, Davidstow Cheddar, Cornish Brie, Gevrik, and one of my favourites, Cornish Yarg. Cornish Yarg  is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese that’s left to mature. Then, this cheese is carefully wrapped in edible nettle leaves.

With my experience of Cornish holidays, food festivals, knowledgeable family, friends, and acquaintances, I cannot wait to research more about Culinary Cornwall,

But most importantly, of course, the history itself as I search for more dishes lost from Cornwall’s past.

cornish recipe
Cornish recipe

In short, if you want to know more about the gastronomy from other countries, click on Recipes From My Travels.

however, if you want to know more about the culture or art of other countries look at our Blog.

Author: Paul James (Recipes From My Travels)

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