Cornwall has long held a great reputation as one of the best places to head for food and drink in the UK, and to celebrate the great harvest the city offers plenty of food festivals. IN the autumn there are the Oyster festivals of Newlyn, Falmouth, and Newquay. These festivals help showcase the fresh shellfish and fish that comes from the region’s coastline with samples and cooking demonstrations from the well known local chefs.
The Newlyn Fish Festival takes place on the August Bank Holiday Monday and is situated in one of the most notable fishing ports of Cornwall. It is one of the largest sea festivals in the UK and offers six cooking demos, a lobster workshop, two fish auctions, a huge fish display, and the Big Fish Filleting Challenge. At the festival you can also pick up fresh, smoked, or cooked fish from the harbour merchants.
During the second week of September from the 9th to 11th you can also head up to Cornwall for the Newquay Fish Festival which is growing in popularity every year as it allows visitors to sample fish dishes, purchase Cornish produce and food, and watch local chefs create great dishes from local items. Also on hand are plenty of smoked fish, on site fish sales, a pilchard BBQ, live cookery, fish filleting demos, crab sandwiches, oysters, and pretty much anything else ‘fishy.’ Those who are looking for a weekend of family fun will also enjoy the craft and food stalls that will line the Harbour.
The imposing city of Truro is the venue for Cornwall Food & Drink Festival which draws thousands of visitors to the event which takes place from 23rd to 25th September. The festival is the biggest celebration of Cornish food and drink in the county attracting artisan producers from chocolate to chutney; bakery to butchery; ice cream to clotted cream; or pasties to paella – whatever your fancy, this festival has got it licked, with the finest quality produce from all over Cornwall. If that’s not enough, come and see at least a dozen of the county’s top chefs in action and learn new tricks and hot tips from selected food experts. Kids can get creative in the Funky Food Zone and, new for this year, the festival fun goes on after sunset with some special treats for true food lovers.
The first weekend in October sees the Boscastle Food, Arts & Crafts Festival with eight fabulous Cornish Chefs demonstrating over the weekend, including high rising stars such as Nathan Outlaw, proud owner of 2 Michelin Stars from the St Enodoc Hotel, Andy Appleton from Fifteen Cornwall, winner of this year’s desert course for the Great British Menu, three chefs from outstanding restaurants in Padtow including Paul Ainsworth from Number 6, Paul Harwood from Rick Stein’s St.Petroc’s Bistro and Adrian Oliver from Margot’s, also Phil Thomas from Rosewarne Manor and Aaron Janes from Silks Bistro at Newquay’s Atlantic Hotel. A host of stalls will be selling and sampling Cornish food and drink and original arts and crafts in the huge marquees in this picturesque harbour side village.
Special guest Tim Anderson, winner of BBC MasterChef 2011 will open Falmouth Oyster Festival with a cookery demonstration. The festival is a Cornish cornucopia of stalls brimming with oysters, seafood, wine and other delicacies takes place from 13th to 16th October. Timed to celebrate the start of the oyster season, the event celebrates the Falmouth Working Boats and oyster punts which trawl the natural oyster beds of the surrounding area using traditional methods to harvest the prized local native oysters renowned for their sweet, delicate flavour. Cookery demonstrations with top local chefs and live music add to your visit, while you can sit and taste a variety of seafood and other dishes and take in the unique festival atmosphere.
Malcolm Bell, Head of Tourism at VisitCornwall, the Cornwall Development Company tourism service adds: “Autumn is a fantastic time to visit Cornwall and what better excuse can there be than taking in one or more of our food festivals, which brilliantly showcase the very best of Cornish produce, chefs and our growing reputation for quality gastronomic experiences.’
VisitCornwall are offering a two night break with extra treats for two people at the St Michael’s Hotel and Spa in Falmouth during the Oyster Festival, see the ‘win’ page on the I Love Cornwall website www.ilovecornwall.com For a full listing of events in Cornwall and inspiration for where to stay and things to do and see in Cornwall see www.visitcornwall.com.