Head for the Cornish coast
Sep 17 2010 By Emily Bridgewater
Emily Bridgewater samples the culinary delights of Cornwall.
If you dream of holidays in San Francisco but your budget won’t stretch, then why not consider north Cornwall?
On face value the two destinations may seem poles apart, but look a little closer and they’ve got more in common than just misty mornings.
Perhaps the most striking similarity is the abundance of good, fresh food and great restaurants.
As in San Fran, you only need turn a corner in north Cornwall to find a gourmet delicatessen, farm shop or market stall trumpeting the finest local produce from strawberries to scallops.
Forget the famous Ferry Building – a surefire destination for any foodie in San Francisco – head to Padstow instead which has also converted old harbour buildings into havens of gastronomy.
Here, you can visit chef Rick Stein’s Deli – selling food, cookery books and kitchen gadgetry – eat his fish and chips (a must) and even learn to cook seafood his way at the culinary school.
And for the inquisitive, who want to know just where their dinner comes from, there is the National Lobster Hatchery giving a fascinating insight into this wonderful delicacy.
It’s this tasty crustacean, as well as all the other locally-produced ingredients, that take centre stage in most of the region’s restaurants.
It was an utter luxury to lunch on fresh mussels from the River Fowey, bathed in local cider, at the Porthminster Cafe in St Ives, or nibble on crispy fried squid dunked in fresh alioli at The Beach Hut while gazing at the surf of Watergate Bay.
San Fran maybe famous for it’s Boudin sourdough bread and Ghiradelli chocolates, but north Cornwall has it’s own tasty treats including traditional Cornish pasties, decadent clotted cream Roskilly’s icecream and Buttermilk Fudge – not to mention cream teas.
And if it’s celebrity chefs you’re after, then north Cornwall can deliver. San Francisco’s outer bay area may boast gourmet legends Thomas Keller and Alice Waters, but North Cornwall has it’s own share of renowned chefs – Jamie Oliver and the aforementioned Rick Stein.