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Yes pasties, yes fish and chips, yes cider but there’s plenty more on offer if you scratch the surface! One of the best ways to experience (taste!) the Cornish smorgasbord is by venturing to some of the best Food festivals in Cornwall.
First, some context to wet your appetite; it’s no surprise that the economic history of the county has shaped its culinary culture and without a doubt, the most famed dish, the Pasty, was made famous due to the Cornish mining industry.
The concept, meat, vegetables in Pasty was exported around the world with the miners themselves and could have been the influence for dishes such as The Mexican empanada or the Jamaican Patty.
Geography shapes the food culture too, the peninsula is surrounded by the Atlantic ocean and still boasts one of the largest working fishing ports in the country, Newlyn. Flatfish, scallops, crabs, monkfish, ray, pollock, bass and cod are just a few of the species landed.
Then, of course, you have the swathes of green fields, farmland with rich soil, rich enough for spectacular vegetables and fruit, rich enough to even host vineyards and the UK’s first tea plantation.
So there’s a pang of hunger and interest in your stomach, where you can sample some of the produce to be born from this county? Let’s see if our guide to the best food festivals in Cornwall can help:
Our favourite the St.Ives Food and Drink Festival has all the mandatory attractions nailed; live cooking demonstrations, artisanal traders, workshops and live music but what really sets it apart is the beautiful location.
Situated on Porthminster beach with its sandy shores and clean water the event is a highlight for locals and repeat visitors alike. Kid-friendly, free and if you’re staying in the area very easy to get to and stagger home (alcohol or food induced).
The picturesque town of Porthleven becomes a foodies mecca once a year as the harbour, shipyard and playing fields plays host to over 90 eateries. Expect live cooking competitions with famous chefs like Anthony Worrel Thompson, stalls from butchers, bakers and brewers, events at local businesses, live music and a literary tent. Family friendly, free, get the bus!
3,000 of the 40,000 visitors say they plan their holiday around this event located in the heart of Truro on Lemon Quay. A celebration of Cornish produce, expect a range of quality meat dishes such as gourmet burgers from the Duck Truck to niche products like edible insects, cricket falafel anyone? All weather and easy to get to.
Celebrated since 1754, Mevagissey Feast Week has its origins in a religious festival but now the atmosphere is more reminiscent of a Carnival so expect a colourful parade, floats, music, dancing and of course food. The focus is fish with Mevagisseys traditional working harbour, freshness is a given.
Whilst technically not a food festival Port Elliot offers exquisite outlets to feed your hunger and quench a thirst. From locally sourced sustainable seafood to international street bites, every palette catered for. They have their very own restaurant (bookings taken now!) serving North African and Southern Med dishes as well as the chance to dine with festival performers and musicians. An oyster bar serves up only the freshest fayre alongside Vietnamese, Booja Booja dairy free ice cream, scones, pies and delightfully named Fleetwood Mac and Cheese. Get stuck in.
The festival celebrates (guess) all things Oysters and kickstarts the beginning of the sail powered dredging season in the river and surrounding estuaries. Watch the speedy professionals process the shellfish in the famed competition, shuck your own or chow down at one the many stalls and restaurants around the Maritime museum.
Perhaps your idea of a great food festival involves rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck in, if that’s the case then then our final recommendation is right up your street.
A celebration of the Cornish Pasty in all it’s various iterations. Traditionalists and rule breakers collide in a bake off for companies, professionals, amateurs and juniors alike. This is no village hall event but rather an official Cornish Pasty Association soiree who are serious about keeping the status of the delicious baked delight protected all whilst welcoming refreshed versions.
So there we have it our Guide to Food and Drinks Festivals in Cornwall, a complete rundown of some top culinary events for you to wine, dine and probably dine again. Double dinners all around.
Don’t forget to check out our handpicked selection of Holiday Cottages in St Ives and surrounding areas.