One of the best things about visiting Cornwall these days is the amazing food. Gone are the days of soggy chips on the beach; Newquay alone has a whole host of great food and drink to sample, whether you fancy a cracking local cream tea, a spot of fine dining or outstandingly good Cornish seafood. But if you only had one weekend in Newquay, what local food would be an absolute must? One person who knows is our Head Chef Pam, who shares her top foodie treats and experiences for your next visit:
1. Sensational Newquay Seafood
For local Cornish specialities and some of the finest seafood you'll find anywhere in the land, where else would we start than fresh from the coast? "Local crab and lobster are fantastic as a holiday treat," says Pam, "but scallops are another personal favourite; easy to cook and even easier to eat!”. If dinner with shells or claws is not your cup of tea though, our selection of local fish is also amazingly tasty and fresh. Pam highly recommends Cornish sardines and mackerel as perfect summer starters, while guests struggling to pick a favourite main dish could always go for variety with our superb Trio of Fish in a Thai Broth.
2. Catch it and Cook It!
For a totally different foodie experience, you could of course try collecting or catching your own food. "Forget supermarket fish, where you're not sure about freshness," says Pam. “From the harbour you can buy directly from the day boats. Or better still, book a fishing trip with a local skipper and go and catch it yourself for an evening barbeque on the beach. Great fun, and it couldn’t be fresher.” You certainly don't need to be a Rick Stein to cook up a feast either. "Keep it simple and don't overcook it," is Pam's advice. "A lot of folks are over-cautious, but if it's fresh you don't need to heat it forever. Try cooking fish skin side down first. Once it's good and hot, the other side will cook pretty quickly."
3. Pick Your Own
Tellingly, activities such as foraging and picking your own produce are also popular holiday experiences. Mitchell's Fruit Garden is a great local example, where all the family will enjoy collecting (and eating!) their own strawberries. It only goes to show how much of a draw food experiences are these days, whether you’re local or visiting.
4. Make it a Proper Cornish Pastie
We're not going to dive into the whole Devon vs Cornish Pastie debate here, but ask any Newquay local and you will discover that not all pasties are created equal. "It just has to be local and freshly baked," says Pam. "Go for an independent bakery or butcher's shop, rather than a chain store." These meaty treats might not be haute cuisine, but we make no apologies for including them here- they are delicious and the genuine article is a cut above any pre-prepared supermarket or garage version!
5. The Cream of Cornwall
It's another of those treats that is synonymous with Cornwall, but find freshly baked scones, authentic clotted cream and top quality tea and you have one of the region's timeless treats. Cornish cream tea in Newquay is a must at least once on your holiday, while you might even want to smuggle some clotted cream back home with you; Pam recommends buying on the day you leave and using an ice box to transport.
6. Say Cheese
If you do fancy taking a little taste of Cornwall back home with you, some items definitely travel better than others. Local Cornish cheeses are one option. "Cornish Smuggler is a good cheese to take away," recommends Pam. "It has a rind to keep it fresh, a red marbled colour and a lovely bold taste." Many others, such as St.Endellion Brie and Cornish Yarg are also worth looking out for, whether you visit local delis or go for an afternoon at Truro Farmer's Market.
7. Explore Food Festivals in Cornwall
For the true food fanatic, the best time of year to visit is during one of our big food events. You could come along and meet us in person this year at Newquay Fish Fest 2016 (16-18 September), where Pam will be talking Cornish Cuisine and serving some amazing cakes on the day (White Chocolate and Cranberry Tiffin anyone?). Or alternately, get down to The Great Cornish Food Festival 2016 (23-25 September) for further foodie highlights. Both events have stalls, things to sample and special guests galore!
Get an Authentic Taste of Cornwall at Great Western Hotel Bristol, Newquay
With a menu full of finely cooked local produce and seasonal specials, Hotel Bristol is not just a great place to stay but one of the best places to eat in Newquay! You can discover more from our chefs, including sample menus, in our dining section, as well as this month's Cornwall Living.