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The Top 5 Cornish Foods (that aren’t pasties)

14th July 2020

As you probably know, Cornwall has an amazingly rich food culture that goes back hundreds of years. In recent times, Cornwall has seen a resurgence of recognition for its world-class cuisine, creating food tourism that the town hasn’t seen for decades.


Staying true to its heritage 


Cornish food evolved from being surrounded by sea, having poor soil and a wet climate. As a result, fish and seafood was an obvious staple, but few arable crops could be farmed. The Cornish farmers, therefore, turned to cows, making it a heaven for dairy products like ice cream, fudge, and clotted cream, but also the butter that’s needed for delicious crusts of pies and pasties. All traditional Cornish foods can be explained by their geography and history, which is why they are so iconic to Cornwall. Recently, as in many areas, Cornish eateries have struggled, but many traditional places have survived by switching it up and taking advantage of the recent upsurge in sales of a Just Eat gift card, as people have wanted to treat their friends with Cornish classics straight to their door – could there be anything better?


1.    Cream Tea


The cream tea is a Cornish classic, a fresh scone sliced in half, slathered in strawberry jam and clotted cream. This delicious dessert is undeniably Cornish, though many from Devon claim it originated there. People of all ages and palates love cream tea; Michelin Starred Cornish celebrity Chef Kevin Viner, known by some as ‘The Plogueman’, has made it a feature of his operation at The Falmouth Arms. 


2.    Stargazy Pie 


Stargazy pie is an iconic-looking dish and combines Cornish Pilchards, eggs, potatoes and a deliciously buttery pastry crust. The pilchard heads are left on and poke through the pie’s crust, gazing at the stars, earning the dish its name. The pie initially comes from one brave fisherman going out in a storm and saving the village from starvation with a haul of fish. These were baked in a huge pie for everybody in the village, and the heads stuck out to prove fish were inside. 


3.    Saffron Bun 


Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world by weight, and it likely made its way into this delicious current-filled bun due to ancient Phoenicians coming to the maritime town of Cornwall to trade spices for tin. Nowadays yellow food colouring is added instead as saffron is too expensive.


4.    Newlyn Crab 


Chefs like Rick Stein have made Cornwall famous for its crab nationwide, and the best of all Cornish crab is Newlyn crab. These set the standard by which delicious crabs are measured and can be made into delicious sandwiches or soups. Its white meat is delicately sweet, and its brown meat is deliciously rich. 


5.    Hevva Cake


The hevva cake is also known as a Cornish heavy cake, and its origins actually relate to the sea. When the pilchard industry was the lifeblood of Cornwall, a man called a Huer stood on a clifftop looking for shoals of pilchard from above. When he found them, he’d shout ‘Hevva’, meaning here they are before directing the fleet to the pilchards. When a shoal was caught, people would celebrate with mead and heavy, buttery cakes which became known as hevva cakes. 

Posted by Mark at 10:08am

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