July heralds a heatwave, and just as seemingly half the nation (if my friends are anything to go by) recovers from Glastonbury, a new feast of excitement awaits.
For the last month, I have been collecting news from friends and foodies around the country, and there’s a whole lot of it again. After the last week, which has been a behemoth of a feast, including the opening of local Cornish food festival Mevagissey Fest Week, July is set to be even bigger, even better and packed to the rafters with lashings of lip smackin’ listings to stave off the hunger. Get ready for a hell of a ride as we round up food news Cornwall and Devon.
Starting with Cornwall, the Devon delights follow further down.
Mevagissey Feast Week
Having kicked off on Sunday with the fish festival, Feast Week in the small fishing village of Mevagissey continues until its grand finale at the carnival on Saturday 4th July. The fish festival was a celebration of the thriving fishing port that Mevagissey is today and involved all school children carrying fish made from recycled materials in a parade through the winding cobbled streets. The carnival is Brazilian style with more dancing and celebrating of the mighty fish. Free entry and larks guaranteed.
Independence Firebrand style
To kick off the Independence Day celebrations, Launceston’s Firebrand Bar are having a rootin’ tootin’ party where you can get a lip smackin’ Texas burger made with local beef, fiery beef chilli and cheese. Woo hoo. Fine beers and country music guarantee a thigh slappin’ time at Launceston’s very own yee hah! Entry is free.
Cornish countryside, a huge heat wave and dancing to help make a little girl’s wish come true. Wish Fest has been set up by the amazing Carly Killingbeck, whose love and energy for her niece Abi has driven charity auctions, cream tea days, and countless other fundraisers. Abi was born with cerebral palsy and Wish Fest aims to help raise funds for a life changing operation that will allow her to walk independently. Nineties dance fiends will be grinning from ear to ear to hear that ‘Let me be your fantasy‘ anthem band Baby D will be heading up the line up of house, reggae and ska, at this family event. At just £15 for a day pass, and £60 for a whole family weekend pass, good times are guaranteed in Trewinnick. Buy Wish Fest Tickets for this weekend 3rd, 4th and 5th July.
Sea, salts & ale
I recently hotfooted down to The Old Coastguard to enjoy the incredible menu, using locally foraged ingredients and showcasing some of Cornwall’s local ales. Having met EAT DRINK SLEEP’s Charles Inkin on my forage and feast at sister pub The Gurnard’s Head, I was pleased to hear such support for local ales. From our own Rebel Brewing Company and Perranporth’s Black Flag, as well as some of the better known Cornish brewers like Skinners, real ales are as much part of the menu as the seasonal produce the chefs get creative with.
Set in Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel) this is a celebration of all things Cornish, from the ales to the music, and takes place on the stunning lawns of The Old Coastguard. Against a palate of blues of the wild Atlantic and the rocky inlet of St. Clement’s Isle, the views from the garden will likely transport you to a Mediterranean island in the coming searing heat of July. Free entry.
Wild food walking
Starting at The Old Coastguard there will be a wild food walk similar to the one I did from the Gurnard’s Head. It involves a circular walk around Mousehole and ends with food cooked by Caroline ‘Fat Hen Forager’ Davey in her own cookery school. Based on the experience of Forage and Feast at the Gurnard’s, this will be a fun way to get to know more about food growing all around us. I’m still living on black mustard since the last one! This one is on the 18th July and costs £40 per head to learn about the hedgerow foods and then eat some. Tickets from www.oldcoastguardhotel.co.uk
Tropical Pressure turns Cornwall Caribbean
And we’re not even just talking heat wave, though I know the music alone at Mount Pleasant Eco Park‘s epic weekender will be enough to have us reaching for the rum punch, if previous years are anything to go by. 100% veggie, the world food arena will be celebrating food from Caribbean to Indian and with heaps of delicious treats.
Celebrating rhythms from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the festival is a family favourite and has weekend camping within the gorgeous setting of the Eco park.
St. Best Caribbean caterers have an exciting menu full of LUSH veggies including chick pea and sweet potato stew, sautéed calaloo and delicious plantain.
£70 for a mini trip across the world is a bargain! Some weekend tickets are still available at tropicalpressure.co.uk/buy-tickets
Enys Food Jam
With some incredible street food vendors, music and cookery demonstrations, the beautiful Enys Gardens in Penryn will be hosting the Enys Food Jam. Cornish Seaweed Co will be there selling seaweed, and Naoko who I made sushi with earlier in the year will be holding cooking demonstrations. Ales from Penryn’s Rebel Brewing Co will be available, and talks regarding food, local sourcing and sustainability make this a top little local event.
Pea Souk vegetarian cafe will be providing some incredible veggie eats, and anyone coming should not miss trying the thinnest bases and amazing topping combos from Slice Pizza. We met lovely Nick a few weeks ago who told us he’d started off with one van, and has quickly escalated to having a fleet, who pop up all around Cornwall.
Philleigh Way’s woodfire and Rebel
On the Roseland peninsula, nestled into the Fal estuary sits Philleigh Way cookery school. Here, a series of outdoor dining experiences bring Argentinian social eating to guests. Inspired by traditional cooking methods and communal eating, the brothers at Philleigh Way created a hand-crafted brick oven – believed to be the largest in Cornwall – and Argentinian parrilla on which to cook locally sourced meat fish or shellfish. Wood is sourced from Philleigh Way’s ancient oak woodland.
They also sell Rebel Brewing Company craft ales, forged from the fires of Penryn brewers’ furnaces. More details at www.philleighway.co.uk
Enter Summer at The Old Ale House
Since the River Cottage team up last year, proper old pub The Old Ale House in Truro has been providing a range of boozy inspired food such as a cider fondue. To mark the summer, they are having their first ever food festival on the weekend of the 17th to the 19th July. With hip-swivelling beats and seasonal eats, this is set to be a summer party. Seasonal food specials for summer include summer vegetable broth, seasonal panzanella salad, a 100% mackerel burger and summer leaves and berries to accompany dishes. Free entry.
Port Eliot feasting
I love Port Eliot so much I wrote a whole post about it, and am very excited to be enjoying cook ups from some of my favourite chefs, whilst bumping into literary heroes, listening to new music and enjoying the festival that characterises Cornwall. As July ushers August in, I’ll be shooting from the hip in St. German’s and trying the finger lickin’ delights Inkie’s gals will have cooking up and washing it all down with a Yallah coffee. Also getting very excited about Mark Hix‘s fish dogs.
Speaking of festivals, Devon’s not missing out on the fun… Starting off with a trip to Wonderland, July is set to be a corker in the South West.
Glazebrook celebrates Wonderland
A few months ago, the ‘tache and I spent a lovely night at Devon’s Glazebrook House Hotel, and got lost in its Wonderland. Whilst we were visiting, owner Pieter Hamann told us about his Epicurean food nights, showcasing a different world food every month. This month it happens to be the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s seminal novel, whose characters live on through Glazebrook’s luxury décor. On the 4th of July, Glazebrook are hosting a charity event to raise money for Devon Air Ambulance Trust.
Alice inspired ‘drink me’ cocktails and ‘eat me’ canapés will be served as soloist musician, Suzie Mac, performs a range of country and folk songs. After this, guests will take their seats in the Glazebrook’s unique restaurant for a six course ‘Wonderland’ tasting menu. There is no doubt that chef will make this full of surprises, as things are not as they seem. The event will conclude with a fundraising auction hosted by BBC presenter David Fitzgerald, who we met at Le Vignoble.
Tickets for the Alice in Wonderland Fundraising Event cost £85 per person and are selling fast, so book immediately by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Somersaulting summer sound
In the spirit of great festivals, Devon’s Somersault is in its second year, and has an excellent line up with Jimmy Cliff and Laura Marling soundtracking the mossy mashup,in the grounds of Castle Hill. Like a Devonian Port Eliot, but with super feasts from various chefs, this is a festival that nourishes the soul as well as the ears and body. More information at http://somersaultfestival.com/
And there’s more…
Bovey Castle Refurbishment
Eden Hotels have acquired this gem of a hotel, nestled in the stunning National Park of Dartmoor. Having given the hotel a makeover, it has flung open its art deco doors and welcomed a refurbished spa, and features a bistro with an open fire in the centre. Just what autumn days were made for.
National Restaurant Awards recognised Westcountry
4 of Cornwall’s restaurants and three of their chefs were recognised in the National Restaurant Awards. My favourite chef Nathan Outlaw received the Chef’s Chef award for gathering respect from fellow professionals without seeking the limelight, whilst Rick Stein picked up a lifetime achievement award. The full list can be viewed here.
Cannonball Chefs were on fire
The annual Cannonball Chefs UK Tour last week made it a crazy week for The Waymarker who also celebrated National Cream Tea Day the day after. Culinary excellence across the UK is celebrated at source in 100 restaurants, as chefs hit a 48 hour tour of cooking and eating each others’ meals.
The Hidden Kitchen extends crowdfund
The Hidden Kitchen & Dining St Ives will be an exclusive private dining experience located right in the heart of St Ives. The aim is to create a multi-purpose venue that feels intimate, homely & rich, celebrating seasonal produce. They have a crowdfund to help raise the funds for refurbishment. Paying upfront for a meal you’re later to receive sounds like a plan to me. Help them reach their target at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hiddenkitchenstives/
St Austell prepares for Bystro
Bystro (быстро) is Russian for quick, and the first restaurant endeavour from Ben ‘Delicate Trade’ Stevens will serve fresh food fast. The restaurant is housed in the old bank in St Austell, and is set to open this month.
There is almost too much to fit in, but some of the highlights are definitely Kneehigh’s collaboration with Michael Morpurgo, Caerhays Cinema on the Beach, and the Jungle Book outside Pentillie Castle.