The (newly-named) Great Cornish Food Festival is days away, and we’re hell-bent on making it as spectacular as ever. There’s oodles of things to see, do, eat, drink and be inspired by this year, and we’ve rounded up our top picks of truly unmissable features.
Chef demonstrations in the Theatre
The Festival’s biggest draw, this year’s chef line-up is more fast-paced than ever. Some of the county’s most celebrated culinary figures will be rubbing shoulders with new kids on the block who are already making serious waves on the UK cheffing scene, all of whom want to show off just what they can do when they’re given free rein in the kitchen. Top picks include the ever-marvellous Nathan Outlaw at 11.30 on Friday morning; Porthminster Beach Café’s Mick Smith at 2.30pm on Friday afternoon, and Tolcarne Inn’s seafood chef extraordinaire Ben Tunnicliffe at 12pm on Saturday. Don’t miss new face Mark Apsey (of the Idle Rocks in St Mawes), a chef to watch in more ways than one, who’ll be gracing the stage on Sunday 28th.
The Great Cornish Crimp-Off (Friday 26th at 9.30am)
Never ones to take the Festival lying down, the team at BBC Radio Cornwall are rolling up their sleeves to get stuck in across the weekend on the Theatre stage, and worrying they were enjoying themselves just a bit too much, we thought we’d throw in a curveball for 2014. This year, under the watchful eye of Proper Cornish, we’re opening the festival with arguably the two most competitive BBC presenters – Breakfast’s James Churchfield and Lunchtime’s Laurence Reed – going head to head in a timed pasty-making challenge: rolling, filling and crimping their way to victory. There’s already a fair amount of banter going back and forth on Twitter, and we’re predicting things are going to get pretty heated. Only one can win, so what’ll it be – a pasty for Breakfast, or a pasty for lunchtime?
Sharp’s Brewery Happy Hour (4-5pm Friday 26th)
The creators of the UK’s favourite pint – the ever-satisfying Doom Bar – have their own dedicated bar at the Festival this year, and as a special treat, have a rather tasty-sounding Happy Hour on the cards to get your weekend on the right track. A handy way to sample the full Sharp’s range, festival-goers can buy any half pint and get a half pint of a different ale free between 4 and 5pm on Friday 26th, nibbling on bar snacks from the newly-opened Mariner’s pub in Rock as they go. You can also catch the splendid Paul Ripley cooking up a Mariner’s-themed storm at 4.30pm in the Theatre, accompanied by food-matched tasters from Sharp’s very own beer sommelier Ed Hughes. As if you needed a more fantastic excuse to knock off work early and get that Friday feeling well and truly started.
On the Deck
Do your culinary skills need sharpening up like a worn-out set of knives? Do you know more about folding laundry than you do about folding pastry? The Festival’s dedicated masterclass stage – known as The Deck – is a relaxed setting where you can kick back, eat your lunch and drink your pint whilst learning about (or as we in the industry call it, ‘sampling’) the wares of some of the county’s most talented producers and chefs. From demystifying mixology to starry-gazey pie construction, you’ll be clued up in no time.
Pop-up restaurants & Street food
The world went and got itself street food crazy recently, and the Great Cornish Food Festival is no exception. Keep an eye out for all kinds of edible goodies from crepes to hog roasts, quintessential afternoon teas to fresh fish wraps, dotted throughout the Croust Bar and Lemon Quay across the weekend. There’ll also be pop-up restaurants, including the Bullpit Smokehouse, who are the ones in the know when it comes to anything supersize, smoked and meaty.
Pace yourself, people – there’s a lot to eat through.
Butchery Masterclass and Meat Raffle (3.30pm on Sunday 28th)
A demo spectacle that really needs a whole pick to itself. Frank Linn, the head tutor at Brian Etherington’s Meat Co., is the go-to guy when it comes to anything from sausage-tying to speed-boning, and in this year’s Festival finale, he’ll be carving up cuts of meat with the skill and finesse of someone who knows his stuff to a T(bone). Accompanying him on stage is the lovely Thom Hunt, of 7th Rise and 3 Hungry Boys fame, who’ll be using his live-off-the-land knowhow to cook up something spectacular with the cuts that Frank produces. Stick around for the Meat Raffle, where for just £1 a ticket, you could win anything from a Sunday-roastable joint, to a place on one of Frank’s Butchery Academy courses. All proceeds go to the Festival’s chosen charity for this year – Cornwall Food Foundation.
The Great Cornish Food Book
Time has flown since last year’s festival, and we can’t believe The Great Cornish Food Book is a whole year old! Summing up everything that’s marvellous about our truly special food and drink scene, the Book is a beautiful collection of morsels, stories and recipes from top producers and chefs across the industry. Get absorbed, enthused, stirred-up and satiated as you leaf through 165 pages of food-loving indulgence – a perfect gift for anyone, near or far, who’s fallen head over heels for Cornwall.
The art of Pizza
The award-winning team behind the Cornish Pizza Company didn’t get where they are today without knowing a thing or two about how to make a damn fine pizza, and if you haven’t tried them before – where have you been?! Pulling up in their unmissably bright turquoise van (nicknamed ‘The Colonel’), they’ll have their innovatively-flavoured (and aptly-named) pizzas on sale across all three days on Lemon Quay. What’s more, they’re taking time out at various points across the weekend to show you how they make it – children can even create their own pizzas to take home for tea in the festival’s dedicated Discover Zone.
Kelly’s of Cornwall Ice Cream Competition
There’s never been a better time to be a kid at the Great Cornish Food Festival. As well as lots of other tasty activities for the young food fanatics in your life, there’ll be ice cream samples a-go-go from the team at Kelly’s of Cornwall for that essential festival sugar fix. Kelly’s are also running an exciting competition for children to win an annual family pass to Dairyland, and get a guided tour of the ice cream factory for them and their class. All they have to do is think of a fun new ice cream flavour, write it down and pop it in the hat.
As well as our beautiful new Great Cornish blue and white branding across the whole of the marquee this year, expect to see that more than matched as you wander through the Food Hall and Croust Bar on Festival weekend. With over 60 producers pulling out all the stops for their stand displays in a competition that could see them winning some serious prizes, the result will be a visually-stunning line-up of all things edible, drinkable, cookable, and everything in between. Judged by an independent panel of experts, the winner of our Best Stand competition will be announced on Friday afternoon.
Why not go along to see if you think the judges made the right call?
The Great Cornish Food Festival runs from the 26th to the 28th of September on Lemon Quay in Truro. Entry is completely FREE. For more information plus a downloadable timetable of events, head to www.greatcornishfood.co.uk/festival