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Sunday, 1 November 2009

Cornish Weekend

Well, I have just got back from a tough but great weekend in Cornwall. Myself and my friend Felix walked part of the South West Coastal Path.
I am very grateful to Felix - who is one of my former Scouts.
He invited me down to his family's Cornish home in 2005 - and I fell madly in love with the place.
There is a lovely story about my introduction to Cornish Pasties, but I'll tell that story some other time.
For the moment, I want to talk about food in the area. Cornwall is one of the UK's best places for totally fresh, local food. Trouble is, because of where it is, it doesn't get up here much. One good thing about this is that when you go down there, you get great stuff in the shops.
The place we stay at is just outside Rock, a part of North Cornwall so posh it's been dubbed England's St Tropez'.
All knowledgeable foodies know that Rock Road's food shops are excellent. There cannot be many 'villages' that can support a fishmonger, a butcher and a bakers.

One shop that often gets overlooked by writers is the Spar, run by the redoubtable Malcolm. At first glance, its just like any other 'convenience store'.

But there is no ordinary corner shop. Look closely and you will see a huge amount of local produce.

Get there in the morning and you'll see farmers pulling up in their Land Rovers and get out still wearing muddy wellies with a box full of veg they've picked that morning. One local farmer John, produces red onions to die for. Supermarket Red Onions are insipid beasts - not Farmer John's. I made a cheese and onion roll using them a couple of years back and I couldn't finish it, because the onions were taking the roof of my mouth off!

Anyways, this weekend, I get up on both mornings and bimble down there - its an hour's round trip on foot - to get stuff for breakfast.

I buy Cheese, Eggs, Mushrooms and Jam all produced on farms within an hour of the place. Next I nip next door to Malcolm Barnecutt's for a loaf baked on the premises. Even the milk was local. And what a breakfast we had too. Scrambled Eggs with Mushrooms on Toast followed by some Boddingtons Strawberry Conserve (made with 80% fruit). Fantastic! Just the start we needed for our local walk.

We did use the local supermarket a couple of times over the weekend, but whenever I go down there, I try my best to buy from local produce from local shops, not least of all because its fantastic quality.