THE FOODIE DIARY: DECEMBER
So here it is, the last Foodie Diary of 2015, and what a fabulous year of food we’ve enjoyed in Cornwall.
This month sees a host of special events, festive menus, food fayres and the Padstow Christmas Festival. And I haven’t mentioned turkey once.
Ho ho ho and Season’s Eatings to you all.
This year’s event takes place from Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 December and is free to attend.
With over 100 food, drink, arts and crafts stalls, and a plethora of local and celebrity chefs on the stage, this should be at the top of all foodies’ to do lists this month.
We’ve put together a separate blog about the event: Padstow Christmas Festival 2015: The Highlights.
For more details, including timetables and practical information about the event, visit padstowchristmasfestival.co.uk.
FIFTEEN CORNWALL WINTER FAYRE ****CANCELLED****
Just sneaking into the December diary, this Saturday 28 November sees Fifteen Cornwall’s Winter Fayre return to the Watergate Bay car park.
The event is free to attend, and the marquee will be open from 9.30am to 3.30pm. Demos kick off at 10.30am and over twenty producers will be exhibiting.
Hot drinks will be available from Origin and the Fifteen Cornwall apprentices will be serving warm food throughout the day. Additional street food will also be available to purchase from late morning.
Cornwall Food Foundation is hosting the Kids’ Zone, where activities and entertainment will be focussed on food education and skills.
Once again Barefoot HQ is acting as a collection point for Cornwall Christmas Box, the brilliant organisation which provides a “Christmas dinner in a box” to families in need. Last year the kind Cornish folk donated 202 boxes, which gave 202 families a Christmas feast they would otherwise have been unable to afford.
Each box needs to contain enough to feed a family of four to six for Christmas Day, plus extra treats such as mince pies and Christmas crackers. You can download a list of what to include here.
Full details can be found on their website cornwallchristmasbox.co.uk and if you are able to put a box together then please do so as all donations are very gratefully received.
There are collection points across the county; please drop off your box between 14 and 17 December.
We love this short film about Cornwall made for Le Monde newspaper. French journalist Anna Moreau visits a selection of popular North Cornwall spots, including Pencarrow House, Relish Food and Drink, Padstow and Fifteen Cornwall, and has a surf lesson with the Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay.
BETTER BREWING COURSE AT RELISH FOOD AND DRINK
Join Hugo Hercod, sometime UK Barista champion and self-confessed coffee geek, for a coffee-fuelled morning at Relish Food and Drink in Wadebridge.
The perfect Christmas present for a home brewing enthusiast, participants will learn all about coffee in a three hour hands on course, full details online.
Price includes breakfast – fresh croissants and pain au chocolate while you learn – and as much coffee as you probably want to drink in one morning, as well as a 250g bag of beans to take home and 10% discount on coffee equipment.
£60 per person, 9am to 12 noon, Sunday 24 January and Sunday 31 January.
FIFTEEN CORNWALL’S WINTER LUNCH MENU
Due to popular demand, Fifteen Cornwall has extended its seasonal three course £24 lunch offer into December. It will be available from Monday to Saturday until Friday 18 December, and features some of the very best Cornish and Italian produce available at this time of year such as quince, clementines, Jerusalem artichokes, flower sprouts and game.
All profits go back to the restaurant’s charity Cornwall Food Foundation who, together with the restaurant, run the Fifteen Cornwall Apprentice Programme.
The sample menu includes some mouthwatering dishes: mozzarella di bufala with squash and almonds; crispy fillet of salted hake with crushed herby potatoes, greens and aioli; risotto of pear, gorgonzola and walnuts; clementine tart and clotted cream; and a honey and thyme panna cotta with spiced plum and pine nut crumble.
For reservations book online or phone 01637 861000.
FESTIVE CELEBRATIONS AT ST TUDY INN
This month Emily Scott celebrates her first year at St Tudy Inn. In just twelve months she has established a loyal following at the gorgeous north Cornwall pub, where she serves her trademark beautiful food.
New Year’s Eve at the Inn should be a cracker. For £70 per person guests can enjoy a glass of fizz and canapés on arrival, followed by a five course menu. For reservations book online or phone 01208 850656.
CHRISTMAS AT THE PARK
Enjoy a pre-Christmas lunch at The Park Café in Mawgan Porth, available Friday to Monday lunchtimes until 21 December.
The menu looks great, with two courses for £14.95 and three courses for £17.95 (£10.95/£13.95 for children).
Don’t forget their other offers:
Buy one main and get one free when you reserve a table, quoting YUM, Friday to Sunday until 20 December.
Enjoy a swim in the indoor pool and a main course in the café for just £10 for adults and £5 for children, Friday to Sunday and daily in school holidays (not available 25, 26 and 31 December or 1 January). Booking essential.
For reservations phone 01637 860322 and for full details of offers, menus and accommodation visit The Park’s website.
FIFTEEN CORNWALL AT THE IDLE ROCKS
Fifteen Cornwall’s head chef Andy Appleton (above left) will join The Idle Rocks’ head chef Guy Owen (above right) to serve a fantastic five course tasting menu.
Fifteen at The Idle Rocks will take place at 7.15pm on Thursday 10 December 2015 and is priced at £75 per person with optional wine flight priced at £35 per person.
For more information or to make a reservation visit www.idlerocks.com.
THE SHIP INN – PUB OF THE YEAR
The Rising Sun in Truro won silver, and The Pandora Inn was awarded bronze.
In the “Restaurant of the Year” category, gold went to Trewithen Restaurant in Lostwithiel, The Dining Room in Rock won silver, and Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 won bronze.
WILD WINE CLUB, PART 3: AMONGST THE VINES AT TREVIBBAN MILL
Join Debbie and Adam for their next instalment of Wild Wine Club at 6.30pm on 11 December at Trevibban Mill vineyard near Padstow.
Vineyard owners Engin and Liz will take you on a candlelit tour of the vineyards, which will be followed by a flight of five of Trevibban’s beautiful organic wines chosen by sommelier Debbie.
As always, they’ll also provide you with a five-course feast to match and chef Adam will be including an array of ingredients from the land at Trevibban Mill on the menu.
Tickets are £45 each and include wine, food and a tour of the vineyard and winery. Book online, using the discount code “foodiefriends” to avoid paying the booking fee.
CAROLS AND COCKTAILS AT BINTWO
Padstow Christmas Festival wouldn’t be the same without binTwo‘s annual carol concert, which takes place at 7pm on Friday 4 December before the firework display.
The wine bar will also be serving mulled wine and boozy hot chocolates as well as Christmas wines and spirits during the event.
On Saturday 5 December binTwo is offering free tasters from Bordeaux winemaker Mark Hellyar, aka Chateau Civrac. Mark has cleverly teamed up with the festival’s top chefs to provide recipes to match his wines so make sure you pop in for a recipe card.
On 11 December binTwo is holding a cocktail night in partnership with South Western Distillery. Marc Ramage, Tarquin’s chief mixologist, will be mixing up classics plus a Cornish version of the French 75 (a blend of gin and Champagne).
Tickets cost £15 per person, which includes two cocktails, and numbers are limited to 20 so email [email protected] if you’d like to book a place.
NEWS FROM RICK STEIN
Here’s our monthly round up of special offers and events at Rick Stein’s restaurants across Cornwall. (And congratulations to the team on the opening of their new restaurant in Sandbanks in Dorset.)
St Petroc’s Bistro are serving up two course lunches for £15. The menu includes dishes such as chargrilled sardines and fillets of plaice, pork and herb terrine and lentil stew.
At 8pm every other Sunday, The Cornish Arms in St Merryn holds a pub quiz. Entry is £2 per person and the proceeds go to Padstow RNLI. The next events will be held on 13 and 27 December.
CLOUD NINE MARSHMALLOWS
We love Cloud Nine Marshmallows – and look at these beautiful star-shaped double raspberry marshmallows. This product won two gold stars in the 2015 Great Taste Awards, which means it’s pretty special. A perfect Christmas present.
Now’s the time to book your cookery courses for next year – another great Christmas present for keen home cooks – and Philleigh Way Cookery School is offering a 20% discount on all purchases before Christmas using the code FATGOOSE.
Gift vouchers can be redeemed against all day courses. We like the sound of the new Argentinian BBQ course which combines fire, meat and beer, and other new courses are planned including Spanish tapas, desserts and cheesemaking.
The final supper club of the year will take place on Friday 11 December, and the six course taster menu costs £40 per person. For more information visit their website.
CAMEL VALLEY LUNCH AT THE SCARLET
Don’t miss The Scarlet’s three course lunch, very good value at £25 per person for three courses, including a glass of Camel Valley fizz, until 22 December.
Booking essential – phone 01637 861800 or book online.
NEWS FROM LUSTY GLAZE
Every Thursday you can enjoy steak (rump or tuna) with all the trimmings and a bottle of wine for £30 for two people. Served from 12pm. Also on Thursdays, all winter cocktails are £5 each from 5-7pm.
The next Secret Supper Club will take place at 6.30pm on 10 December. The seven course tasting menu is priced at £45 per person.
For reservations phone 01637 872444 or book online.
PADSTOW KITCHEN GARDEN
Here’s another idea for a Christmas pressie, a voucher for a course on how to create your own kitchen garden with Ross Geach of Padstow Kitchen Garden.
The course costs £65 and includes lunch. See the website for full details.
I’d also like to share with you the delightful veg boxes Ross is now producing (pictured above). Priced at £15, each box contains enough for a family of four for a week. Last week mine contained red cabbage, Savoy cabbage, romanesco, heritage carrots, potatoes, fennel, sweet peppers, padron peppers, celeriac, kale, flower sprouts, courgettes and winter salad leaves. Everything was delicious
Phone Ross on 07974 697191 or send an email to order your box for collection the following day.
SWIM AND DINE AT ZACRY’S
This is a lovely idea for a winter evening from Watergate Bay Hotel. If you book a table at their restaurant Zacry’s (from 8pm) you can spend some time in Swim Club beforehand. Work up an appetite swimming lengths of the 25m indoor pool, brave the cold night air as you make a dash for the outdoor hot tub, or relax with a G&T in the gorgeous Ocean Room.
Full details can be found on their website. Swim and Dine is priced at £36.50 per person for use of Swim Club and three courses in Zacry’s.
Check out our review of Zacry’s from earlier this year.
WINE LIST OF THE YEAR: THE OLD COASTGUARD, MOUSEHOLE
Congratulations to The Old Coastguard in Mousehole, which has been named as the overall national winner in the annual 2015 Imbibe Wine List of the Year awards. This is the first time that a pub or hotel has won the overall award for the best wine list in the country.
If you’re visiting Mousehole to see the Christmas lights, then why not book a table and try it out for yourself?
If you eat at The Old Coastguard, or their sister pub The Gurnard’s Head, in late December you’ll receive a “Lunch for a Fiver” voucher for January.
Shelterbox is running a campaign to bring light to families in their hour of darkness. You are invited to hold your own party, or get your local community together, for a Shine for Shelterbox event.
Sign up online and Shelterbox will send you a kit packed with sparkles, invitations, table settings, lanterns and a collection box.
Nancarrow will be holding a candlelit feast night (sorry – sold out) in aid of Shine for Shelterbox on Saturday 5 December.
BREW AT CORNISH FOOD BOX
Drop in for a great coffee, and they’re also serving pasties, cakes, brownies, soup and sandwiches.
The Dustow family, which produces Aval Dor vodka made from potatoes grown on their farm near Fowey, has launched a new gin.
Stafford’s Gin is based on their Cornish vodka spirit, and infused with a blend of botanicals from the farm (rosemary, lemon balm and bay) and further afield.
The gin will be available in shops from 1 December. For stockists and more information visit www.aval-dor.co.uk.
Look out for the new Revolver Rum, available from Ellis Wharton Wines, an innovative new Cornish designed rum made using molasses, distilled in the Caribbean and blended with Cornish spring water.
This year you can book your Christmas party at Sam’s restaurants in Truro, Fowey and Polkerris. For menus and contact phone numbers please visit their website.
Truro café Grounded has come back into its founder Chris Gordon’s hands, and the doors are set to reopen on 28 November. Chris has teamed up with Joshua Metcalfe (previously Hubbox) to bring back Grounded’s classics and a few extra surprises.
Potluck Cornwall’s December events are a Sunday roast on 6 December and a Christmas party on 19 December. Full details can be found on their website.
Congratulations to the Cornish-based winners (Falfish, based in Redruth and Crantock Bakery) in the recent Quality Food & Drink Awards.
Love coffee? Try this new coffee subscription from Penryn’s Olfactory. They have a shiny new website too.
A Christmas wine tasting will be held from 7 to 9.30pm at St Ives Guildhall on Thursday 3 December. There will be over 100 wines and spirits from around the world to taste, plus food from The Hidden Kitchen and The Allotment Deli. Tickets £10 per person, phone 01736 851101 to reserve your ticket.
On Wednesday 2 December there is a Davidstow cheese and beer evening at The Mariners in Rock. Tickets £25 per person including four courses with matched beers. Phone 01208 863679 for more information or to book.
Rosewarne Manor is holding a James Bond themed murder mystery evening on 20 December, £30 per person includes a meal. Phone 01209 610414 to book.
Trevarno has launched a new all-natural liquid soap Chef’s Hand Wash, designed to deeply cleanse and eliminate food odours, with extra nourishment for those who have to wash their hands repeatedly during the day. £15 for 250ml, available online.
If you fancy a spot of late night shopping, visit Hawksfield between 6 and 9pm on 17 December. All the shops and Strong Adolfo’s will be open. Full details can be found on their website.
The Hidden Hut is cooking mid-week curries to take away from Tatam’s in Portscatho. Available from 5 to 10pm every Tuesday.
Congratulations to Jamie Porter on his appointment as sous chef at The Seafood Restaurant, and to David Williams who is the St Moritz hotel’s new head chef.
Truro’s Winter Wonderland on 23 December promises snow on Boscawen Street. Fantastic!
Scarlet Wines & The Vineyard Table is hosting a Christmas shopping event on Saturday 12 December.
Flambards first ever Christmas Fair takes place on 5 and 6 December.
Don’t miss the Mousehole Christmas lights, which are being switched on on 12 December. Eating fish and chips and carol singing on the harbour make for a great evening.
The Outlaw Christmas Market runs from 10 to 12 December in Falmouth. Full details on Facebook.
The Cornish Street Food Collective’s Christmas Street Food Fayre takes place on 5 December from 10am to 6.30pm on Falmouth Moor.
Congratulations to The Old School Bar & Kitchen in Mount Hawke, who have been included in the Top 50 UK Gastro Pub listing for 2016, for the second year running.
Knightor Winery is holding a New Year’s Eve warmup, with a tour of the vineyard, wine tasting and meal. Starting at 4pm, £25 per person, phone 01726 851101 to book.
Rafferty’s in St Merryn are holding a wine and tapas tasting evening on Wednesday 9 December. Phone 01841 521561.
Fiona Were is cooking a Christmas charity supper at Espressini on 11 December. £39 per person including drinks, tickets available in advance from Espressini.