It is no coincidence that many renowned chefs have based themselves in the South West. They know they can source the best local produce there, including fresh fish and locally reared meats which are the secret to any chef's reputation.
With its many small harbours, Cornwall's fishing industry still nets some delicious fresh fish and seafood. Once famous for its pilchards, the only place still catching these tasty fish is Newlyn, where freshly salted pilchards can be bought direct from the Pilchard Works, although you may occasionally see pilchards or other small whole fish in another Cornish speciality ‐ Stargazy pie.
Until you have eaten local crab in Cornwall, you cannot say you have tasted true fresh crab, which is even finer and sweeter than lobster meat. If you are staying near Polperro, walk out along the west side of the harbour to the local fish stall. Their dressed crab is freshly caught and the tastiest you will ever come across.
Fresh from the dairy
Cornwall's dairy produce is among the best and creamiest, thanks to the lush green pastures on which the cows graze. Fresh butter, handmade fudge, clotted cream and dairy ice cream made in Cornwall are exceptionally creamy. You can send clotted cream by post as a surprise treat to family and friends for as little as £4 and make them really envious of your holiday in Cornwall! You, of course, will be tucking into clotted cream thickly spread over plain scones with lashings of strawberry jam as part of a Cornish cream tea.
For local cheeses, look for Cornish Yarg, Old Smokey and creamy Cornish Brie for a tasty lunch. Cornish Yarg is wrapped in nettle leaves and left to mature, giving it a crumbly texture and a tangy taste.
For something more filling, Cornish Pasties, locally known as Oggies, can be found hot in any local shop, bakery or café in Cornwall. These tasty snacks are the staple lunch of most labourers and workmen in Cornwall. It is said that they were shaped like a half moon to slip into miners pockets! The warm flaky pastry is stuffed with minced steak, thinly sliced potato, onion and seasoned swede. The pastry edges are drawn up and crimped to hold in the tasty mixture as it cooks until brown. Don't even think of buying a pasty if it comes wrapped in cellophane – it is just not the same.
Any self-respecting Cornish bakery will have saffron buns. These currant buns are golden yellow due to the addition of saffron which adds a subtle flavour to these tasty treats, but how such an expensive spice came to be a staple in Cornish kitchens is a mystery.