Guide to Cornish food and drink

Food and Drink

Posted by Ed Roberts on 5th May 2021

Guide to Cornish food and drink

Cornwall is better known for its food and drink than you may have realised. From the world-famous Cornish pasty to curios like seaweed fudge, we lift the lid on the lunchbox to give you the lowdown on what to keep an eye out for come mealtime, plus where to find it. We think it’s all part of the fun of going on your holidays, the discovery of new places to eat and drink; Cornwall has more regional twists than any other counties.  

If you want to find out more about the delicious main courses, cakes, cheeses, beers, ciders, and more that originate from Cornwall, then read on to discover some local delicacies that make eating in Cornwall an experience to remember.

Why not stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages? Putting you in the thick of things, you can enjoy your encounters with Cornish cuisine every day!

Cottages in Cornwall

Cornish food and drink guide

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Cornish food

The Cornish pasty

The Cornish pasty

Let’s start with Cornwall’s most famous edible export. This ‘D’ shaped culinary wonder, with its distinctive, crimped arc along one side, traditionally contains minced beef, chopped onions, gravy, and potatoes, but these days, you could literally find any filling inside. You’ll find zero difficulties in locating a good, authentic pasty to eat in Cornwall; they are everywhere. So, where can you find a true exemplar to stand out from all the dreck?

The best pasties in Cornwall

Sarah’s Pasties, Looe 

We have it on very good authority that the pasties are so good at Sarah’s in Looe that you could eat two in a single day! Sit on the dock and enjoy views of the boats on the estuary. It’s a beautiful spot in one of South Cornwall’s lovely seaside villages.

Stay nearby: May Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests + 1 dog 


Cornish cream tea

Cornish cream tea

There’s a long-running jovial disagreement between Cornwall and its county neighbour, Devon, regarding the best way to apply clotted cream and jam to your scone. Those from Cornwall extoll the ‘jam first’ method, whereas Devonians prefer the opposite way. So, who’s right and who’s wrong? We’d suggest trying it both ways to see whether you are with Team Cornwall or Team Devon. Accompany your scone with some Cornish tea to complete the picture. 

If you're wondering how else the two neighbouring counties of Cornwall and Devon differ, take a look at our Devon holidays vs Cornwall holidays blog - there's a lot more to it than cream and jam!

The best cream tea in Cornwall

Woods Café 

The Woods Café in Cardinham Woods near Bodmin is the place to go if you are very passionate about enjoying an authentic Cornish cream tea. Famously fresh, oven-baked scones and a pot of Cornish Tregothnan Tea will certainly satisfy and tick a box for you. The woods are gorgeous all year round making it a bewitching spot to indulge in a cream tea, Cornish style.

Stay nearby: Tremill | Sleeps: 2 guests


Cornish fairings

Cornish fairings

Cornish fairings are less common in the public lexicon and, in our opinion, they are in overdue need of a popularity boost. So, we’ll do our bit for Cornish fairings awareness today by sharing with the uninitiated what these delicious items are. In essence, they are ginger cookies, and they are amazing! You can buy Cornish fairings at most shops across the Duchy, so keep an eye out for Furniss’ fairings. Baked and packaged in Bodmin, they are the real thing. You can also find them in bakeries.

The best fairings in Cornwall

The St Agnes Bakery

This quaint bakery tucked away into a corner of Churchtown in St Agnes is our pick for finding a super fairing. In fact, everything for sale at this bakery is a gift, from the bread and saffron buns, to the rows of cakes and savoury treats. After you’ve picked up a spot of light lunch, clamber down Stippy Stappy and on to Trevaunance Cove to see how good the Atlantic Ocean is looking.

Stay nearby: Tuckaway Thatch | Sleeps: 4 guests + 2 dogs 


Seaweed

Seaweed

Seaweed is something of a Cornish delicacy, which is unsurprising considering the whole county is encircled on three sides by its rugged coastline. Seaweed can be enjoyed as a snack or as a seasoning for your meals. There are so many varieties of edible seaweed to discover either as a side, a main course or as a condiment.

The best seaweed in Cornwall

The Cornish Seaweed Company in Constantine near Falmouth are masters at finding ways to spice up your mealtimes with seaweed. Try organic dulse, kelp, or as a sea salad, the combinations are endless and distinctly Cornish. You can pick up their products at delicatessens and local supermarkets across the county.

Stay nearby: Pentarow Barn | Sleeps: 2 guests


Cornish Yarg (cheese)

Cornish Yarg (cheese)

Cornwall’s most successful and best-known cheese is Cornish Yarg. It’s a semi-hard cheese that is wrapped in nettle leaves to form its distinct rind. It’s soft inside the ring and hard yet crumbly closer to its centre. It can also be fried and appears as a starter at some restaurants. The cheese is made at Lynher Dairies in Ponsanooth, near Truro, and is based on a 1600s recipe founded by a pair of local cheesemakers called the Grays in the 1980s. Yarg is gray spelt backwards!

The best place to buy Cornish Yarg

Where better to buy Cornish Yarg than at the source? Seek out their dairy shop in Ponsanooth where you can not only buy Cornish Yarg, but other Cornish cheeses like Kern and Stithians. You can buy Yarg all around the world, but Lynher Dairies is from where it originates.

Stay nearby: Little Roseveth Rose Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests + 3 dogs


Cornish drinks

Cornish ciders

Cornish ciders

Cornish cider or cyder is associated with the West Country for a reason: it’s the best. It’s easy to find Cornish cider in the shops and at any one of the county’s amazing pubs. In fact, it would be very difficult to find a pub west of the Tamar that doesn't carry a lifetime supply of apple cider unless there was a sudden (yet unlikely) cider drought. Here are a few to look out for.

Selected Cornish ciders

Cornish Rattler

Cornish Rattler is a popular cider made by Healeys, and it distinguishes itself in pubs with its gigantic pump: a bright green snake in sunglasses! 

Cornish Orchards range

Cornish Orchards is a cider and soft-drink maker based in Duloe, near Looe. Flavoured ciders are the way to go, with hedgerow, blush, and pear to name a few.


Cornish ales

Cornish ales

Cornwall will never go short of ale. There are numerous breweries the length and breadth of the Duchy, each of them making an army of different beers to try; some of the beers are available beyond county lines and are available in your local supermarket aisle or at your favourite pub.

Selected breweries to visit in Cornwall

Skinner’s Brewery, Truro

Skinner’s Brewery is home to Betty Stoggs Ale, Cornish Knocker, Lushington’s Sunshine Pale Ale, Hops ‘N’ Honey, Penny Come Quick, and about a dozen others. You can visit the brewery and buy their ales by the caseload at their on-site shop by the river in Truro.

Driftwood Spars Brewery, St Agnes

Concocted just a few metres away from the swell of the Atlantic Ocean at Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes, this smaller Cornish brewery is fantastic and is well worth a visit if you find yourself in the area. If you stay long enough, you may even have a brew named after you, it’s that type of place (you can brew your own!). Revolving around the Driftwood Spars pub, you can enjoy curious ales like Bolster Blood, Stippy Stappy, Blue Hills, Spars, Lou’s Brew and others. 


Cornish tea and coffee

Cornish tea and coffee

The Cornish Tea Company 

Tea: Who doesn’t love a cup of tea or coffee in the morning or after a long day of touring? Well, Cornwall has its own brands of tea and coffee brewed and blended in the county. The flagship flavour at The Cornish Tea Company is known as Smugglers Brew, so look out for the bright orange boxes. And the range is bolstered by fusion bags / loose leaf boxes such as red berry, green tea, and vanilla chai (for starters).

Coffee: There are five blends of Cornish coffee: Original Blend, Columbian, Italian, Stupidly Strong, and Decaffeinated. So, whether you love coffee or tea, it looks like Cornwall has you covered. You can purchase all of these items from supermarkets and delis across the county.

More Cornwall places to eat and drink

There are so many great pubs, cafes and restaurants in Cornwall for you to discover. Read our guide to some of the best places to eat out in Cornwall to feel inspired.


Cornish food and drink map

Find out where you can buy all the Cornish food and drink in this guide with this handy map.


Stay at a self-catering holiday cottage in Cornwall

Looking for somewhere special to stay on your trip to Cornwall? Then why not have a look at our gorgeous selection of cottages in the Duchy? Begin by browsing our wonderful collection of getaways throughout Cornwall to find your ideal holiday retreat.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.