Celebration of a popular foodie destination
Cornwall’s glorious landscape and produce feature in a new book. Su Carroll peeks inside.
I've enjoyed a mouthwatering appetiser – a sneaky look at what is a beautiful new book bringing together Cornwall's landscape, producers, food and chefs.
The Great Cornish Food Book is a celebration of all the work that has gone into making Cornwall a popular foodie destination.
Yes there are recipes from top chefs such as Rick Stein and Nathan Outlaw (who also wrote the foreword) but it is also a tale of the people who grow, rear and catch the food, useful hints and tips and wonderful pictures.
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In February, it was just an idea, says Ruth Huxley, founder and director of Cornwall Food and Drink. It was seen as a great tool for the Choose Cornish campaign and, in keeping with that ethic, all the writers, photographers and designers are based in Cornwall and the book was also printed here.
Ruth says she was determined that it shouldn't be just another cookbook. "It was a story that needed to be told in this way. Sometimes things can be hyped up, but that isn't the case in Cornwall. We had something worth shouting about.
"I spent several days in France this summer and we didn't have one good meal. That's not the case here. True, we know the places to go here but the local scene is so much better. France hasn't moved on in the last 20 years.
"What we've got far more is the integrity in the supply chain. It gives the customer reassurance and that's what builds the reputation. But it's not a time for complacency."
Ruth arrived in Cornwall 13 years ago and didn't know where to find good food or enjoy a good meal. She thought the whole food experience needed "tying together" and set up her own business – Cornwall Food and Drink. She's certainly made a key contribution to Cornwall becoming a foodie destination.
"One in five people who come to a food festival come from outside the county," she says. They may have come for the day, or the weekend or planned their holidays around it. And she has nothing but praise for the chefs who helped put Cornwall on the food map, particularly Nathan Outlaw who, in his foreword to the book, talks about Cornwall as "a magical place" where its unique micro-climate creates great produce. He says he feels "blessed" to be a chef in Cornwall.
Ruth says she's delighted with the book, and that it was very important that she should give something back in terms of donations to Fishermen's Mission and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution from the proceeds.