Why Gourmets Should Go West EATING ENGLAND; No 4: CORNWALL

By Ellis, Hattie | The Independent (London, England), May 1, 1998 | Go to article overview
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Why Gourmets Should Go West EATING ENGLAND; No 4: CORNWALL


Ellis, Hattie, The Independent (London, England)


With dramatic seascapes, beautiful countryside, clotted cream, and the very best fresh fish, Cornwall has much to offer the hungry visitor

CORNWALL is a mixture of the rough and the lush: of sweet pastures on granite and market gardens near wild seas. Lovers of food and landscape should head to the furthest shores, the Lizard and Penwith in the far west.

Cornish fish is the best in the country for variety and quality and, in the spring, the footpaths and high-banked roads are lined with wild flowers and the heady smell of wild garlic. Penwith, with its magical shores and pagan grandeur, has a food festival until 18 May (01736 352000). THE BRIGHT light, twisting lanes and culture of St Ives are ever a draw for artists and visitors. The Tate (01736 796226) is a building that lets the light in and its all-white cafe on the top floor has a view of the surf beach. Barbara Hepworth's gallery has been left as it was when she died, with her sculptures in the garden, her work shirts hanging up and her cacti still flourishing in all their funky forms. Zennor is a charismatic village. The church has a celebrated mermaid bench-end and the excellent folk museum (01736 796945) is full of yarns about local characters, including the one-time inhabitant DH Lawrence. The cliff walks from here to St Ives and Gurnard's Head are tough but exhilarating, or you can walk up granite-strewn hills. The Lizard has spectacular cliff walks facing the Atlantic. THE OLD CHAPEL in Zennor (01736 798307) is a welcoming hostel full of flowers, paintings and changing coastal light. The cafe serves sinful chocolate cake and hearty soups. Its creator, Gabrielle Jackson, had a former life as a television producer when she put Gary Rhodes into those Disney chessboard trousers and spent three series with him searching out good food around Britain. Her utter passion for local produce means that her breakfasts have excellent bacon and sausages, and porridge topped with a golden pool of melting clotted cream. Cakes are made with free- range eggs from the hens next door. Also in Zennor is the Tinners Arms (01736 796927) with fires at both ends, blossom in the courtyard, wooden floors, and well-kept Sharp's beer, brewed in Wadebridge. Roskilly Ice-Cream (01326 280479), made from rich Jersey milk, is the best in the area and has about 30 outlets and a farmhouse cafe at the end of the Lizard. Just some of the recommended flavours are clotted cream vanilla, raspberry, a tangy lemon, Fudge Dread (using their own, delicious, clotted cream fudge), cardamom, orange mascarpone and gooseberry. GUINEVERE (01326 565911) is a real bargain. It has style and a genuine warmth yet serves three courses for just pounds 16 and a three-course Sunday lunch for pounds 7.95. The place is the much cherished baby of Carl and Rachel Grove who met on a cruise ship where he was a sommelier and she was a dancer. He became front-of- house at Pont de la Tour and Blakes, then they put down anchor at this small restaurant in Porthleven, a Victorian harbour where the sea booms against the granite walls.

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