Boscastle Food And Craft Festival

Boscastle Food Festival – Yearning to be Cornish:

This year was my third visit to the Boscastle Food and Craft Festival.  On reflection, over the last few years these festivals have been life markers for me.  For six years or more I unwittingly became tied to London.  I stopped travelling, let my passport expire and found every possible reason not to leave home.  My mother was very fragile and having encouraged her to move to London, I was reluctant to leave her.  When she died, after 8 months in hospital, I was, as I suspect most people would be, very numb.  Boscastle was the first time I left London after her death.  Beautiful places become special when your emotions are raw, they become the reason to carry on and the justification for life.  Chocolate for the soul perhaps, but it works.


Each year, some of Cornwall’s top chefs give their time free of charge to the festival.  Local producers turn up to show off their goods.  And, I return.  Of course I do know North Cornwall quite well and already did so before I first went to the Food Festival.  I used to sing at St Endellion, a vibrant music event with choirs, orchestra and soloists when I was in my 20s.  And, my friend has a holiday cottage there so I’ve visited regularly ever since.  But I’ve never lived there and I have no  heritage in the county and  no claim to being Cornish.  This year, London Unattached is over a year old.  My life has changed radically as a result of writing and, while for the moment I don’t know where I am going, I am quite enjoying the journey.

Some of my favourites were there again this year.  Port Isaac is home to a fish merchant called ‘Fresh from the Sea’ and we indulge in fabulous crab sandwiches for lunch each day of the festival

The Deli Charcuterie deserves to be better known – though, having a secret supplier for cured meats is not a bad thing at all

delabole charcuterie - boscastle festival

And, I always seem to manage to come home with clotted cream.  Usually from Cansford Farm.  This year they were selling rose veal too and I ate so many tasters of the rose veal sausages I felt obliged to buy some!  The butcher does look VERY stern doesn’t he!

cansford farm dairy products boscastle festival

rose veal at boscastle festival

And then there were the new boys.  I’ve never seen sea vegetables at the festival before – but somehow I managed to come away with three large bags to experiment with

sea vegetables at boscastle festival

And I indulged in a little venison too, I love most game and having enjoyed my venison steak last weekend, I can promise you that Cornish Game sell beautifully tender and well hung venison.

cornish game boscastle festival

It’s the chef demonstrations though that really make Boscastle festival special.  Understanding that entrance to the show is £3 and that the chef demonstrations are completely free perhaps doesn’t mean too much till you realise that Cornwall is home to a real showcase of excellence.  Over the two days you could see a whole range of chefs including Paul Harwood, Andy Appleton, the 2 michelin star chef Nathan Outlaw and the newest, and obviously delighted Paul Ainsworth.  This post is too short to cover what they were presenting  in detail and I want to try making some of Emily Scott’s simple but beautiful dishes which she made with the help of her daughter (obviously concentrating VERY hard at the moment I took this picture)

emily and daughter boscastle festival

But where else in the world could you spend £3 and get to see and taste the cooking of both Nathan and Paul in one afternoon?

four stars on stage;)

This is a festival of friends and one where there is no place for politics, snobbery or misplaced self importance.


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  1. Jill Farrimond says

    Lovely write up. I was there on the Sunday and had a fantastic time. It was good to see so many people watching the cooking demos. The organisers really put on an excellent show and as you mention the chefs are so generous with their time.

    • says

      I think I like it so much because it really does feel like a community festival – lots of local people getting involved and giving their time and sometimes produce for free in order to promote the area. And that’s fantastic:)

  2. says

    I knew Boscastle was special to you Fiona and now I understand a bit more why. Sadly I didn’t manage to make it to the Festival, which is a shame as it would have been good to meet up. I must make more of an effort to get it in my diary for next year. Despite being local (ish) I have neither met Nathen or Paul nor tasted either of their cooking – shocking admission!

    • says

      Boscastle is a great place to meet the chefs because the event is small enough for them to have time for you. And, yes, we need to meet up! I’m talking to my friend who owns the cottage where I stay about the possibility of taking a few blogging friends down there out of season next year (in return for posts about the cottage, which is lovely!)…then we could meet up with you and one or two of the other Cornish/devon bloggers?

  3. says

    What a fabulous post Fiona, and such amazing photos too…….as you know, I used to live in Boscastle, for 10 years , and having just visited Cornwall two weeks ago……and meeting Paul, as well as cooking alongside Jack Stein in Padstow, I am already feeling homesick! Lovely to visit Boscastle fest via your lovely post…….thanks! Next time, I will be there, we need to plan early! Karen

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