Cooking outdoors is a practice truly suited to Cornwall and it feels like the most natural thing in the world to be whipping up even the most basic of offerings in this environment. Surrounded by the freshest seafood, crops and livestock, Cornish residents and visitors have the best of all three at their fingertips. We’ve taken some time to find the best local suppliers to ensure a truly Cornish experience, one you can enjoy with loved ones and friends. Let’s face it, life doesn’t get much better than cooking to the sound of the waves rolling in, the spellbinding sight of a golden, fiery sun setting and the smoky smell of a crackling fire.
With supermarkets stocked with German beef burgers and sausages from Northumberland, where do you start if you want to experience true Cornish cuisine? Here’s our helpful guide to dazzle your taste buds and expand your mind of what Cornwall has to offer.
For your meat, Falmouth butchers Myatts can satisfy all of your BBQ requirements, or Baileys Country Store stock an impressive selection of local free-range meats. The Cornish Food Box Company is known as the ‘Cornish’ supermarket, they work with more than 150 local farmers and producers so you can be guaranteed your food has truly been raised or grown locally and is of the highest quality. Their convenient BBQ Boxes (which can be delivered to your door if required) make outdoor dining easy and hassle free and are filled with the best of Cornish meat, salads and sauces. Now, where are those matches…
When in Cornwall, it would be a crime to not consider fish or seafood as part of your outdoor feast! Fish and smoke go together fantastically well and smoking your own fish is not as complicated as you might think. Procure a whole trout or side of salmon and some oak chips and cook like the caveman you always knew you were. If you’re feeling fancy, slice a whole fish open and stuff with lemon, dill and pepper.
If you want tasty, seasonal fish during the summer months, mackerel is abundant around the Falmouth coastline, sometimes literally jumping out of the water! This is one of the best and most popular Cornish seafood choices – sustainable, delicious, easy to cook and very good for you. Stocks are healthy and well monitored and catching mackerel is unbelievably easy. Children will enjoy hauling them from the sea with hand lines.We recommend Falmouth Fishing Trips from Custom House Quay for all the family or hire a Kayak from Falmouth Surf School on Maenporth beach for a more solitary experience. For other varieties of fish, check out our local friends Seaborne Fish., they have a shop in Penryn or will happily deliver to you. Their range of locally caught seafood is awesome – from seabass to scallops, you’ll find something just right to sizzle on the barbie.
It is common knowledge that barbecues are great for meat eaters, but charcoal or fire does wondrous things to vegetables too, if you get the technique right. What you want is that lovely charring along the bars – it looks amazing, and tastes even better. This summer we’ve discovered the joys of large flat mushrooms with a dash of balsamic and charred sweet long red peppers amazing. All your Cornish vegetables for salads and dips can be sourced from The Natural Store, Falmouth, who deliver too. Or it’s quite likely to see local growers selling their produce outside their houses within the village of Mawnan Smith, you can’t get more local than that!
Hot sauce goes well with meats and salads so take a look at Volcano sauces who sell their incredibly zingy homemade sauces from Avenue road. If you’re not keen on spicy food Halzephron Herb Farm chutneys and pickles are superb and made on a weekly basis so they’ll change depending on what’s in season.
Many people enjoy a cold lager with a barbie. Popping open a frosty can to go with your grilled goods seems like a no-brainer, but which beer or cider to choose? Healeys Cyder Farm is Cornwall’s longest standing cider producer. Their famous Rattler is available in pubs and restaurants throughout the country, and has recently expanded nationally in the supermarkets. Award-winning Skinners Brewery is hands down the best producer of bottled beer in Cornwall. With their quirky names such as ‘Penny Come Quick’, ‘Cornish Knocker’ and Cornish folklore star ‘Betty Stoggs’ you’ll find a mouth-watering ale to complement your food.
When pairing wine with barbeques, you can’t really go wrong with a crisp, crowd-pleasing Sauvignon, or for some fizz, a sparkling Camel Valley Pinot Noir Brut or a non-alcoholic Cornish Elderflower presse by Polgoon will always rise to the occasion.
Of course this will all need to be accompanied by some fresh sourdough bread from the award winning Stones Bakery on the High Street which has taken a prominent place in Falmouth’s foodie revolution. Lightly toast it on your BBQ, a little bit more effort, but well worth it!
So with the food and drink sorted, if you are unsure of how to conduct the perfect Cornish BBQ and in need of some guidance, here are our top tips:
-Find the perfect beach BBQ destination. We highly recommend Grebe, Durgan or Maenporth beach for the best possible chance of extending the sunshine for as long as possible. These beaches will provide a backdrop and silhouette to absorb and reminisce over for years to come.
-Keep an eye on the weather. Make sure you check the forecast a couple of days ahead so you can plan where you go, what to take and what time to get the coals going. Remember that Cornwall can have four seasons in one day and even 4 seasons on three coasts!
-Prepare your ingredients and gear in advance. Think the meal through from start to finish and you will begin to think of things to pack that you may have forgotten in a rush. Think sauces, salads, buns and utensils.
-Set your BBQ up in an area with some shelter from the wind. The local beaches we have recommended above, have the most wonderful (and practical) stones and pebbles to prop up your barbie and provide some shelter.
-At the risk of teaching granny to suck eggs….let the coals turn grey with no flames before cooking. Trying to cook with a flame is a sure route to burnt outsides and raw insides. Better known as salmonella poisoning.
-Keep one eye on the skies…. Seagulls pose the ultimate threat to your chipolatas and have developed quite daring dive-bombing techniques to snaffle your snags !
-Other essentials would include: bin liners, paper towels, cool bag with ice packs and tin foil.
-Lastly, leave the beach as if you were never there. It’s so important that we stress this. There’s nothing worse than seeing litter in the beautiful Cornish coves and it can have a real detrimental effect on the wildlife and people’s enjoyment of these places. Did you know that sand absorbs heat so much so that if you cheekily buried your hot coals in the sand – in a few hours people would seriously burn their feet walking over the top?
Get fired up, it’s grilling time! So here you have it, a guide to the perfect Cornish Beach BBQ. Let us know how you got on and send us your snaps. Have you got any local suppliers to add or perhaps a recipe you think make a barbeque extra special?