St Ives Food and Drink Festival – a day on the beach!

Well, where do we begin? A fantastic weekend, with fantastic food, and somehow even better weather. The St Ives Food and Drink Festival, yet again, gave St Ives the opportunity to do what it does best!
The events kickstarted on Friday evening...

The gates opened and welcomed everyone to enjoy the food and drink stalls, as well as ‘The Lighthouse Stage’, for some live music! The food festival made a huge step this year, and removed its admission fee, keeping the need to pay for tickets just for the evening entertainment in the music tent. From being regular attendees to this event, we noticed a considerable difference in the crowd number, and it was great! There was a huge buzz throughout the whole weekend, and a real sense of community, from both local residents and visitors alike. Following some brilliant performances from ‘Daytoner’ and ‘Jelly Jazz and 45’, the evening drew to a close and left everyone looking forward to the days ahead.

Saturday morning greeted us with beaming sunshine, blue skies, and stomachs that needed filling.

When passing the festival early in the morning, you could see all the preparations beginning for the day ahead. The work didn’t stop for the stall holders, but everyone’s efforts did not go unnoticed, as this food festival proved to be one of the best to-date!

By early afternoon, the festival was in full swing...

Food stalls were firing out delicious dishes from all angles, cold beers were being enjoyed in the sun, and the Artist and Chef displays were well underway.

It was difficult to know where to start!

Upon entering, the views, smells and atmosphere ticked every box. Whether you were looking to indulge in some homemade churros, or to try something from the Cornish Gouda Company, everyone’s “foody” interests were catered for. Following a few circuits of the tents and food stalls, we encountered all sorts of delights, a favourite being ‘Bohemian Wrapsody’, where lunch was later purchased!

If the name isn’t a big enough give away, the wrap we had was a pretty fantastic. Chipotle Chicken, with all the extras, including jalapeños, peppers and sour cream. Oh, and…truffle and cheesy chips. We just had to!

Following a very well received lunch in the sun, we took another tour around the tents and stalls to have a talk to some local businesses.

One that took our interest was the ‘Sea Buck Tonic’ stall, a tonic water created here in Cornwall! At the stall, we learnt that the tonic is comprised of Cornish spring water that has been ‘infused with quinine-producing cinchona bark’, and of course, some sea buckthorn berries. Priding themselves on the use of natural resources, we were told that the spring water is collected on the moors of the ‘Cornwall peninsula’, and the buckthorn berries can be sourced along our coast, usually amongst the sand dunes. Later in the day, we sampled it first hand with a splash of gin, elderflower and a botanical garnish. The outcome? Delicious!

After exploring, talking, and tasting as much as we could from around the festival, we enjoyed watching a few of the food demonstrations, from some seriously talented chefs!

The Country Fire Kitchen team, at the Asado fire pit, put on an impressive display, cooking up a storm of local ingredients on their open grill. One of the most impressive dishes they made was the fresh octopus. The octopus was poached in a sea water stock for two and a half hours, enriching its natural flavours, then to finish off, the tentacles were grilled over the hot coals, to add texture and taste!

Our next destination was the demonstration tent, and we arrived just in time to catch Private Chef, Fraser Bruce. Accompanied by Michael Smith, the Executive Chef for The Porthminster Group, he created a ‘Lamb Rump Dish, with Crushed Cornish New Potatoes, Confit Tomatoes and a Salsa Verde’!

We have all seen an abundance of cooking shows in our lifetimes, allowing us to gauge a certain level of appreciation for how a professional kitchen works. However, it was a great experience to sit and watch. Especially as we were able to see the pride in the work, and enjoyment that comes from using the freshest, local ingredients. Truly exhibiting the quality of the Chef’s work, and the quality ingredients available to us here in Cornwall.

The excellent weather stayed for the entire day.

As a result, the sun was shining well into the evening, and the beach remained full of visitors.  Saturday night was then to host another line up of musicians and the annual food festival fireworks. Despite how much fun it looked, we retired from The Lighthouse Stage on Saturday evening. However, the firework display did not disappoint, and it drew a perfect conclusion to our perfect day.

Thank you, St Ives Food and Drink Festival, we can’t wait to return and see what next year holds!

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