St Ives Food and Drink Festival

Well, where do we begin? St Ives Food Festival promises a fantastic weekend, with delicious food, and (hopefully) incredible weather.
The event kickstarts on Friday evening...

The gates open and welcome everyone to enjoy the food and drink stalls, as well as ‘The Lighthouse Stage’, for some live music! The St Ives Food Festival made a huge step in 2019, 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 have since noticed a considerable difference in the crowd number, and it was great! There is a huge buzz throughout the whole weekend, and a real sense of community, from both residents and visitors alike.

Following some brilliant performances such as past acts from ‘Daytoner’ and ‘Jelly Jazz and 45’, the evening closes and leaves everyone looking forward to the days ahead.

Saturdays are food-filled extravaganzas!

When taking your early morning walk in St Ives, you can see preparations for the festival beginning for the day ahead. The work doesn’t stop for the stall holders, but everyone’s efforts don’t go unnoticed, as this food festival proves to be one of the best events to visit in Cornwall – ever!

By Saturday afternoon, the festival is usually in full swing!

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

It is is often difficult to decide where to start!

On entering the festival, the views, smells and atmosphere ticks 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 are catered for. Following a few circuits of the tents and food stalls, you will be sure to encounter all sorts of delights, a personal favourite being ‘Bohemian Wrapsody’!

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

Post lunch in the sun, take a stroll around the tents and stalls to talk to some local businesses..

Such as ‘Sea Buck Tonic’ stall, a tonic water created here in Cornwall! You get to learn 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, 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. It’s rude not to sample some firsthand with a splash of gin, elderflower and a botanical garnish. The outcome? Delicious!

After exploring, talking, and tasting as much as you can around the festival, sit back and enjoy watching a few of the food demonstrations, from some seriously talented chefs!

In past festivals, there have been demonstrations by The Country Fire Kitchen team, at the Asado fire pit, who 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!

Another very talented local chef has impressed visitors in the demonstration tent, the owner of the Fishshed and 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 suppose that you have all seen an abundance of cooking shows in your lifetime, allowing you to gauge a certain level of appreciation for how a professional kitchen works. However, it is a whole different and wonderful experience to sit and watch true artists at work. Especially you are able to see the pride in the work, and enjoyment that comes from using the freshest, local ingredients up close and personal. We believe it showcases clearly the quality of our Cornish Chef’s work, and the quality ingredients available to us here in Cornwall.

Sunsets and evening entertainment

As the sun sets on the festival, Porthminster Beach usually remains full of visitors.  Saturday night is host to a lineup of musicians and the annual food festival fireworks.

St Ives Food and Drink Festival is normally held the second weekend of May (when the sun is normally warm and promising good times!) so keep your eyes peeled for announcements on the dates, visiting chefs, stall holders and musicians taking part.

Share this article with friends and family