By Georgia Cadoret |
Inviting aromas filled the streets of Truro from the 27th – 29th September when the Truro Food Festival displayed a range of food stalls, artisanal producers, demonstrations, foraging walks, talks and workshops of the Cornish variety. It seemed to be off to a slow start, with a few keen foodies in line for a breakfast churro, and one for a breakfast pizza (?). I could only see five or six food vendors setting up shop on the left-hand side of Boscawen Street, and some porta-loos on the right. Could this be it?
Chatting with a merchant from Kernow Churro, Truro (get your mouth around that name), he said that ‘Lemon Quay was packed… this area over here (Boscawen Street) is nowhere near as well subscribed as we were all led to believe’. Pleased that I hadn’t yet seen the whole festival, it was a little concerning that this area had apparently been so thinly spread out.
Vast pans of paella, stacks of colourful mezze and flaming grills
Over on Lemon Quay, however, local vendors were at it with all the enthusiasm and passion that I love at these events. Vast pans of paella, stacks of colourful mezze and flaming grills were to name a few things on offer at the market stalls dotted around the main tent.
In the Cornish Food Hall, producers from Cornwall and the South West gathered to display their goods. Slabs of handmade brownies and biscuits; huge rocks of local cheese; jars of preserves and homemade honey, and a concerning (but unsurprising) number of local brewers and distillers – all set out to do something a bit different, and all with Cornwall at the heart of it.
A city wide celebration of Cornish food and drink
Lee Bater, director of the festival, described it as ‘a city-wide celebration of Cornish food and drink.’ A celebration it was; I really got the feeling that the punters were as excited by the local artisanal food and drink on offer in Cornwall as the producers themselves. The market was packed with people nibbling tasters, swilling snifters, and having conversations (yes, human face-to-face talking!) with producers, getting to know the products on a more personal, in-depth level.
It is this kind of interaction between customer and producer that drives local artisanal businesses like these, the products themselves being built on pure passion for food and drink. I got the sense that the visiting families, couples, and tourists alike were genuinely invested in the time and effort that the grinding merchants had taken to present their businesses so enthusiastically that weekend. The result was a vibrant, friendly and varied foodie fest, despite the drizzly weather.
I was particularly impressed with the amount of eco-friendly and zero-waste products available, and the festival itself was a dedicated zero-plastic event, as well as proudly pledging a 50/50 ratio of female and male talent on the programme.
A Foodie first?
The festival is not the first of its kind; once hosting 40,000 foodie guests, The Great Cornish Food Festival stopped running in 2017, having lasted fourteen years. Still it seems only right to once again provide such a platform for local producers who work hard to promote what they believe in; both the traditions and legacies they continue to practise, and the innovations they create to keep the local passion for Cornish food and beverage alive.