Laura food writer goes to Alverton Hotel

Review – The Alverton Hotel, Truro

Having been writing reviews for Tasting Britain for some months now, I have been meaning to make more time to work on updating on here. Hence I was really pleased when I was invited to review The Alverton in Truro for National Cream Tea Day today on my own website.

Sitting down to High Tea is a quintessentially English pastime, which sort of feels quite well positioned on the calendar just before Wimbledon starts. I took my Mum with me, which was an rare treat for us both. a food writer by night and weekend, I’m usually busy running communications for small businesses.

The tea

Tea at The Alverton, Truro

With tea grown so close to home, timing is crucial

Afternoon tea needs to start with tea, right? So, The Alverton use teas exclusively chosen from Cornwall’s Tregothnan Estate, which is just outside of Truro. I asked if I could come and visit in my Tasting Britain role, but sadly they didn’t respond. Anyway, they do make the world’s first true English tea; harnessing the microclimate on the banks of the River Fal.

All of this aside, what did the tea taste like?

We opted for Manuka tea, which is light and fruity, with a citrus nose. Despite being native to New Zealand, Tregothnan have managed to grow manuka successfully in Cornwall. A bit like a yuzu, or a delicately perfumed citrus, this tea was refreshing and tasty.

High Tea Alverton Truro

Not a crust in sight

Sandwiches

High tea starts off with some sandwiches. No crust. We had thinly sliced cucumber, salmon and cream cheese, and coronation chicken. Eating cucumber like this reminds me of a Japanese starter. Very thin and simple, with a little salt. The salmon was salty itself, and served on wholemeal bread, which is how I usually have it. These were an excellent start to high tea, and quite welcome after Mum had tried to make soup for lunch.

The Cream Tea

From quintessential England with the sandwiches, we went to quintessential Cornwall with the cream tea. It being national cream tea day, hundreds of people were embracing the spirit of Cornwall by having scones with jam and cream. Of course, in Devon they’d have been having them with cream and jam, but we’re in Kernow now Toto.

food writer knows her Cornish

A Cornish cream tea tea is always jam first

Nicely risen, if a little firm, scones, delicious strawberry jam and a quenelle of Cornish clotted cream made this a pretty good cream tea. What made it outstanding was the Tregothnan’s manuka tea, and the delicious extras we got.

More cake?

Laura food writer goes to Alverton Hotel

Afternoon Tea in all its glory

After the Cornish cream tea, there was a vanilla macaroon, chocolate torte cake and an amazing pistachio cake, which had the texture of carrot cake, and was moist, tasty and light. Clearly the head chef Simon George has thought about the clientèle and what they will appreciate the most.

The staff

There was a small amount of initial confusion, although it was very busy, as the sun was really shining on the terrace. Full of chattering ladies, in their more mature years, it was actually really lovely to see everyone having such a nice time. Once we had settled, the staff were very attentive and polite – even when we moved on to the gin.

They had begin laying up the tables for the evening meal, and were booked up with a wedding and Truro School’s graduation ceremony, so it was business as usual for the staff.

Overall

Food writer in Cornwall, Laura does The Alverton

Geometric shapes represent the modern décor at The Alverton

With an overall crisp and sophisticated look, I’d definitely like to see more of The Alverton for review on Tasting Britain. At £15 per head for the high tea, I can imagine sitting outside on the terrace and soaking up the rays again for a high tea as a special treat, or even to meet a client who is new to Cornwall. The staff were friendly, and everything was delicious.

 

Many thanks to The Alverton staff for inviting us, and making us feel so comfortable.

Professional writer and press manager

Bank holiday weekend foodie fun in Cornwall

I have basically been skiddling about this week, ridiculously busy meeting new clients, and working on an amazing press campaign for a client and through all of it, I can’t stop hearing about cool stuff happening!

I have compiled some of it in a list on Tasting Britain, but since then I have heard so much more that I thought (having not posted anything for a while, that now is the right time to impart my food & restaurant in Cornwall knowledge and let others know about the amazing variety of events in Cornwall this weekend.

I had the fortune to go to a forage and feast event at the Gurnard’s Head last Friday, with Caroline Davey from the Fat Hen Cookery School. These events happen a couple of times a year, with Caroline also doing her own incredible courses throughout the year. Anyway, enough of my rambling about that, the full review will be coming up on Tasting Britain.

Events in Cornwall food and drink

West Cornwall

I did hear a lot about Don’t Wake the Fish, which is an event happening in the wonderful gardens of the Gurnard’s Head this weekend. It is a folky collection of amazing craft ales from various brweries around the county; a BBQ and lots of lovely music!

Now in its fourth year it has already gathered quite a following as being the antithesis of larger commercial festivals. Food will be provided by James Strawbridge in collaboration with The Gurnard’s Head and there will also be a barbecue (the restaurant will be open as normal).
There will be activities for the all the family including face painting, pot throwing, a Pucket tent and traditional garden games. The music schedule is as follows:
Saturday
2pm- Pensans Morris Dancers
4pm- Frankie Davies
6pm- Johanna Graham Quartet
8pm- Cahooty
10pm- Black Friday
Sunday
2pm- Abi Jade
4pm- Stone Roots
6pm- The Hoodle
8pm- The Odd Folk
10pm- The Sandy Acre 7

South Coast Mid Cornwall

On Sunday, in Penryn is I Fought the Lawn. This is another small and very localised festival, which is aligned with the Penryn Arts festival; wherein some excellent local bands will be playing to a predominantly Penryn-ian crowd. But those in Falmouth should hop along too, in support of the amazing arts scene in the area. There will be a bar and music, and as such the event caters to the whole family. Perfect for a bank holiday.
Penryn food and drink festival
Speaking of Falmouth, the Quayside pub is reopening this weekend after a massive refurb, and as such has loads of new ales and beers sourced locally on tap. With some of the best views in Falmouth, this relaunch will also see a new menu of locally sourced food at the Quayside.
Food and drink in Cornwall

Locally sourced food in Cornwall

A Beer and cider festival in Mullion is also happening over the bank holiday weekend. Mounts Bay Inn will host their annual whitsun holiday event, where many local ales and ciders will be on sale, and there will be local live music too. Plus I have read that they have got fresh local lobster on the menu! Woo hoo!
A truly amazing sounding event is happening over at Carlyon Bay; A pop up fine dining event, serving oysters and a variety of lovely drinks. Right next to the divine Sams on the Beach, this event will be on Crinnis Beach, and actually runs from tomorrow 22nd – 29th May. Reservations can be made for indoor tables, but people can also choose to rock up and eat, drink and have fun out on the beach.
food and drink in Cornwall

Oysters from Cornwall

It’s also the beginning of the Fal River Fest, which promises to be an excellent host too foods and craft beers, drama arts and much more. Activities include all sorts of water based activities from sailing to swimming. With lots of delicious eating at the food and craft market at Falmouth’s events square, and a wild food walk in St. Mawes on the 28th with expert Rachel Lambert.

North Coast Mid Cornwall

Tonight Retallack Resort and Spa are hosting the FREE! launch of their new Wake Park. To celebrate opening a further action and adventure attraction, Retallack are hosting a launch night with all sorts of exciting prizes and promotions. There will also be pro wakeboarding demonstrations with DJs and bands performing and a fish and chip feast by former Master Chef winner and revered chef James Nathan. Such a friendly man!

Fun for all, they have created a children’s sand play area plus a farm shop supplying everything from buckets and spades for playing in the faux beach to DIY BBQs and burgers to cook on them!

To keep the beachy vibe, there will be loads of other activiteis at Retallack beach, such as volleyball, outdoor table tennis, fishing lessons and extreme beach fitness classes.

From 6pm tonight!

North Cornwall

The 9th Bude and Stratton folk festival is taking place this weekend too. My old stomping ground, this will be an excellent place to enjoy food, drink and folk! Accompanied by my brotherfromanothermother, Jim Causley will be playing at the folk festival in Bude as part of the line up. Running from the whole bank holiday weekend: 22nd-25th May. Incredible food and hospitality, and some of the best sunsets can be seen from Beach House Hotel at Widemouth Bay, which we think is well worth a visit.

May Bank Holiday Cornwall food and drink

North Cornwall sunset

 

There’s almost certainly more to be getting on with this weekend and the weather does look as if it will be a little on the cool side, but without too much rain, generally speaking.

 

Whatever you’re doing in Cornwall, enjoy the amazing food and drink Cornwall has to offer!

Professional writer and press manager

Cornwall food and drink write-up

As a peninsula, Cornwall is rife with a proliferation of amazing seafood; from Falmouth’s world famous oysters, to London’s favourite Mylor prawns, and the fat mussels lining the rocks of the Helford and other estuaries across the county. Within the catchment of St. Ives, Hayle brags salt flats laden with  marsh sampihre and razor clams, and rock samphire and sea spinach act almost as weeds around the coast.

Copywriter in Cornwall specialising in food and drink

Cornwall is prized for its food and drink provenance

Following the success of my last list of Cornwall food and drink related companies, I have so much more to add to this list, which I am uncovering as I wend my around the beautiful peninsula I call home. 30 years ago when I was a child in Boscastle, fish and chips was the height of British food, and the nation suffered from this stigma of sufferable food since.

Until recent years.

Throughout the nineties, as I, like many other teenagers in Cornwall, made my first independent money as a KP in a local cafe, Cornwall became a more recognised foodie destination. Seafood chef Rick Stein rose to popularity, and Cornwall saw many other independent chefs choosing provenance.

These days Cornwall boasts thousands of top class eateries and Michelin star chefs, making it a highly sought after foodie destination. Working as a freelance writer in food and drink has allowed me to meet people from all over the county who are doing great things with food. It’s just so transpired that all of these companies fit with the sustainability ethos we love to communicate here.

Harbour Lights Falmouth

So much more than just a chip shop, my work with Tasting Britain has introduced me to the wonderfully motivating and inspirational Pete Fraser, who manages my local chippie! With a wellbalanced combination of rapeseed oil and a small amount of sustainably sourced palm, these chips are delicious and healthier than most too. Ricky ‘Kaiser Chiefs’ Wilson told the Guardian how great it is, and we were invited down to a relaunch recently. Pete, like Mary Quicke, is a local hero; prioritising sustainability and good, honest food. He has some exciting plans for furthering his commitment to sustainability, hoping to deploy an anaerobic digester to reduce waste.

The Rebel Brewing Co.

Tucked away in an industrial estate in Penryn, these guys are doing exciting things with beer. Having been microbrewers for some years now, they are constantly pushing out new beers and ideas, such as their Penryn Pale Ale and the incredible Mexi-Cocoa, which uses the by-products from ethical, sustainable company Chocolarder cacao husks. Independent and award winning, these brewers use renewables to ensure their business looks to the future.

Food and drink in Cornwall is exceptional

A stout with a chocolate heart

Inkie’s BBQ

I’ve written about them before, and have seen them pop up across different places in Cornwall over the last few months. One thing I am pleased to say, after meeting Karen and Debs for a Tasting Britain review is that everything they use to make their incredible low and slow meats is sourced locally. Add to that sustainable packaging, wooden knives and forks and a hand refurbished horse box, and you’ve got the ethos of Inkie’s right there: simple, sustainable and local good food. They have two regular slots a week in Bodmin and Liskeard, but you’ll see them popping up at food festivals and events as the season opens up.

Southwestern Distilleries

Infusing wheat based alcohol with aromatic botanicals is something that distilleries across the country have been doing for centuries. Southwestern Distilleries use their own blend of these botanicals to make small batch Cornish gin, near to Wadebridge. Clear and crisp, this is a gin with a light and yet exotic flavour. A visit to the place where the magic happens is something I’m really looking forward to, on behalf of Tasting Britain next month.

Sean Gee photography

Cornish creativity at its best

Sean’s work in action, photographing Inkie’s Smokehouse on a winter’s night

 

Great things happen in great places, and one of the things I love the most about Cornwall is the community of foodies who contribute to #cornishfoodhour on a Sunday night. From bloggers to food label owners, and foodies to photographers, we all get together to tweet about events, discoveries, recipes and all things food. Through this, I met Sean Gee, a food photographer who has a rather large hand in the Boscastle Food Festival. Maybe it’s because he’s from my home town, or maybe because he relentlessly pops up everywhere ;) I love Sean’s thoughtful and mouthwatering photography.

 

 

Food and drink in Cornwall is one of its biggest exports, as the brand of Cornwall begins to grow internationally. As such, this is a list and subject my food journalism and natural curiosity seeks to expand upon over the summer.