Cornish cauli grows in a 'magical' place
Cornwall’s climate produces top-quality meat and dairy, as Su Carroll discovered.
In his foreword for The Great Cornish Food Book, Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw says "Cornwall's natural larder means that, on our doorstep, we have all the ingredients necessary to produce the very best gastronomic delights."
He continues: "Cornwall is a magical place and its unique micro-climate means that things grow here that wouldn't grow in other areas of the UK.
"The mild climate that we enjoy means that our crops are ready first. The amount of rain we have means that cattle are able to graze on lush grass and that, in turn, means they produce the very best quality meat and dairy products.
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"Around our coast, we have excellent fishing and can boast some of the best-quality seafood and fish in the world."
And even the humble cauliflower can achieve gourmet status.
Mark Twain may have called cauliflowers "cabbage with a college education", but there's more to Cornwall's favourite brassica than that.
Caulis are a staple of both the Cornish table and economy, for very good reasons. Bursting at the stems with flavour and nutrients, they store well and suit the mild climate perfectly – so when the rest of the country might be frozen under a blanket of snow, Cornwall can be relied upon to provide the cauli for the cheese.
It was the opening of the direct railway line from Penzance to London in 1860 that meant Cornish veg could be whisked to the dining tables of London for the first time. Riviera Produce, based near Hayle, started growing vegetables in Cornwall at about the same time and, although rail freight is now all but a thing of the past in these parts, they're still going strong.
Working with 15 growers on family farms in West Cornwall, they're the people making sure that the county's cauliflowers and greens are on the shelves of Britain's supermarkets, fresh every day. So hunt out the Cornish cauli and try this delicious soup recipe...
Next week: Cornish treats