Cornwall is unquestionably one of the most popular gourmet destinations in the United Kingdom. You’ll discover plenty of incredible gourmet destinations around the coastal county known for its burgeoning restaurant industry with offerings from top chefs.

However, it isn’t all about the Michelin stars; there are many traditional delights developed in Cornwall that have earned their proper place as the most iconic of the county’s cuisine.

The food is one of the many beautiful aspects of a visit to Cornwall. Cornwall offers a plethora of superb, fresh seafood ready to be cooked in whatever way you desire due to its proximity to the sea.

People from Cornwall are so proud of their cuisine that several of these delectable delicacies are geographically protected. This means that no one else can use the well-known Cornish name. When visiting Cornwall, here are seven must-try iconic meals.

1. Clotted Cream Tea

Farming is dominated by dairy. The grass grows thick and green thanks to plenty of warm rain and clean air, which is precisely what the cows need to make rich, creamy milk. Clotted cream is a cooked cream usually warmed gently in a warm oven or on the stovetop. The unique golden crust forms on the top as it cools.

2. Stargazy Pie

Delicious short-crust pastry pies are famous in Cornwall. Recipes passed down through the years, with slight differences in each family, provide an authentic flavor of Cornwall. The smell and sight of the stargazy pie are the most recognizable, and the Pilchard heads that poke their way through the crust are not easily forgotten. The heads represent the fish adorning the stars as they gaze up at the night sky.

Cornish Pastry holiday meal from Cornwall

3. The Traditional Cornish Pasty

 The Cornish pasty is so revered in Europe that it has been designated as a Protected Geographical Indication, meaning that only pasties made in Cornwall can bear the term. Pastries packed with juicy meat, swede, potato, and onions, folded and baked into a D shape, are known as “oggies” by locals.

Because this delectable cuisine is the region’s national food, stores abound across Cornwall, emitting the seductive aroma of pastry and fragrant fillings. Authentic Cornish Pasties are available with classic fillings and a variety of alternative fillings such as chicken and bacon or apple and stuffing.

4. Pilchards

Pilchards were once the lifeblood of the Cornish industry, and even if you don’t like the oily fish, you’ll respect its past. If you weren’t working down a mine in Cornwall throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, you were probably working with pilchards. As a result, many of the picturesque fishing villages along the coast, notably Mousehole and St Ives, sprang up.

Attempts are currently being made to reposition the humble Pilchard as a gourmet specialty. The Cornish sardine, as it has been renamed, is now available in upscale supermarkets across the country and is grilled at every food festival in Cornwall. While this marketing ploy may appear cynical, there’s no disputing that a grilled pilchard, um, Cornish sardine in a bun is delicious.

5. Cornish Seafood

Fish and shellfish abound in Cornwall’s coastal seas, which you can buy locally and cook at home or eat at one of the many restaurants, pubs, and cafes along the coast and inland. Purchasing Cornish seafood supports local businesses and jobs while also reducing food miles, allowing you to enjoy the freshest flavors. Seafood doesn’t have to be challenging to prepare, and it’s perfect for a cookout at your cottage. 

Saffron buns from Cornwall

6. Cornish Saffron Buns

The saffron bun is a delectable delicacy for guests to taste, and it is unmistakably Cornish. Sycamore leaves are used to make the bun during the baking process, which is flavored with saffron and made with confectioners sugar. Before, the bun wasn’t consumed throughout the year. It was once reserved for special occasions such as Christmas and Easter.  

7. Barbequed Mackerel  

From the holiday season to a summertime treat, the fragrance of roasted mackerel pervades Cornwall’s beaches on a warm summer evening. It’s the most uncomplicated and most delicious supper, with one of Cornwall’s most evocative fragrances. Mackerel is a tasty and healthy choice of fish, thanks to its high omega-3 content.

Cornwall has some fantastic restaurants where you can enjoy gourmet meals with a great view while enjoying fresh, local products, Whatever your taste or budget. After a trip along the coastal path or a lengthy bike ride, this may be Rick Stein’s famous restaurant in Padstow or a fresh crab sandwich overlooking the port at the ship in Porthleven. Grabbing a pasty and sitting on the beach with the most admirable view in the world can be just as memorable as taking the boat out for a Michelin-starred lunch. Cornwall has something to offer everyone’s taste and budget.