Well this wasn’t too much of a stretch for Gemma, as she is from just 10 minutes down the road from Padstow. However, despite this she had never been to the festive delight that is its Christmas Festival until this year. Here she talks us through the event and what she spent all her December pay packet on!
If you haven’t guessed already from the blog I am Cornish and immensely proud of coming from such a beautiful, and passionate about food, county. For newbies to Padstow it is a small harbour town in North Cornwall, across the river from Rock, and most known for being the hub of TV chef Rick Stein who has several restaurants in the area. In December the town is a beautiful place to be, with the boats in the harbour lit up and a Christmas lantern parade (including real camels!) taking place on the Friday evening. Well and truly in the Christmas spirit.
One of the main attractions of the festival is the Chef’s Theatre, which attracts some top talent over the weekend. I made sure to be there for Rick Stein who cooked up two dishes from his latest book, The Road to Mexico. Rick of course charmed the crowd and I was one of the first in the queue to meet him after and get a signed copy of the book. Seafood inspiration for years to come. We also saw Ed Hughes from Sharp’s Brewery and Zack Hawke from The Mariners make some gin cured salmon, whilst serving up beers and lots of info on beer matching to the crowd. There were some really amazing chefs running demonstrations over the weekend and could quite easily have spent my entire visit just in there!
There are also a number of smaller demonstrations that are worth checking out too – if you want to learn about food it’s the place to be.
What we tucked into
Where to start. This of course being Cornwall, and on the coast, the seafood was bound to be good. Prawn on the Lawn were resident chefs on the Jubilee Queen (a large boat situated in the harbour that I later sailed on for a fireworks cruise). Their menu was to die for and the crab nachos were our favourite – so much delicious crab! Inside the main shopping area Rick Stein also had a stand where his team were serving up crispy prawn tacos alongside other delicious treats. They were beyond delicious and we will definitely be making the recipe from the book back in the Gills kitchen.
Elsewhere in the marquee there was a huge batch of paella being cooked up, alongside things like delicious thai curries, calamari and spicy chicken wings.
What we came away with
A good place to have a few drinks thats for sure. The shopping marquee was crammed with gin producers, including Gills favourite Tarquins (where we couldn’t resist picking up a bottle). There were also plenty of local crafts and foodie goods which would make the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one. A stall where I spent a lot of time was at the National Lobster Hatchery where I spoke at length with staff about the work they do. I ended up sponsoring a lobster and naming it Gills! There’s so much to learn from them that we will be doing a blog post all about them very soon – but in the meantime as a last minute Christmas gift why not sponsor a lobster too?
To be honest I can’t quite believe I have never been to this festival before. It’s so close to my family and was filled with all of the things I love! It is going to have to become an annual trip and I might just need to take Becky for a Gills Gals road trip next year.