The Food of South West England

Find out about the foods traditionally associated with the south west of England...

Sitting in a pub overlooking the spectacular Cornish coast eating the local catch, with its lobster, crabs and mackerel, is one of life's great culinary experiences. Inland, Cornwall and Devon's green pastures are grazed by the Friesians that produce some of Britain's finest dairy products, clotted cream included. And it would be remiss not to mention the Cornish pasty: the reputation of the semicircular folded pie has suffered by many a poor imitation, but when executed well the pasty is a wonderful combination of crisp pastry and moist meaty interior. The West Country can also lay claim to the Cornish saffron cake, Oldbury tart (gooseberry pie) and West Country cream tea.

In recent years the region has become a key player in Britain's renewed relationship with organic farming, offering up a vast range of foodstuffs, from apples to Gloucester Old Spot pork.

Three great south-western foods:

  • Clotted cream: Milk is slowly heated, cooled and plundered of its cream, which is then heated again until a golden crust forms. In Cornwall they dump it on bread, cover with syrup or black treacle and call it Thunder and Lightning
  • Bath chaps: Take a pig's cheek or lower jaw, brine and boil it before coating with breadcrumbs. Eat cold like ham
  • Colston bun: A ring-shaped Bristol bun flavoured with dried fruit; named after the local merchant who made a packet trading in the West Indies (slaves included) in the early 18th century
Extract from Speak the Culture Britain, a Thorogood publication, supported by the British Council Speak the Culture series website / Buy online Copyright ® 2009 Thorogood Publishing