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Where in the World to Eat: North Cornwall

Where in the World to Eat: North Cornwall
Mesmear: Cooking with Colin
Felicity Cloake cooks, eats and drinks the best of North Cornwall.
L’Estuaire, Rock (01208 862 622,
Rock is North Cornwall’s Beverly Hills, but unlike many places in the area, this intimate French restaurant tucked away next to the Post Office is friendly and utterly unpretentious. Chef Olivier Davoust-Zangari comes from just across the Channel in Normandy, and has the deft touch of someone who’s been working with seafood all his life. Having met his Cornish wife Emma while both were working for Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons, Olivier is fiercely proud of local ingredients like spanking fresh Camel Estuary oysters from Porthilly, Cornish cider champagne, and charcuterie from nearby Delabole. L’Estuaire has a loyal local following, so book well ahead in season, or take advantage of their great value lunch menu.
Cooking with Colin, Mesmear (01208 869 731,
Foodies shouldn’t miss the opportunity to pick the brains of Mesmear’s resident chef, Colin Hutchens, in a personal cookery lesson. Endlessly patient and engaging, he didn’t bat an eyelid when I left a lemon sole in shreds, responded to an idle question about whether the roe was edible with a hot pan and a dusting of cayenne pepper, and left me feeling far more confident about preparing seafood, although he’ll do anything from barbecues to curries on request.
Camel Valley Vineyard, Bodmin (01208 77959,
Don’t miss the chance to poke around one of England’s finest vineyards: book on to one of their summer evening ‘grand tours’, and you’ll be shown round by the winemaker himself – who will then join you for a tasting overlooking the vines. The on-site shop is also your best chance of getting hold of some of Camel Valley’s award-winners. The vineyard backs on to the Camel Trail, an 18-mile cycle route and footpath that runs from Padstow to Poley’s Bridge, so it makes an ideal stop off for those in need of liquid refreshment!
National Lobster Hatchery, Padstow (01841 533877,
Any seafood fan will find the small visitors’ centre at the headquarters of this charity devoted to sustainable fishing absolutely fascinating. There’s a short film, several tanks of sea creatures to goggle at, advice from local boy Rick Stein on how to prepare a lobster, and even the chance to sponsor a tiny crustacean on its journey from hatching to release. Afterwards, head across the car park for fish and chips, Stein-style (love him or hate him, the man can batter with the best of them), washed down with a pint of Chalky’s Bark from the local Sharp’s brewery.
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14 March 2011
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