Saturday, 5 August 2017

Cornish Adventures Part Three: Padstow and Berryfields Farm

If you've been keeping up with my Cornish adventures over the last few weeks, you'll know I recently spent a week down in Cornwall with my family. I've blogged about our visits to St. Ives and Seal Island, and Newquay Zoo, and today I'm going to continue on with tales from our trip to Padstow.

After checking the forecast on Wednesday morning and discovering it wasn't going to rain again until just after lunch, we thought we'd better make the most of the dry weather, and headed off to Padstow before the rain could stop us.

Padstow is about twenty-five miles north of Perranporth (where we were staying) and just a half hour drive along the coast. We took our usual scenic route along the coastal roads, taking the hair-pin bends past gorgeous little coves and sandy beaches like Porth Beach, Watergate Bay, and Mawgan Porth (apparently the Cornish like the name 'Porth' a lot), and cute Cornish villages before heading deeper in to the countryside with a view of the sea just beyond the fields. We've taken the same route to Padstow since we were kids, so the drive made me all nostalgic for my childhood.

Five miles from Padstow, we turned off the road and took a little detour for cream teas at a place called Berryfields Farm; a tea room in Porthcothan Bay situated in the middle of the countryside, attached to a little holiday park. The sister and brother-in-law discovered the place for the first time last Summer, and raved about how they made the best cream teas in Cornwall, so they'd been planning and looking forward to another visit since they booked the holiday. I was curious to see what all the fuss was about.

We parked up and took a seat outside around a massive round table in their outdoor dining area, and a friendly member of staff soon came to take our order. As my stomach was still feeling pretty tender after making myself ill with ice cream the day before (damn lactose intolerance!), I didn't want to risk making myself ill again with cream scones so I was sensible and (somewhat regretfully) ordered a portion of strawberries, while Marie and Steve both ordered strawberry teas.

I received a huge, generous portion of the sweetest, juiciest, freshest strawberries I've had in years, drizzled in a sweet strawberry syrup. (I ordered them plain and simple, but you can also order them with cream if you prefer). They were delicious, and the portion size more than satisfied my appetite. I admit I was a little jealous of their strawberry teas because they looked amazing, but the strawberries were a real treat. Their plates were piled high with strawberries, clotted cream, and jam, with two heart-shaped scones each (yes, heart-shaped scones!!); one plain and one with raisins / currants / whatever the hell kind of dried fruit they put in scones these days. Easily the cutest scones I've ever seen, and judging by the sounds of contentment coming from Marie and Steve, utterly delicious, too. They both reconfirmed that they were the best cream teas they've ever had, so I'll just have to take their word for it.

Photo above taken by Marie.

I can't actually remember the prices of the food or drink, but they were very reasonable and inexpensive, especially for the portion sizes and quality of the food. They also had quite a large menu to choose from, with scones and strawberries available to order in a variety of ways, and a large selection of cakes and other tasty treats to choose from, too.

We had a really enjoyable visit, sitting outside in the fresh country air with nothing but the sound of birdsong and the chatter of one or two other groups of people. We were even greeted "good morning" by a group of people that arrived from the holiday park with dogs in tow, which took us aback for a minute because that rarely ever happens these days! I didn't actually see much of Berryfields Farm as we sat outside about twenty feet from where we parked, and didn't go inside the tea room or explore the grounds further, but I'm told it's really lovely indoors, too.

If you're in Cornwall and you want to treat yourself to a good cream tea or a generous helping of sweet English strawberries, then we highly recommend Berryfields Farm; they make the best cream teas in Cornwall!

So, after we'd eaten our fill, we piled back in the car, and continued our journey on to Padstow. We arrived just after midday, and eventually managed to get parked close to the harbour, which took some persisting because the place was swarming with people trying to get parked. Padstow is a very popular tourist spot, so it's always super busy no matter the weather or time of day, so you need some patience and to be prepared for some waiting around if you want to park at the harbour.

We walked the short distance over to the harbour which sits in the town centre and is edged with shops, restaurants, and places to grab an ice cream or traditional Cornish pasty. The harbour is a fraction of the size of the one in St. Ives, but like St. Ives, it's pretty as a picture, and advertises all kinds of boat excursions to interesting places off the coast. We didn't take any boat trips this time, mostly because the weather was crap, but we've taken several in the past which were all good fun. I've never spotted anything but sea birds off the coast of Padstow, but if you're lucky you could spot dolphins, porpoises, seals, whales, and sun fish. The Cornish waters are full of life!

I brought my old New Look ice cream cone bag along for the ride!

After stopping to take a few photos of the boats on the harbour, we strolled around the shops in the town centre. We popped in to Rick Stein's Patisserie, especially to get some of their amazing pasties that we first discovered back in 2009/10, and were so impressed with we all agreed they were the best pasties we've ever had. Their traditional Cornish pasties are my favourite, while both of my sisters are obsessed with the haddock. It sounds weird, but they say it works. I bought a Cornish to have for tea that evening, along with  another to pop in the freezer and bring home for my little sister (at her request). I also treated myself to a couple of the macarons- a chocolate and a salted caramel- just because I was curious to find out what Rick Stein's macarons were like (they were delicious)- and a slice of chocolate cheesecake, that Marie and I shared later than day. I forgot to take a photo, but OMG, it was amazing!

We then purposely headed to Abbey Bears, a teddy bear shop selling all kinds of beautiful soft toys, including countless traditional hand made teddy bears from companies like Steiff and Charlie Bears. I used to run a vintage-style toy shop before I got ill, so it was lovely browsing around and seeing some of the brands of beautiful toys I used to sell. Steve bought Marie a gorgeous Charlie Bear for her birthday (which was the next day), and I picked out a cute colourful Tsum-Tsum-style Hello Kitty and an awesome plush dragon keyring for my little sister, Sarah, that I totally forgot to take a photo of before I gave them to her after the holiday.

Stuffed toys in hand, we headed on, and followed the streets along, weaving in and out of gift shops, and bakeries, before stumbling up on a Havianas shop on the far side of the harbour. I'd been searching for a new pair of flip flops I liked all week without much luck, so I was excited to discover a whole shop dedicated to my favourite flip flop brand! After trying on a few pairs of block coloured flip flops, I spotted the coral coloured sushi print Tops and I was sold. I've never eaten sushi; I doubt I'd even like it; but for some reason, I just couldn't resist the cute print. They were £20 but I think it was money well spent. Havianas are the comfiest flip flops!

Our next stop was to a nearby bakery (that I've totally forgotten the name of) where Marie and Steve bought slices of chocolate, hummingbird, and Victoria sponge layer cakes, simply because they looked amazing. Marie and I shared the chocolate and Victoria sponge between us the next day, and they were seriously delicious.

It was beginning to spit by this point, so we decided we'd go get fish and chips, and then head back to Perranporth. We walked back past the harbour, dropped our bags off at the car, and headed past the Lobster Hatchery where a row of buildings sits opposite the water. There you'll find Rick Stein's deli, restaurant, and fish and chip shop. It seems Mr Stein owns half of Padstow.

Rick Stein's fish and chip shop is another old favourite of ours, that we first discovered eight or nine years ago. We'd heard good things about his restaurants and wanted to dine at one, but we were on a budget and couldn't really afford his prices, so we compromised, and bought food from the chippy instead. As we tucked in to our fish and chips, we soon realised we'd found the best fish and chips in Cornwall, and now we make a point of returning for more whenever we holiday in Cornwall. The food is that good I was even tempted to try a battered scallop for the first time on our first visit and loved it- and I'm not a seafood fan at all!

I hadn't been back to Cornwall in seven unnaturally long years, so I'd been looking forward to my Rick Stein's ever since I accepted the holiday invite, and I'm glad to say, I wasn't disappointed. I got the cod and chips, and a battered scallop, along with a rhubarb and apple soft drink, and it was the most delicious meal I've had in ages. The cod was perfectly cooked and full of flavour with its amazing salty, crispy batter, the scallop was sweet and tender, and the chips were so fluffy. I was in food heaven. It was just as good as I'd remembered it, and well worth the seven year wait since my last visit. It still holds the title as best fish and chips in Cornwall where I'm concerned. They're a little more expensive than the average chip shop (but only a little) and you can expect long queues out the door, but trust me, it's well worth the money, and the wait. 

We ate our food sitting in the car as the rain had started, and after we'd eaten our fill of delicious seaside fair, we made our way back to Perranporth in the rain, and spent the rest of the afternoon in a food coma, watching movies in the caravan. I can't remember what else we did that day, but all I know is, we did not need dinner that evening after all that food!

We had a real foodie day sampling some of the best food Cornwall has to offer, which was a real treat, and something that just has to be done when you're in Cornwall. If you want to find the best fish and chips, pasties, and cream teas in Cornwall, then head to Berryfields and Padstow and follow my recommendations; I promise you won't be disappointed!

Look out for part four of my Cornish adventures when I'll be talking about our visit to my favourite place in England- Perranporth Beach, coming soon.

What is the best seaside food you've ever tasted, and where did you get it?

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