Cornucopia – Cornwall’s newest multi-million-pound food and drink visitor attraction, that is also home to the UK’s very first interactive Cornish Pasty Heritage Centre – has opened its doors to the public.
On the outskirts of St Austell Cornucopia, is a total celebration of everything that makes Cornwall’s food and drink so special, including a look at the county’s rich heritage and influence that stretches throughout the globe.
Free to enter and open seven days a week, visitors can immerse themselves in the interactive exhibits that tell the fascinating story behind the Cornish pasty and discover its links with the tin and copper mining industry that can be traced to far-flung parts of the world such as Mexico. Visitors have the option for a Pasty Tasting Tour with one of the Cornucopia Pasty Ambassadors (a paid-for option that takes around 30 minutes) that offers additional insights and ends with a sample-sized trio of specially created pasties, carefully matched to three drinks – with alcoholic and non-alcoholic options available.
Budding bakers can take part in a ‘Make and Bake’ experience (a paid-for option that takes around 60 minutes), that teaches them the skilled art of Cornish pasty making. Hosted by the in-house pasty experts, this step-by-step masterclass reveals what makes a truly authentic Cornish pasty, from its carefully selected ingredients through to the ‘pull, tuck and pinch’ technique that creates its famous crust. After they’ve been baked in the oven, the rookie bakers can sample their creations or simply take them home.
Wide selection of specialist food and drink retailers
With a wide selection of specialist food and drink retailers at the site, there’s an informal seating area with tables that offer the perfect place to sit back and relax, while enjoying a snack, meal or perhaps a drink from Mr Small’s Cornish Taphouse, where you’ll find an enviable array of Cornish wines, beers, ciders and spirits, plus an assortment of artisan soft drinks. With up to a dozen local cask and craft ales on offer, including exclusive beers from the Cornish Brewery, the Taphouse boasts what must be the widest selection of Cornish wines, beers, ciders and gins in one bar including the entire range from the Isles of Scilly for visitors to explore.
There’s a bakery offering pasties straight from the oven – with a wide choice of pasties available, including a specially-developed Cornucopia steak pasty, a Mexican pasty made in tribute to Real del Monte, the location of the world’s first pasty museum and a sweet pasty. The local Made Marion brand of gluten-free pasties are also available from the bakery.
The Kernow Pizza Company tempts Cornucopia’s visitors with a selection of authentic Italian rustic pizzas, freshly prepared and hand-topped with local Cornish produce and stone-baked on site. With a menu of the classics, there’s also the chance to create your own and match it with a selection of sides, fresh salads and nachos.
For lovers of desserts, the family-run Tall Ships Creamery offers a mouth-watering selection of its own award-winning handmade ice creams and sorbets. These have famously included unique flavours such as ‘Aquatic Seaweed and Lemon’, ‘Bacon and Pancakes’ and ‘Sundried Tomato and Olive’ to name a few, along with all the ice cream favourites you’d expect and sweet treats such as handmade fudge. With options free from sugar, dairy and gluten, everyone can enjoy their fabulous creations.
Large gift shop & farm shop
There’s a large gift shop at Cornucopia along with a well-stocked farm shop that offers visitors an abundant assortment of Cornish produce, featuring items such as locally-grown teas, coffees, snacks, biscuits, local cheeses and mouth-watering sauces and condiments – all topped off with the best of the county’s wines, beers, ciders and spirits.
Trevor Broome, general manager of Cornucopia, commented: “As a county, we’ve got so much to be proud of with our food and drink producers – their influence can be felt far and wide and their award cabinets are bursting at the seams. Couple this with the historical and vibrant setting of Cornwall and we believe that it’s unmatched anywhere else in the UK.”
“We’re not a food hall, it’s totally immersive and encourages visitors to get involved, whether it’s taking part in the classes in the Make and Bake Kitchen, learning new recipes or how to match Cornish drinks with food with our resident experts.
“Cornucopia Live will also play host to an all-year-long, packed calendar of events and entertainment that will include live performances on our purpose-built stage. With a range of acts, we’ll offer music, comedy and specialist events. There will be a lot on offer.”
Located at the St Austell Bay Retail and Leisure Park, Cornucopia also incorporates a more traditional indoor market hall called Cornucopia Market Place. Open every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, it offers a long-established and much loved eclectic mix of goods from around fifty independent traders spread throughout the indoor space.
Trevor Broome added: “In addition to the market hall, we’ve also greatly expanded an existing family play attraction that we’ve renamed Cornucopia Family Adventure and this offers all-weather adventure play for people of all ages, so whether they want to eat, shop or play, there’s something for the whole family.
There is plenty of free, on-site parking outside the main entrance.
Food and Drink Visitor Centre – Seven days per week – 10am till 9pm
Cornucopia Market Hall – Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday – 9am till 5pm
Cornucopia Family Adventure – Seven days per week – 10am till 7pm