Porthleven Food Festival this year was an absolute blast!
I’d never been before but we had an amazing weekend in the sunshine, eating great food, drinking plenty and dancing to some funk, soul and disco classics at the Shipyard Sessions!
This was all kicked off with an amazing 6 course taster evening at Kota Kai, created by Chef Jude Kereama from Kota and in collaboration with Sharps Brewery – a main sponsor for the festival. I was super excited to receive the invite, as we had such an awesome time with the Sharps team at the Padstow Christmas Festival, learning loads about beer and even got me drinking and enjoying it all night!
The menu for the evening featured dishes from the Sharp’s Brewery Cookbook – ‘Just Add Beer’ – and each course was paired with a Sharp’s beer (+ was kicked off with a delicious beer cocktail made with The Hopster Gin – a collaboration with Sharp’s and Tarquins!), expertly chosen by beer sommelier and regular on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, Ed Hughes, who was also there to enjoy the meal with us.
We’d met Ed before at Padstow in the ‘Sharp’s Secret Bar’ (a pop-up beer experience that Sharps tours around the country), where we learned all about different beers and the art of pairing beer with food. Ed is a total powerhouse of beer knowledge, and came around several times throughout the meal to answer any questions we had, and generally chat to us about – yes, you guessed it – beer! Honestly I wish I knew as much and was as passionate about something as Ed is about his beer 😂
Our first dish on the menu was a Tempura Oyster with wasabi tartare, paired with a Camel Valley Pilsner. As I mentioned before at our Paul Ainsworth meal, I’m LOVING fried/battered oysters at the moment, and it’s getting me very excited for the Falmouth Oyster Festival later this year…
Next on the menu was Seared Scallops, with celeriac, apple and ginger – paired with the Offshore Pilsner. This was my favourite dish of the evening – I’m a big fan of scallops but these were cooked to perfection, and I could have eaten about 20 more (I’m glad I didn’t though, as we still had 4 courses to go!).
I should also say that when we had a beer paired with our food, we weren’t given a whole pint to neck down with our dishes! Beer tasting is a lot like wine tasting, where you have a small wine-glass -size amount to sip while you eat, which is far less overwhelming and a much better way to experience the way the beer works with the food.
Then came the Asparagus and Five Spice Duck Ham dish, served with ‘pineapple ketchup’ and paired with the Atlantic Pale Ale. Wow, this course was a serious explosion of flavours, with the five spice, pink peppercorns and the pineapple all creating a really interesting mix.
Next out came a dish of Hake, Mussels, Cockles and sea vegetables, paired with Doom Bar! Now, I’m not a big beer drinker at all, so the thought of a strong Amber Ale like this is usually quite daunting for me, but I have to say I really enjoyed it with this dish. Once you eat the seafood, it makes the beer much creamier and more delicate, and I think this may have been my favourite pairing.
Our last savoury course was Cornish Beef with Relish, paired with Wolf Rock IPA. The beef was beautifully tender and the olive relish gave it a fresh kick too. This was followed by the final dish of the evening; a ‘Beeramisu’ (with homage to Zack Hawke), paired with La Trappe Dubbel.
Once we’d finished eating, Chef Jude came out to thank us for coming and asked us how we enjoyed the meal. He seems like such a nice person and it was really nice to get to meet the man behind the fantastic food after an event like this!
As you can imagine, we rolled back to the car and slept very well that night – suitably stuffed! The next day (Saturday) we both headed back to Porthleven to sample food from the street stands and to sink a few drinks in the sunshine. The atmosphere at the festival was loads of fun, and we ended up dancing the night away too!
Have you ever been to Porthleven Food Festival?
* This was a gifted experience but all thoughts are my own.