The annual St Mawes Fish Festival took place this weekend and once again proved to be a huge success. On Saturday 11 September the annual free entry event, which is now in its fifth year, attracted hundreds of people, locals and visitors alike.
The first St Mawes Fish Festival took place in 2006. Planned and organised by the local fishermen, chefs, restaurants, the sailing club and with the support of the Pier and Harbour Company, the event has become a popular date in Cornwall's event calendar, and has grown year on year.
Rob Wing, The Cornish Fishmonger and owner of Wing of St Mawes, took on the role of compere for the event, keeping people up to date of all the events and activities taking place during the day.
Stalls showcased the very best in fresh, locally caught fish and seafood. The Quay was transformed into a bustling scene, filled with the sights and smells of delicious seafood being prepared, cooked, eaten and sold.
Throughout the day people were able to sample freshly prepared seafood from the live cookery demonstrations and watch expert fishmongers at work filleting a wide selection of locally caught fish.
The Head Chefs from two of St Mawes' best hotels joined the event. Paul Wadham from the Tresanton Hotel and Steve March from The Idle Rocks Hotel both cooked up a storm, preparing a number of distinctive fish dishes in the cookery demonstration area, which people were then able to sample. All the fish that was used in the demonstrations had been freshly landed and was available to buy at the Fish Festival.
Visitors to the Fish Festival were also treated to a demonstration by the Westcountry's only female Master Chef, Ann Long, who used to head up The Rising Sun in St Mawes.
Rob Wing hoped that the event would inspire people, as well as showcase the very best in Cornish fish, he said: "Every year this event gets bigger and better. I have been working in this industry for more than 25 years and have been a supporter of the St Mawes Fish Festival since its first year, back in 2006.
"It's wonderful that the event is growing in popularity and that so many people come along to meet the fishermen and the chefs and to pick up tips on the best way to prepare and cook their seafood".
"Getting hands on with food and understanding where our fish comes from is so important. I am also a firm believer that some of the most delicious fish is often not used because people are not so familiar with it. Events like theses mean people can try new things in a relaxed environment and not be afraid to experiment with their food."
Local fishermen were selling their fresh catch, from prawns, crab, lobster and river fal oysters, to mackerel, megrim sole, lemon sole plaice, hake, mackerel and sardines. The fishermen were also keen to impart their knowledge, answering questions about their fish, fishing methods, their boats and anything else people were inquisitive about. They also had a great selection of fish from the previous day's catch, including many varieties of fish that seldom make it to the supermarket shelves.
Many people were enticed into the heart of the Quay by the tempting smells from a 5ft wide pan of piping hot seafood paella, which was being prepared by retired hoteliers the Whittons Packed full of crevettes, mussels, prawns, squid, hake and sole, the paella proved to be a big hit.
The bustling atmosphere of the event was added to as the Sea Shanty Singers and the Roseland Celtic Pipe band provided entertainment. There were also things to see on the water as well as on land. In the afternoon the Falmouth working boats, which are used in the winter for Oyster harvesting, set out for the annual working boat race out of the harbour. More than twelve took part in the race and local boat Helen Mary sailed by Douglas Clode of St Mawes came home the winner.
All of the money raised during the St Mawes Fish Festival is donated to the RNLI and other local Charities.