The raw revolution

The raw revolution

As the culinary world advances, back-to-basics cooking has become all the rage. You can walk into any decent restaurant or gastro pub and find the words ‘locally sourced’, ‘organic’, ‘wild’ and ‘sustainable’ all over the menu. Now, top chefs like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are bringing the word ‘raw’ to the table.

Self-professed meat-lover Fearnley-Whittingstall was by no means the first to experiment with raw food – anyone who has made a salad has – but an episode of his cookery show River Cottage certainly helped put the phenomenon on the radar. Raw food – unprocessed ingredients that have not been heated above 42?C – retain the vitamins and nutritional content that is sometimes lost through cooking, and can be key to maintaining a healthy weight and living longer.

Nowhere can this revolution be seen more than at a new food festival dedicated solely to the raw diet. Raw Fest, the first of its kind in the UK, launches in England’s gourmet capital, Cornwall, this month.

Over the weekend (31 Aug-3 Sept 2012), speakers including Eat Smart, Eat Raw author Kate Magic will offer advice on nutrition and the benefits of eating raw foods. That’s just for starters: through cooking demonstrations, chefs show how different preparations of raw vegetables affect taste. For example, grated courgette has an entirely different texture to thick chunks and thin slices.

Alongside stalls from local suppliers such as Cusgarne Organic Farm and health shop Archie Browns, there will be talks on the benefits of eating raw chocolate, foraging, super-foods, and how seeds, nuts, fruit and vegetables can help heal the body. In keeping with the healthy lifestyle, festival-goers can also try yoga and meditation.

Raw Fest runs 31 August-3 September 2012; Stithians Showground, Stithians, Truro, Cornwall. One-day tickets cost ?30; weekend tickets with camping cost ?100. To book visit

Those that aren’t quite ready to get entirely back to nature at the festival’s campsite can stay nearby at Little White Alice. The collection of self-catering cottages, named after trees, all have eco-credentials: waste is recycled and composted where possible, food from local producers is used, and guests are invited to offset carbon emissions by planting a tree.

Little White Alice, Carnmenellis, Cornwall (01209 861000; Cottages from ?302 per week.

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