Random things I learned in Cornwall

As is common when you travel, you encounter odd or unusual things. You meet different people, notice the differences of the place to where you come from, and pick up some interesting snippets of information. With that in mind, I’d thought I’d share 3 random facts I learnt on my week away. And by random, I really mean Random …

1. Why does everything in Cornwall begin with a T?

“By Tre Pol and Pen shall know all Cornishmen” – Survey of Cornwall, Richard Carew, 1602

Sophia and I noticed (because we were always getting them mixed up) that most places began with Tre: Treligga, Trelawny, Trethevy, Tregony, Trebetherick. We were always getting confused, never knowing which town we were in and which town we were meant to be in. So, after much complaining, we decided to look it up.

Many Cornish places and surnames begin with Tre, Pol and Pen. These derive from the Cornish language with Tre meaning homestead, Pol meaning pond, lake or well and Pen being a hill or headland.

Ah, well, that explains that then.

2. Wait … the French didn’t invent champagne? Why those cheeky … 

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Forget about Champagne from France, it’s Camel Valley from Cornwall that makes the original “champagne”.

Yes, I know, I know, it’s all about Champagne, the only place that actually makes proper champagne, and can therefore call their champagne ‘Champagne’, but it turns out those Champagne wine makers are just copycats!

While visiting Camel Valley, a local winery, we discovered that it was in fact the english who were the creators of sparkling wine, despite it being famously associated with France.

Sparkling wines were made in England as long ago as 1660. On 17 December 1662, Englishman Christopher Merret presented a paper to the Royal Society on how to ‘render wines sparkling’ more than 30 years before the French made their first sparkling Champagne!

In your face, France!

Camel Valley continues to make their sparkling wine using the traditional ‘Merret method’ of 1662. Purely for research purposes of course, Sophia and I nobly took it upon ourselves to sample a good cross section of Camel Valley wines in order to offer a proper critique of Merret’s sparkling method and we can safely say it makes really delicious wine!

3. Just how fresh are your “fresh” eggs?

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Spending the week living with local farmers, we ate lots of fresh produce, picking berries straight from the bush, buying freshly baked bread made from grains grown in the baker’s own fields, getting milk straight from the dairy farmer’s cow (the same cow who wandered into our garden and munched on our flower bed) and of course, fresh eggs taken straight from the chickens nest that morning and delivered to our front door.

These eggs were less than a day old but I was surprised to learn that the “fresh eggs” I was used to buying from the shops weren’t so fresh after all. Shop eggs are typically 7-10 days old when they arrive at the shop and 28 days old on their “best before” date.

So there you have it, my 3 random facts. Aren’t you glad I shared these? I mean, how could you have possibly gone on living without knowing these invaluable pieces of information!

Hey, you mock me now, but I bet these will be the winning answers to an all important pub trivia night someday in the future.

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