Cornwall

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Cornwall is the most southwesterly county in England, United Kingdom, on the peninsula that lies to the west of the River Tamar. The administrative centre and only city is Truro. Cornwall covers an area of 1,376 square miles (3,563 km²), including the Isles of Scilly, located 28 miles (45 km) offshore. Cornwall has a population of 513,528, with a relatively low population density of 373 people per square mile (144 /km²).

Cornwall is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its extensive and varied coastline and its mild climate. Also notable is Cornwall's stone age and industrial archaeology, especially its historic mining landscape, a world heritage site. Tourism therefore forms a significant part (24%) of the local economy; however, Cornwall is one of the poorest areas in the United Kingdom (62% of the UK average wage) with the lowest per capita contribution to the national economy.

Cornwall is the homeland of the Cornish people and is also considered one of the six "Celtic nations" by many residents and scholars. Some inhabitants question the present constitutional status of Cornwall and a self-government movement seeks greater autonomy for the county.

Cornwall has a rich and vibrant folk music tradition which has survived into the present. Cornwall is well-known for its unusual folk survivals such as Mummers Plays, the Furry Dance in Helston, and Obby Oss in Padstow.

As with other former mining districts of Britain, Male voice choirs and Brass Bands are still very popular in Cornwall.

Cornish players are regular participants in inter-Celtic festivals, and Cornwall itself has several lively inter-Celtic festivals such as Perranporth's Lowender Peran folk festival.

On a more modern note, contemporary musician Richard D. James (also known as Aphex Twin) grew up in Cornwall, as did Luke Vibert (of Wagon Christ and Plug fame) and Alex Parks winner of Fame Academy 2003. Roger Taylor, the drummer from the band Queen was also raised in the county, and currently lives not too far from Falmouth. The American Singer/Songwriter Tori Amos now resides predominantly in North Cornwall not far from Bude with her family.

Cornwall has a strong gastronomic heritage. Surrounded on three sides by the sea amid fertile fishing grounds, Cornwall naturally has fresh seafood readily available; Newlyn is the largest fishing port in the UK by value of fish landed. Television chef Rick Stein has long operated a fish restaurant in Padstow for this reason, and Jamie Oliver recently chose to open his second restaurant, Fifteen, in Watergate Bay near Newquay. Masterchef host and founder of Smiths of Smithfield, John Torode, in 2007 purchased Seiners in Perranporth. In St Ives Porthminster Cafe is a renowned beach restaurant as is The Boardroom at The Blue Bar in Porthtowan. One famous local fish dish is Stargazy pie, a fish-based pie in which the heads and tails of the fish stick through the pasty crust, as though "star-gazing". The pie is cooked as part of traditional celebrations for Tom Bawcock's Eve.

Cornwall is perhaps best known though for its pasties, a savoury dish made from pastry containing suet. Today's pasties usually contain a filling of beef steak, onion, potato and swede with salt and white pepper, but historically pasties had a variety of different fillings. For instance, the licky pasty contained mostly leeks, and the herb pasty contained watercress, parsley, and shallots. Pasties are often locally referred to as oggies. Historically, pasties were also often made with sweet fillings such as jam, apple and blackberry, plums or cherries. Recently the origin of the Cornish pasty has been challenged, with neighbouring county Devon claiming to have the oldest known recipe.

The wet climate and relatively poor soil of Cornwall make it unsuitable for growing many arable crops. However, it is ideal for growing the rich grass required for dairying, leading to the production of Cornwall's other famous export, clotted cream. This forms the basis for many local specialities including Cornish fudge and Cornish ice cream. Cornish clotted cream is protected under EU law and cannot be made anywhere else. Its principal manufacturer is Rodda's, based at Scorrier.

Local desserts include Saffron cake, Cornish heavy (hevva) cake, Cornish fairings biscuits, figgy 'obbin, and Whortleberry pie.

There are also many types of beers brewed in Cornwall – Sharp's Brewery and St Austell Brewery are the best-known – including stouts, ales and other beer types. There is some small scale production of wine, mead and cider.

Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/

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