Breakfast is a mixed bag (of museli, granola, porridge, whatever tickles your morning get-up). On the one hand, everything that is worst about the food industry is represented in saturated technicolour: cereal packets making incredible health claims, day-glo juice from concentrate, breakfast biscuits and bars that taste of pressed perfumed sawdust and I think ‘pouring yoghurt’ is still loitering somewhere in the cooler recesses of a supermarket near you. Please make it stop.
At the other end of the scale, everything that is best about our food is on the menu for the first meal of the day: a full English that keeps you going until early afternoon, a plump poached egg dripping hollandaise onto crispy strips of streaky bacon or freshly ground coffee washing down butter-laden pastries. Even the simplicity of homemade marmalade on cold sourdough with milky tea can be enough to bring on a breakfast smile for me.
For no good reason, the god of breakfast dictates that calories count for less in the morning. Whether it be the optimism of a new morning or an empty stomach, there is no better time to feel good about eating too much. That’s why ‘second breakfast’ works so well: a pastry chaser and flat white at 10 o’clock after a fry-up. Cereal is processed food for lightweights.
And there are few places better for second, even third breakfast that I would recommend than Courtyard Deli in Falmouth. Tucked away in exactly the place it says on the tin, next to the fabulous Beerwolf Books, it is a comparable ‘bookshop’ of food.
From 10 different Cornish cheeses (as well as sought-after continental varieties), to cured meats, Cornish strawberry vinegar, pomegranate molasses and tins of crème de marrons to white chocolate dipped figs, Willie’s Cacao, Henrietta Lovell’s Rare Tea Co., Cornish pilchards, mounds of pillowy meringues, cakes, pastries savoury and sweet (the shelves are bulging), it is not only a great breakfast (lunch and dinner) venue, but a quality foodie shopping destination of which there are few in Cornwall (I can also recommend Relish, Wadebridge). It quite clearly indulges Rae Pollard’s passion for European foods: notably from Italy, Spain, France and Greece.
On the menu for breakfast is: luxurious (and tempting) Breakfast Bubbles (Cava and Champagne); The English (fry-up with Cornish bacon and egg); Vegetarian (with grilled artichoke heart); Continental (croissant with gruyère, salami and a poached egg); Chorizo Parilla (giant butter beans and chorizo in a tomato sauce with a baked egg); Breakfast Sarnie and Toast with Trimmings.
Today’s menu for me was: croissant with Boddington’s strawberry jam and Trewithen butter with a hot chocolate to start followed by the Chorizo Parilla.
The croissant ticked all the boxes – crispy pastry, the jam was bulging with berries and I applied as much of the butter as possible to the already buttery croissant. The hot chocolate was bitter and sweet. Bliss.
The Parilla was a real kick start to the day: robust beans the size of a child’s thumb alongside chunks of fresh chorizo, tomato sauce and baked egg which was still soft in the centre. Presentation was in a small paella dish on a slate. Simple, unfussy and delicious; robust and tasty, especially as the mornings get colder.
I lost concentration only when someone came in to request a teacake who then left disappointed (near impossible considering the range of offerings) and two ladies who came in for custard tarts and lattes (definite second- breakfast-syndrome). I dithered over the tarts too but held back.
The menu is appealingly simple, smacks of quality sourcing and in-depth knowledge of the best of European in Cornwall. It works around tapas-style plates, charcuterie and cheeses (including the decadent Vacherin Mont d’or) as well as simple hot dishes such as roast chicken, spanakopita and quesadillas. You can get picnics and hampers at just 24 hours’ notice.
Courtyard Deli is open Mon – Sat from 8:30am – 17:30 and Sundays 10 – 16:00 and until 9:30pm for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.The Deli is hidden just off Market Street in Falmouth, down a lane opposite M&S at 2 Bells Court. For more info, tel 01326 319526, go to courtyarddeli.co.uk or follow @Courtyard_Deli on Twitter.