I woke up this morning feeling more than a little sorry for myself. Normally I would have put this feeling down to some sort of tropical disease or deadly virus, but alas I believe it had more to do with the previous nights work summer party and the free bar.
So after spending the best part of the morning gingerly sipping orange lucozade (my own personal hangover elixir of life) and feeling delicate, watching Wimbledon whilst alternating between quietly groaning and weeping – I hopped on my skateboard and made the short journey to Penryn’s Earth and Water health food shop and deli to initiate phase two of my patented hangover cure – the world’s best ham, cheese and pickle sandwich.
Now Earth and Water is an interesting little place. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a hidden gem, situated as it is pretty much on the high street, so I guess the hidden element exists purely in the fact that it is located in Penryn – not traditionally a place associated with culinary delights. Not until recently.
When I moved to Penryn in 2005 it was a very different place. The last 6 years has certainly seen a general change for better – with a number of interesting independent bars, restaurants and shops opening (Miss Peapod’s, Number 20 and Earth and Water to name but a few) in a town that hardly had a great reputation as a place to live, never-mind a place to eat or go out.
Whether this injection of awesome has been facilitated by the ever growing student population and the extra spending power that they bring, the European Union’s efforts and funding to regenerate Penryn, the new class of gentrified Ryn’ner that have moved into the expensive new flats overlooking the quay or a combination of these factors is unclear – what is does mean though is that I have even less reason to leave.
Right – back to the sandwich. Earth and Water is half deli, half health food shop and half cafe (maths was never my strong point) and is situated in a beautiful building that has been used as a shop since the 19th century. It ticks all the trendy health food shop boxes – old delivery bike in the window, a battered leather sofa to relax on whilst you sip your latte and shelf upon shelf of organic mung beans and fair trade cornflakes to keep the Birkenstock brigade’s cupboards ethically stocked.
If Earth and Water were in Shoreditch or Covent garden then I am sure you would have to fight you way past scores of hip guys with ironic mustaches and shabby-chic young women to even get a sniff of a sandwich. Thankfully Earth and Water is in Penryn and the old man having his afternoon coffee did not delay my food even for a second.
For me the real reason for visiting Earth and Water has only ever been for sandwiches. I love a good sandwich. I would not a trust a person who doesn’t like them. I would not even speak to them – that is how fervent my love for the sandwich is. As with any food the quality of the ingredients used is imperative and in that department Earth and Water does not disappoint.
Although they have a board behind the counter with a small list of the sandwiches available – do not let that fool you. Ask nicely and they will make you up a sarnie with any combination of the delicious local ingredients that their chiller cabinet holds.
If you are after the perfect ham, cheese and pickle sandwich then may I suggest you go for:-
Cornish Yarg – Definitely my favourite cheese. Wrapped in nettles, smooth and creamy, Yarg has won multiple awards for its brilliance, including a world cheese award. Its good stuff.
Ham – I have completely forgotten where the ham is from, but you can be sure its local and by golly it is nice. Proper thick too.
Rocket – Not the ice lolly.
Onion Marmalade – Also made in Cornwall. Also I have forgotten where. Granted its not really pickle, but it is a much tastier alternative.
Baker Toms White Roll – Baker Tom, Falmouth’s premier artisan bread maker certainly knows his bread. The perfect ham, cheese and pickle sandwich needs the perfect bread and ladies and gentlemen – this is it, springy, vibrant bread freshly baked mere minutes from Penryn.
Cornish Orchard’s Elderflower Presse – To wash it all down with.
The nice young lady behind the counter rustled up my sandwich whilst I sat on the sofa and contemplated which of the many varieties of drinks I put away the night before was the main culprit for my headache. Still none the wiser I happily handed over a five pound note and a twenty pence piece (for that was the cost), thanked the creator of my delicious sandwich (for I am a gentlemen) and made the short walk to one of Penryn’s best benches (top three easily) to enjoy my food in front of a great view of the Penryn River and Penryn Bowls Club.
I already knew it would be. Before I even removed it from its brown paper bag home I knew it would be. Before I had even left home I knew it would be.
And it was. Easily the best ham, cheese and pickle sandwich ever.
So in summary. Get yourselves to Earth and Water (or Earth, Wind and Fire as I tend to call it) as soon as possible. They are nice people, sell nice things, make nice food and, well, its nice. Actually its better than nice. Its really nice.
Earth and Water – St Thomas Street Penryn Cornwall TR10 8JN